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In 1994, I had my first cell phone (or mobile phone), a Motorola DynaTAC 8000M gray, thick and heavy. Six months later, I exchanged it for a black model « slim » (thin), one of the Ultra Classic Black model (it seems unusual in North America), corresponding to the model “8800X” Motorola with 2 lines alpha-numeric display, a revolution for the time! Sometimes I received calls on the bus taking me to my work and I appeared as an alien … Times have changed, habits and cell phones also and phone in the bus is not any more eccentric or unusual these days!
- Story of the first cellular phone (in the world)
- Motorola DynaTAC 8000 series
- « Pulsar » series
- Some tricks for recognizing a model
- Motorola’s « DynaTAC » serial numbers
- Rated prices for collectors
- One of the first pub for Centel (1989)
- My collection
- Where to find …
- <#12″>And for the nostalgics
- (1870) Telephone: Alexander Melville Bell invented the telephone, however, the patent is listed the Italian-American Antonio Meucci as the latter would not have had the means to pay $ 10 ($ 184 * in today’s dollars of 2010) for its promise to patent after 1874.
- (1910) Marty: Marty’s 1910 models are the first models to emerge, responding to precise specifications and commissioned by the French government. This will also be the first models to handle mass produced.
- (1924) Commissioning of the first phone model of democracy “PTT24” in France: In 1922, the French government launched a competition to create a single model on its network. The PTT24 is then chosen in 1924. It is a device intended from the start to be used with automatically switched networks (not via an operator). This model will use to dial numbers from a keyboard encoder. But there is a standalone version, with a battery for private networks (it does not then the word official “Gov. Property”).
- (1956) Radio-telephone: Do not confuse the cell phone with the radio-telephone (or radiophones). The first network radiophone emerges in France in 1956. He had to go through an operator to make a call and this service was operating in the 150MHz band. He was stopped in 1973 and at that time had 500 subscribers.
- (1963) the “S63”: The S63 model indicates a rupture with earlier electromagnetic (crank). This is a post-modern manufacturing, plastic injection and receiving a printed circuit electronic components. It will really be marketed from 1975 and in 1981 an electronic keyboard (DTMF) will be replaced the rotary dialing. It will then be used on early electronic exchanges. It has technical innovations over its predecessors with automatic regulation of line current, a surge protection module for the listener and the ability to connect multiple stations in parallel.
- (1973) Cell Phone or mobile: Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola invented the cell phone. The phone will be on the market in 1983 but the project begun 10 years earlier … This page tells the story of what is most like our cell phones today, is a device that HOLDS conveniently in a pocket or in hand (not in a suitcase or briefcase).
- (1986) Mobile phone: In the 80s, the first phone networks Radiocom 2000 in France would allow phone use in cars. This network operated in the 400MHz band, with digital controls for instructions and voice transmission in analog mode. This first network was operating a bit like our cell phones today. With its official launch in 1986, transportable appliances (small bags) have emerged. Used initially by the french government, this service quickly became popular thanks to its technology “hand over” that offered a seamless communication from one cell to another and covered all the territory. This service had 60.000 subscribers as of 1988. It was abandoned on July 28, 2000 in favor of GSM.
- (1991) GSM: This method of transmitting digital and fully used with mobile phones, was invented by Motorola. This way of communicating is much safer because the transmissions can be received or sent until encoders/decoders and can not be intercepted with a simple radio receiver. Furthermore, identification of phones with a removable smart card greatly simplifies the programming thereof. This protocol is still used today around the world. The first mobile digital mobile (GSM) appears to have been available in France since 1992 and the International Series of Motorola in 1994 with the first model in 3200.
(*) Relative value of money or ‘GPD’ in the USA: http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/
Dr. Martin Cooper (pictured above), a former engineer at Motorola, is considered the first inventor and father of the cellphone.
The precursor of future models first DynaTAC 8000 series from Motorola, the first portable telephone apparatus resembled large bricks. They are naturally nicknamed the Motorola’s brick, because of their shape but also their strength. The first commercial mobile phone model available to the public in 1984, was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. It weighed just under a kilo (794 grams) and had an endurance of 10 hours in standby mode for 30 minutes of conversation!
- Dr. Martin Cooper made the first private call on April 3, 1973 with a compact prototype (beige model shown in photo). Mr. Cooper also made some calls to New York including one to a reporter while he was crossing the street … “The most dangerous thing I’ve ever done in my life that day!” he recalls. But the first “call” (even if it was finally realized “wireless”) was made to his rival Joel Angel, head of research department at AT & T…
- The first commercial cell phone call in the U.S. was made on Oct. 13, 1983, that Bob Barnett, then president of Ameritech Mobile Communications, placed the first commercial wireless call from inside a Chrysler convertible at Soldier Field in Chicago, to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, who was in Berlin, Germany. Oddly, none of the journals reporting on the event at the time named Mr. Bell’s grandson.
- In England (UK), it is Ernie Wise who made the first call on January 1st , 1985 on the system operated by Racal Vodafone …
From late 1983, the first models were proposed and were selling US$ 3,995.00 (equivalent to 8,750.00 U.S. dollars discounted to 2010 dollars). Prices gradually dropped to below the threshold of $ 1,000 in the early 90 …
After 10 years of researches and over 100 million dollars of investment from Motorola, the first commercial cellular phone model in the world, the DynaTAC 8000X was available in the United States from October 1983 (but in early 1984 for the general public by Motorola), then in England from 1985. The rest of Europe had to wait a bit longer (to 1993) because it adopted a more advanced protocol: The “GSM” (Using the micro-SIM cards), while in the United States were used instead the AMPS or Advanced Mobile Phone System (later to become the TDMA and CDMA, digital networks that will replace existing analog networks). The AMPS was obsolete after 2008. Until 1983, the very first network protocol used, however, UMPS Bell Labs. A tens of relay towers were installed in the Chicago area (the U.S.) for the first real test of Motorola.
The model of Motorola DynaTAC was approved in the United States September 21, 1983 by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The phone weighed 794 grams (28 ounces) and was officially available to consumers in 1984. (Source Motorola).
- End of 1983/1984 – DynaTAC 8000x (Officially in 1984 from Motorola sources – USA-Canada)
- 1985 – Marketing of the DynaTAC 8000x in England – UK
- 1985 – DynaTAC 8000s and Pulsar series
- 1987 – DynaTAC 8000m, 8500x, 8800x
- 1987 – DynaTAC 6000XL (cars model)
- 1989 – DynaTAC 8900x
- 1989 – First appearance of the series MicroTAC to replace the famous « Brick »
- 1990 – DynaTAC LTII
- 1991 – First world premiere: Demonstration by Motorola of the first GSM prototype at Hannover, in Germany
- 1992 – American models
- 1994 – International models 3200 and 3300 (GSM)
- 1994 – Models: Classic / Classic II / Ultra Classic / Ultra Classic II / Ultra-Sleek
- 1996 – StarTAC phones…
Dyna (for dynamic) is also derived from Greek and means power. TAC stands for Total Area Coverage.
The DynaTAC 8000X of Motorola was one of the first model “popular” and the first commercial model in the world! It comes with a standard keyboard of 12 keys in addition to 9 other buttons assigned to special functions. Its battery is replaceable. The display consists of a small display of red numbers. It had an endurance of 30 minutes of talk time and 10 hours standby, then it should be fully recharged for 10 hours.
The Model 8000S is a cheaper version of the 8000X and has 8 buttons below the keyboard instead of 9. The key ‘fcn’ does not exist and the button ‘Lock replaces. The next model, the 8000M is very similar, with no significant difference in its performance and use. The figures for these displays are also a bit bigger than 8000X/8000S. These models were also much more popular and therefore more répendus and still easy to find for collectors. Next models are the 8500X, 8800x, 8900-x2, 888, etc.
By 1987, the “marketing” effect offer the 8000 series in several versions to suit different markets around the world, with names sometimes different. The series 8010, 8500, 8800, 8900, Classic, Ultra Classic, Ultra Classic II, Ultra Sleek, etc.. devices are usually a little thinner but also more popular.
Michael Douglas in the film « Wall-Street » (1987)
Curiously, after the launch of the series DynaTAC Motorola has introduced the Pulsar, so that had the same size as the DynaTAC and sometimes even deeper. They do not vendèrent well, and therefore few have survived. With the arrival of the slimmer models, they were completely outdated and forgotten.
- 8000X models and first-generation 8000S have small red LED while next models have larger numbers;
- The buttons on models 8000X and 8000S, only non-US, has only numbers on the keypad;
- The 8000S and 8000M had a button under below the keypad, 8 instead of 9. The key ‘fcn‘ does not exist;
- On the 8000X and 8000S, the function keys are written with capitalized the first letter and lowercase for the 2 others, while on the following models, the characters are in capital letters only. And ‘Lock‘appears on the 8000X and 8000S and ‘LOCK‘ on the 8000M or 8500X;
- The button ‘Snd‘ is red-orange on the 8000X and 8000S models, while the following models (8000M, 8500X, etc..) is red-pink;
- The model DynaTAC LTII (1990) or 8000M (1991-92) has 8 function keys and the letters on the numeric key. The function keys are also starting with an uppercase letter and lowercase. These models are somewhat rare;
- UK: Models 8800x, 8900x et 888 has been built between 1990 and 1994. The 888 was the last model of brick in UK;
- USA/Canada: The equivalent model for the 8800x et 8900x series will be the « Classic » and « Ultra-Classic ». Then « Classic II », « Ultra-Classic II », etc. will come;
- Australia: « Ultra-Sleek » series;
- The first English model (UK) do not have letters on the numerical keypad, in América (and Canada), yes;
- English models (UK) and Europeans have icons instead of the keys « SND » and « END ».
Of course, these ‘tricks’ are not checked but work on most models I had. To be continued …
The 8000X uses the letters in general DTD in its serial number, example: F09DTDXXXXXX
The serial numbers are of the type or 123ABC4567 1234ABC456 or the last 2 letters indicate the month and year of manufacture:
So he had to spend more than US$ 4000.00 in 1983 (or $ 8.750 updated to 2010 dollars), models are collections could not be more affordable but are rapidly increased in value since the last 3 years (2009 to 2011). Starting at $ 1,000 for models English (UK) released in 1985 to over $ 4000 for about the first U.S. models 8000X (end 83) according to the state and they are functional or not. There are also very easily models 50 to $ 250 for the most popular products. The price varies depending on the conservation of the device, if it works or not, if it is a newer model or not, etc.. It should be noted that between 2010 and 2011, prices have increased dramatically! Would it be a nostalgic return to the past?
DynaTAC 8000X/8000S this recently sold for:
- October 21, 2009: £ 1,358.00 – DynaTAC Prototype IV
- May 21, 2011: Pre-production models dated from 1/15 oct. 1981 (Source: Lehigh acres, FL, United States) (For pictures: click HERE.) :
- September 06, 2009: £ 460.00 – BT Logo
- September 17, 2009: £ 605.00 – Motorola logo black/tan
- October 11, 2009: £ 1,036.00 – Sale not completed/Item relisted
- October 21, 2009: £ 1,054.00 – Located in Austria
- December 2010: £ 999.00 (environ US$ 1,500.00) (Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – model UK)
- March 01, 2011: US$ 3,400.00 (eBay (1 bid) – Source: San Diego, CA, US … in fact the one bought at Vintage Mobile Phones – Model (UK): F09DTD8924AN)
- March 06, 2011: £ 2,520.00 (US$ 4,100.00) (eBay (16 bids) – Source: Czech Republic, unreliable source and camera not working …)
- March 21, 2011: US$ 4,050.00 (eBay (27 bids) – Source: Wheaton, Illinois, US. model with letters on the keypad and original manual – model (US): F09DTD8826AN / NS #472CKQ468)
- March 23, 2011: Withdrawn from the sale (eBay – Source: The Czech Republic, one photo!)
- April 09, 2011: £ 236.99 (US$388.28) (eBay (18 bids) – Source: Czech Republic)
Note: April 19, 2011 (Relisted Item): £ 510.00 (US$826.15) (eBay (20 bids)). The keyboard is not the one of an 8000X, no serial number (!), sticker on the phone instead of printed like the original ones. Unreliable source.
- May 09, 2011: £ 620.00 (US$1,018.23) (eBay (41 bids) – Source: Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom – Phone without identification – model (UK): F09DTD8924AN / NS #645CMC0517/16226)
- May 2011: £ 899.00 (US$ 1,435.00) (Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – model UK – 1985 – model #F09DTD8926AN / SN #645CKJ0332)
- May 30, 2011: US$ 2,499.00 (eBay (0 bid) – Source: Ballinskelligs, Kerry, Ireland – Phone without identification – model (UK) 1987: F09DTD8924AN / NS #645CMC0517) (The one bought on May 9th @ £ 620.00 / US$ 1,000.00)
Note: Relisted Item US 1,999.00 (eBay (0 bid) – End July 18, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US 2,499.00 (eBay (0 bid) – End August 22, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US 2,499.00 (eBay – End September 21, 2011)
- July 10, 2011 : £? (eBay – Source : Kutna Hora, Czech Republic – Model (UK) – No serial number (?) (Item cancelled)
- June 2011 : £ 1099.00 (US$ 1,755.00) (Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – Model UK – 1987 – Model #F09DTD8924AN / SN #645CMC0517)
- July 2011 : £ 1399.00 (US$ 2,280.00) (Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – Modèle UK – 1987 – Model #F09DTD8924AN / SN #645CME0400)
- August 04, 2011 : US$ 1,525.00 (eBay (24 bids) – US model : SN #472CJN1545 – Source : Park Ridge, New Jersey, United States)
Note: Relisted Item (?) US 1,186.00 (eBay (20 bids) – End August 22, 2011)
- End August 11, 2011 : £931 (US$ 1,519.18) (eBay (17 bids) – UK Model – Source : Bílá, Moravskoslezký kraj, Czech Republic – No serial number
- End August 21, 2011 : £731.03 (US$ 1,201.89) (eBay (14 bids) – Source : Bílá, Moravskoslezký kraj, Czech Republic – Modèle (US) – No serial number
- End Septembre 06, 2011: US$1,598.00 (eBay (0 bid)- Source : US – Model #F09DTD8824AK (US) / NS #472CJL2063)
Note: Relisted item US$1,495.00 (eBay – End 2011, September 20)
Note : Relisted item US$1,497.50 (eBay – End 2011, October 25)
- End September 11, 2011: £908.00 (US$ 1,420.29) (eBay (36 bids) – Source : Schlisersee, Allemagne – Model US – No serial number)
- End September 11, 2011: £899.00 (US$ 1,406.22) (eBay (no bid) – Source : Bílá, Moravskoslezký kraj, Czech Republic – Modèle US – No serial number. Same pictures than the on sold on August 21, 2011 for £731.03)
Note: Relisted item (?)
- End September 29, 2011: £4000.00 (US$ 6,510.40) (eBay – Source : Bath, United Kingdom – Model #F09DTD8924AN (UK) / SN #645CKU0219)
Note: Relisted item £4000.00 (eBay – End 2011, October 28)
- End September 30, 2011: US$ 1,314.00 (eBay – (13 bids) Source : Park Ridge, New Jersey, United States – SN #472CJN1545)
- October 2011 : £? (eBay – Source : Isle of Wight, United Kingdom – Model #F09DTD8924AN / SN #645CKS0861)
DynaTAC 8000S :
- March 26, 2011: £ 169.00 (model (1988) #F09DSD8924BN / NS 645CNU2417 – Vendeur: Vintage Mobile Phones – UK)
- March 27, 2011: US$ 1,000.00 (eBay (18 bids) – Source: Albuquerque, New Mexico, US)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 151.00 (eBay (2 bids) – End: April 24, 2011)
- April 03, 2011: US$ 900.00 (eBay (1 bid) – Source: Grapevine, Texas, US. model with battery double size. Model DynaTAC 8100L (?))
- April 10, 2011: US$ 750.00 (eBay (0 bid) – Source: Grapevine, Texas, US)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 650.00 (eBay (0 bid) – End April 17, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 499.99 (eBay (0 bid) – End April 24, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 499.99 (eBay (0 bid) – End May 01, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 499.99 (eBay (0 bid) – End May 08, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 499.99 (eBay (0 bid) – End May 15, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 449.99 (eBay (0 bid) – End May 22, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 449.99 (eBay (0 bid) – End May 29, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 400.00 (eBay (0 bid) – “Best offer” Added – End June 29, 2011)
Note: Relisted Item US$ 485.00 (eBay – “Best offer” – Sold)
- April 19, 2011: US$ 71.00 (eBay (5 bids) – Source: Santa Clarita, CA, US)
- May 18, 2011: US 93.67 (eBay (5 bids) – Source: Lake Worth, US)
- May 2011: £ 249.00 (model (1989) #F09DSD8924BN / SN 645CPE0031 – Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – UK)
- May 2011: £ 179.00 (model (1986) #F09DSD8924BN / SN 645CLJ0027 – Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – UK)
- June 2011 : £ 149.00 (model (1988) #F09DSD8924BN / SN 645CNU1301 – Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – UK)
- End July 06, 2011 : US 499.95 (eBay – Model # F09FSD8826AN / SN 472CNC4046 – Source : Mount Airy, Maryland, US)
Note: Relisted item US$ 499.95 (eBay) (0 bid) – End May29, 2011)
Note: Relisted item US$ 499.95 (eBay) (0 bid) – “Best offer” Added – End August 06, 2011)
Note: Relisted item US$ 159.95 (eBay) – “Best offer” Added – Sold September 05, 2011)
- End July 03, 2011 : US 83.11 (eBay (13 bids) – Model #F09LFD8458DG / SN 472GSAM044 – Source : Henderson, NV, US)
- End July 10, 2011 : US 342.00 (eBay (33 bids) – Model #F09GTD8458CG / SN 472CPC8422 – Source : New Orleans, LA, US)
- September 2011 : £ 229.00 (model (1988) #F09DSD8924BN / NS 645CNE1833 – Source: Vintage Mobile Phones – UK) with battery double size.
Note: Beware of excessive speculation on eBay …
- 2011, January 25: Bought on eBay (Country: Czech Republic): Motorola Pulsar (1985) (E. Eur.) (Even the display 8000X) – Supposed sent 2 times (!), the phone never arrived. The seller has refused to give me proof of anything. Please note that this seller changes its name regularly.
To help collectors to prevent fraud, send me your experiences, with your permission, I might add here.
- Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1984) (US) (Very first commercial worldwide model. Including original manual and technical schemes (rare))
- Motorola DynaTAC 8000S (1988) (UK) (Like the 8000X, entry level model with same display.)
- Motorola DynaTAC 8000M (1991)(US)
- Motorola Ultra-Classic (1991) (US)
- Motorola 8800X (1992) (UK) (First red alpha-numeric display on 2 lines !)
- Motorola Ultra Sleek 9760 (1993) (Australia) (Red alpha-numeric display)
- Motorola 3200 (1993) (Int.) (International model, GSM (900 MHz) and supporting SMS reception !)
- Motorola 8900X-2 (1994) (UK)
- Motorola Ultra-Classic (1994) (US) (Model with green alpha-numeric display)
- Motorola Ultra-Classic II (1994) (US) (Model with green alpha-numeric display)
- Motorola 3300 (1995) (Int.) (Top model GSM (900MHz), with full SMS, but also cleaner and thinner than the 3200)
- Motorola 888 (1995) (UK) Model #F09ZJD8924AA / Serial #645GVJ0658. One of the very latest models of Motorola’s brick (new).
- Motorola MicroTAC 650e (1995) (US)
- Motorola MicroTAC Dynasty (?) (US)
- Motorola MicroTAC (?) (US)
- Motorola StarTAC 3000 (1996) (US)
- Motorola StarTAC 6000e (?) (US)
- Motorola StarTAC (?) (US)
- Motorola StarTAC 7797 (?) (US)
- Portable Wavetek CAT-600 – Cellular Activation Tester
This device works like a mini relay AMPS, used to place calls with phones, test tones, transmitted and received audio levels, the various displays and indicators, power levels, and a series of quality tests.
Note: All the phone are fully functional.
- eBay (THE reference of course, but also to have an idea of the real price …)
- www.vintagemobilephones.com (Highly Recommended, service A1)
- www.oaktreeent.com/Telephones.htm (Info only, all seems sold!)
- www.retrowow.co.uk/retro_collectibles/80s/mobile_phone.html (History here!)
- www.mobilophiles.com (Le blog Mobilophiles collectionneurs de téléphones portables Vintages – French)
- www.l2l1.com/histp1.htm (Histoire du téléphone portable – French)
- http://collection.telephones.pagesperso-orange.fr/HISTOIRE/histoire.htm (Histoire des téléphones en France – French)
For a hundred dollars, a Chinese company has decided to make a copy or replica of the famous Motorola brick (GSM compatible) for half the weight but with a unique user autonomy. This model works perfectly on our existing networks (North American, Europe and Australia), 1 .5 -inch screen is in color and the usual gadgets have been added (calendar, directory of 200 names, games, clock, etc.)..
- GSM 900/1800/1900,
- Unlocked for GSM Networks in U.S., Canada , Europe , Australia
- 1.5″ LCD Color Display Screen
- SMS,MMS,mp3/mp4 just like modern phones
- English interface and operating system,
- Support java,Calculator, Datebook, Alarm Clock, Chat, Voice Dial, games, Web Access
- Keypad with background blue LED
- 4800 mAH Li-Ion battery
- Speaker Phone / Handsfree Mode
- User selectable Ringing Tones
- Playback of downloaded video/audio MP3/MP4 files
- Dimensions: H 27.5cm x W 4.7cm x D 6cm.
- Weight of Phone: 480g with battery
- The phone book can store 200 contacts. Only half the weight of 1980’s Motorola 8500x 40 Different assignable polyphonic ringtones – jazzy version of happy birthday anyone? – they also can sound just like the original 80’s phone. Large capacity Li-Ion battery can last for days and days.
Where to buy?
Any question? Contact me…