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What 'mobile' used to mean

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BradM

Staff member
Admin
#2
Man, what a catch!!

You know, the other day I watched one of the first/ second seasons of Perry Mason (late 1950's). Paul Drake (his detective) had a phone device in his car. It had a telephone handset.

Yes, I realize it's TV :). But, I wonder if it was supposed to be a real phone, or some type of two-way receiver set up.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#3
The Osborne 1 is generally considered to be the first truly portable (it had an optional battery pack) computer. A guy I worked for in the early eighties had an accountant who used to lug one around. It was very impressive and high-techy at the time. Note the processor speed (4 MHz), weight (nearly 25 pounds, without battery) and screen resolution (53x24, text only--no graphics capability) and of course, no hard drive. Effectively there was only 91K of storage capacity, because one of the 5.25" drives had to be used to hold the operating system.


[SIZE=+1]Osborne 1[/SIZE] Introduced:April 1981
Price:US $1,795
Weight:
24.5 pounds
CPU:
Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
RAM:64K RAM Display:built-in 5" monitor 53 X 24 text
Ports:parallel / IEEE-488 modem / serial port
Storage:dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives OS:CP/M
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration with a Mask on...
Staff member
Admin
#4
You know, the other day I watched one of the first/ second seasons of Perry Mason (late 1950's). Paul Drake (his detective) had a phone device in his car. It had a telephone handset.

Yes, I realize it's TV :). But, I wonder if it was supposed to be a real phone, or some type of two-way receiver set up.
Back then they were called Car Phones.

From about 1970 through 1973 I had a 'mobile phone' in my van. The father of a girl I knew was a big-wig at Cincinnati Bell at the time so when I got it I avoided an 8 month waiting list. It cost about US$50 a month as I remember. It had a standard handset with a big transceiver mounted behind the driver's seat. It's range was about 50 to 75 miles, but some places, like out in Denver, Colorado up by the Red Rock stadium, it would do 75 to 100 miles or more and you'd get multiple cities (and the more cities, the more channels). Almost all major cities had one or more towers and, except for relatively desolate spots (especially out west), you could usually find at least 1 'channel'. The handset sat in a cradle with 11 buttons (there were 11 channels). Usually a city would have 3 or 4 'channels', but a lot of the time you could pick up a couple cities and you'd get 4 to 8 channels. I can't remember my number back then but I do remember channels were labeled with YL, YR, etc.

It was kinda neat. You'd pick up the handset, punch in a channel and if you got a tone you could 'flash' for an operator. Operators placed all calls. There was no dial. If someone was using the channel, you could listen to their conversation (a channel had to be free for you to call anyone or to receive a call). If the phone rang and I wasn't in the van the horn would blow twice every 15 seconds for about 2 minutes. If I didn't answer, the operator would take a message and continue to try to call me about every hour for about 24 hours just like a call service.

BTW - Once you got an operator, unlike today there was no 'hand off'. That is, you connected with a tower and could communicate as long as you were within distance of that tower.
 
Last edited:

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#5
Man, what a catch!!

You know, the other day I watched one of the first/ second seasons of Perry Mason (late 1950's). Paul Drake (his detective) had a phone device in his car. It had a telephone handset.

Yes, I realize it's TV :). But, I wonder if it was supposed to be a real phone, or some type of two-way receiver set up.
You can read about mobile radio telephones: Wikipedia reference-link0G. My father was a radio news guy in the 1960's in Chicago, and had one of these in the car. There was a big "head unit" mounted in the trunk. It essentially communicated with the landline phone system by radio
 
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