AC readers recall their first cell phones

Can you believe what used to pass for a cell phone in the beginning? Or how much we used to spend just to make a phone call? And do you remember how excited we used to get over a carrier-provided app store on our phones, merely so that we could download color games?

Interestingly, roughly only 17 percent of you mentioned wielding a Nokia mobile device as your first. That's still a fair number, but it's far fewer than what we had initially imagined. In fact, about 25 percent of you actually started your mobile lives with a Motorola brick of sorts. (For those who are wondering, these numbers are based on a quick count of the comments at the original time of publishing, and some simple math.)


The Motorola DPC-550. (Via.)


Motorola Micro Tac Elite II analog with a whopping 10-speed dial memory and a lithium-ion slim line and regular size battery back when NiCad was the norm. The phone was touted as a business unit, and came with a dual slot desktop battery dock charger, too.


My first cell phone was a Motorola StarTAC on Verizon. That thing was awesome. Remember charging your phone every third day?


The first cell phone I used at work was a Motorola DynaTAC. Hard to be inconspicuous using one of those!

Quite a few of you had also started your mobile lives in a decidedly not-so-mobile manner. The Motorola Bag Phone was a thing in the early Nineties, and they were particularly popular with truckers, boaters, and people in rural areas. The actual Bag Phone handset wasn't as high-tech as some of the other cell phones offered at the time, but they were considered reliable out in the field.


I had a Motorola bag phone. Man, I never lost a call on that one even in the woods lol.


My first phone was a Motorola bag phone, too. It rode on the transmission hump of my truck. Man, it was huge.


My first one, at 17, was a BAG PHONE that had to be plugged into the cigarette lighter (that thing you kids plug your USB chargers into) to run, because it had no battery. No presets, no voicemail, etc. Just enough display digits for 1-555-555-5555, and they were green. You know — like original Game Boy screens.

The QCP 860. (Via.)

The QCP 860. (Via.)

There was also a surprising number of you who started out with a decidedly plain Qualcomm cell phone. Phones like the QCP 2700 still seem to be making the rounds on eBay, and some Amazon listings even list it as a co-production with Kyocera.


1999 Qualcomm QCP-2760 on Sprint. It was awesome! SMS was 10 cents per message. It replaced my Motorola Gold pager. So nice to be able to call on the go!


Qualcomm 860! Insanely thin at the time.

Some of you even took the opportunity reminisce about the pains of living life without cell phones back in the day, including lamenting about how frantic it felt to call into a radio station in hopes of winning concert tickets. Those were the days!


Remember how hard it was to dial the local radio station to try and win the contests for albums and concert tickets? I can still feel the pain on the side of my index finger from dragging the dial around to get set for the next number. That must be why the radio stations always had so many 7, 8, 9, and 0 digits in their call-in line. ;-)

It appears that while a majority of you are certainly enjoying the era of the smartphone we're living through right now, you're also definitely thankful for your humble beginnings. Thanks to everyone who took a second to reminisce with us about your first cell phone.

Florence Ion

Florence Ion was formerly an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.