Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cellulars in the eighties

They say that even with that huge battery pack, battery life was still short.

... If this was 1989 though, there must have been a quantum leap, because I bought my first cell phone in the early nineties, and it was only the size of the handset on these, just a bit thicker. (Being Europe, that was GSM of course, not sure if that matters.)

1 comment:

Alex said...

There were several technologies that improved. That phone you show there is one with the smaller battery pack.

I already shared some comments here ...

The handset was pretty empty, containing a keypad and display, a small circuit board and a the speaker and microphone. The car install and the hand held were pretty much the same radio and handset, but the hand held needed batteries. Since the battery pack was so big, why have a tiny handset?

Also the handset, being a standard size, would work with an audio coupler for modem, fax and TTY devices.

Over time the increase in cell site availablilty means you don't need as big an amp on the RF transmit. Switching the RF characteristics also meant less need for antenna size and amp power TX or RX.

Add on to that advances in DSP technology, so the signal to noise ratio you could accept became very different.

Add to that process advances in silicon design which permitted all those little 16 pin devices to collapse into one FBGA package. Heck, the whole through hole to surface mount advance kicked in. That mean board size reductions, even if you didn't change anything else the reduction in board space was a tremenous advantage to minturization.

It's been a fun ride just for the 20 years I've been in the industry.