The Cell Phone Revolution of the early 2000s

What was your first cell phone?  Mine was a Kyocera that looked identical to the one pictured below.  For Cassandra, Kelly, Dawn, Leah, Sarah and April in Mr. Right is a Myth, it was the Nokia 3210.  Those of you born from the mid-1990s onward may find it difficult to image a world without mobile phones, but when they became commonplace at the turn of the century, it was life changing.  Let’s look at the cell phone revolution of the early 2000s.

Various cellular phones: NEC Cellstar 500 series, Nokia 2110 series (1994), Nokia 5120 (1998), Kyocera 2135 (2002), Audiovox CDM8300, Samsung SCH-A650 (2004).
NEC Cellstar 500 series, Nokia 2110 series (1994), Nokia 5120 (1998), Kyocera 2135 (2002), Audiovox CDM8300, Samsung SCH-A650 (2004). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Early Cell Phones

After we got back to Chambana, my friends and I bought mobile phones, Nokia 3210s.  Oh my God, they’re so cool.  They have an internal antenna, customizable ringtones, games, and you can send picture messages.  Anyway, we got the regional plan.  It’s more expensive than the local plan but no roaming charges.  – Mr. Right is a Myth, Chapter 24

Motorola invented the first cell phone in 1973.  It weighted 2.5 pounds, the battery life was 20 minutes and it cost $3,995. Motorola engineer Martin Cooper invited reporters to witness the first-ever wireless phone call from the streets of New York City to his rival at Bell Labs.

Motorola didn’t market its creation for 10 years.  The DynaTAC 8000X sold for $4,000 and was nicknamed the Brick because of its shape and size.  It worked on 1G and was capable of only making calls and storing contacts.

Nokia and Samsung released their first cell phones in 1987 and 1988.

Cell Phones in the 1990s, early 2000s

Cell phone Samsung SGH-X680.
Cell phone Samsung SGH-X680. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Poland license.

2G networks were born in 1991.  The networks allowed cellular users to have a conversation with the call being eavesdropped on, and for SIM cards to switched between carriers.

The Nokia 2010 in 1994 was the first model had texting capabilities.

The first phone where the top half folded down to protect the display and keypad, the Motorola StarTAC, debuted in 1996.  It only weighted 3 ounces.

The first phone with a built-in camera debuted in Japan in 2000 and the United States in 2002.

The early part of the decade also saw the first color displays and QWERTY keyboards.

Phone Features at the Turn of the Century

I yawn, waiting for my phone to boot up.  It connects to the network.  No voicemails or text messages from Corey, although I have texts from Kelly, Dawn and Leah asking me how things went.  I’ll answer in a bit.  Wish there was a way to copy messages or send a bulk response.  It’s going to take me 10 minutes to respond.  – Mr. Right is a Myth, Chapter 36

Early cell phones allowed users to talk and text, but not much else.  There was no way to text easily – you used the number pad to type out words – no ability to copy/paste, no way to fast forward through voicemails or block numbers.  But there was novelty.

“There were a lot of phone options to choose from (they all looked different!), phone cases and accessories to buy, and games of Snake to play,” Pop Sugar says about phones from the early 2000s.  “[Early phones] had a tiny screen, stayed almost fully charged for a whole week, and you needed two hands to hold as it was so heavy.”

First Smartphones

Mobile phone evolution, respectively, from left to right: Motorola 8900X-2, Nokia 2146 orange 5.1, Nokia 3210, Nokia 3510, Nokia 6210, Ericsson T39, HTC Typhoon.
Mobile phone evolution, respectively, from left to right: Motorola 8900X-2, Nokia 2146 orange 5.1, Nokia 3210, Nokia 3510, Nokia 6210, Ericsson T39, HTC Typhoon. Public domain.

IBM invented the first smartphone in 1992, a model they called the Simon Personal Communicator.  Commonly, it was called IBM Simon.  Like modern smartphones, it had a touchscreen, could send and receive emails, and had apps such as an address book, appointment scheduler, and calendar.

When it was released in 1994, IBM Simon sold more than 10,000 units.

The first commercial smartphone was the iPhone in 2007.

“Without a doubt the most revolutionary phone of the early 2000s, the Apple iPhone was unlike any of its predecessors,” Architectural Digest says.  “From a visual design perspective, it was a rectangular, minimalist gem, featuring a sleek metal-and-glass body, a singular button, and an extremely thin profile. From a technological design perspective, the touchscreen made waves.”

Although it wasn’t the first touchscreen phone, it was the first to not need a stylus.  It also allowed web browsing and featured third-party apps.


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Here’s the 4-1-1

Mr. Right is a Myth by Melina DrugaThis blog is a companion piece to The Rock Star’s Wife, a series about sex, family, and rock & roll.  The series has elements of chick lit, romance and erotica and is best compared to The Vagina Monologues for its frank talk of sex and its consequences.  The series follows Cassandra from her teenage years into her 40s as she navigates relationships (both romantic and platonic) — all with music playing a prominent roll.

Book two, Mr. Right is a Myth, debuts August 2023:  Co-ed Cassandra Economos has a plan.  Earn her degree then move into a Chicago penthouse.  If she can meet a guy who accepts her, high sex drive and all, that’s an added bonus.  But how many frogs must she kiss before she meets a prince?

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