ThoughtPiece: Evolution, Revolution, and the BlackBerry


Cellular Telephones. The next step in the mobile communications progression was the widespread adoption of cell phones. This explosion far eclipsed the scale of popularity of pagers. To give you an idea, by 1995 the number of cellular phones sold in the United States in 1995 was higher than the national birth rate for the same period! The new paradigm thus became mobile voice communication.

The introduction of the first Motorola MicroTAC “flip phone” design. Before this device, most phones were compared in size and weight to bricks; that’s not a good comparison. An interesting site called Retrobrick sums it up nicely: with this phone “so began the quest to be the smallest, lightest, most portable.” The new paradigm was that design and size mattered in mobile communications.

The introduction of the first Motorola StarTac phone. The StarTac rightfully can be considered an evolutionary culmination of the design trend that began with the first Motorola flip phone, but the miniaturization was such a quantum leap forward that I classify it as a more revolutionary development. In fact, the StarTac set design and size standards that still apply today. This phone still would not look out of place among today’s crop of handsets. With the StarTac, the new paradigm became extreme miniaturization.