Back in the 1980s, Motorola® introduced the first cell phones to public. They were very large compared to most phones of today. Given the heavy weight of the early phones, which was about 2 pounds (0.91 kg), their considerable size, and rectangular aesthetics, they earned the amusing name “brick phone.”
It’s interesting to reflect on these early cell phones and their importance to people. It is the progenitor, of course, of all the sleek phones people can slip into pockets now and barely feel. Its importance in the 1980s was certainly evidenced by pricing, and when the first phones were released, they cost almost $4,000 US Dollars (USD).
The brick phone was a major status symbol corresponding to the tendency toward conspicuous consumption that marked the decade. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near as convenient as present cell phone models. For the money people paid, they got 30 minutes of talking time before recharging the phone was necessary, and hauling around a heavy phone that was 8 inches (20.32 cm) long and about 2 inches wide (5.08 cm) was no picnic for some early users.
While some view the old fashioned cell phone as a clunky nouveau riche and unfortunate parent of the modern and streamlined cell phone, others regard it with affection. A nice, big phone that is easy to find, unlike the very small modern cell that is often easy to lose, may be regarded as a useful alternative. This sentiment has led some companies to reinvent the brick phone.
For far less than the original price, those who want to indulge in '80s nostalgia, or who might like a larger phone in the home when they switch from land to cell lines, can now find copies of the brick phone for sale. These copies boast many of the modern developments that have been made in cell phone technology, but they may specifically lack some features. People may need to decide if nostalgia outweighs necessity.
One advantage with a modern brick cell is it may hold a much longer charge than the standard cell since it accommodates a larger and more powerful battery. As mentioned, some are particularly interested in this style because they want a good-sized home phone after they’ve abandoned a landline, which is becoming common practice. A longer charge might make a phone more attractive for home use.
The chances that brick phones will remain mostly a novelty purchase because most people prefer the convenience of much smaller phones are very high. Nevertheless, the sight of a brick in use today, even if a copy, is still likely to provoke comment or memories. Whether these memories are mostly fond or rather snide, it can certainly be said that this phone was an icon and part of the reason why so many people carry cell phones today.