recently it was the cell phone's 40th birthday, as featured on gizmodo. this made me wonder back to my very first cell phone. i was working at a rotisserie chicken fast food joint that may have been associated with a grey haired country singer.
it was my senior year of highschool and sprint pcs was just coming out with their sprint pcs pioneer plan. The plan was dead simple. Pay $199 for the phone up front. $0.35 per minute, and first incoming minute is free.
so if you use the phone 1 minute for the month, your bill is $0.35! it was that simple. the phone was slim with a big LCD screen and an earpiece that would slide up and down to answer and end calls. the phone even had a timer that would beep at the 0:50 second mark so i was aware that another $0.35 was about to be spent on whatever i was talking about. usually if i was talking to a regular caller they'd know the drill and they'd hang up and hit redial so that we'd be able to have a 10 minute conversation on the go, for free! of course this only worked when they were ringing me from a landline.
sure it may sound normal for you to hear about a high schooler with a cell phone, but this was 1997!
princess diana died, gas was $1.22/gal, mike tyson bit evander holyfield's ear off, and the titanic was in theaters. at this point i owned a pager for a few years and i obviously needed much more powerful communication methods for my hectic lifestyle.
fast forward through my cell phone life and you'll see i went on to own a few different sprint phones, then jumped to nextel for a bit, and then on to t-mobile where the sidekick color and sidekick ii kept me more than happy. in fact, i owned a good number of wired's list of the 12 most influential phones including a $699 first generation apple iphone bought the day after its release.
happy birthday to my electronic leash, which i now use for navigation and games more than calls or texts. sometimes i wish i had that little beep at 0:50 seconds of every minute, but not to save costs -to save me from long phone calls!