When people look back at the pre-smartphone era with their rose-tinted specs, Nokia tends to be the first name that jumps out at them.
We’ve already taken a look back at the Finnish mobile giant’s past accomplishments, but it’s not the only company that helped pave the way for the modern smartphones we’re all so addicted to today.
Motorola made more than its fair share of contributions to the mobile phone world, at times pioneering and innovating its way well ahead of the competition.
This is a tribute to those Moto phones of yesteryear that made waves for looking mental, pushing the boundaries or, in some cases, were just ahead of their time.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x (1984)
The DynaTAC - or as we like to call it, the Zack Morris phone - launched with a whopping US$4000 (S$5440) price tag, which is the equivalent of around US$9265 (S$12,600) today.
So why the expense? Well, it was essentially the world’s first truly portable mobile phone, having shed the weight of its bulky carphone ancestors.
Dubbed the brick phone, its antenna alone measured 20cm which, combined with its 8cm width and 784g weight, made pockets a definite no-go zone. Its 10 hour charge time and 30 minutes of talk time sound laughable today too, but there’s no questioning its role and importance in ushering the era of portable chatter boxes. A true tech icon in every sense of the word.
Motorola MicroTAC (1989)
The MicroTAC made headlines across the world when it landed five years after Moto’s original grey brick, mostly due to the fact that it was the smallest and lightest mobile phone in the world at that time.
The MicroTAC single-handedly inspired the later clamshell phone design, and could just about slip into regular pockets with relative ease. It also featured a red 8-character dot matrix display, along with a built-in phonebook. A veritable steal for US$2500 (S$3400).
Motorola StarTAC (1996)
This right here, is where Motorola really made its mark on the tech world.
At a ‘more affordable’ US$1000 (S$1360), the Star Trek communicator-like StarTAC was veritably microscopic compared to its predecessors, weighing just 88g, with an innovative clamshell design which inspired phone designs for years to come.
It even had the ability to vibrate, and later models could even send SMS messages. With 60 million StarTACs sold, it was the iPod of its generation.