Motorola MicroTAC 9800X
The first phone that was not a brick
- Date launched: 1989
- Network: Various analogue
- Form: Flip phone
- Cost new: £1765
- Can you use it today: No
In 1989 mobile phone service providers were slashing the prices of handsets to attract new customers. Motorola set out to capture the top end of the market. The Motorola MicroTAC 9800X was the smallest and lightest handset on the market. Whilst other phones were bricks, the MciroTAC promised the shape of things to come.
In spite of a price tag of $3000, or £1765, the MicroTAC was well received. The MicroTAC set Motorola's strategy to produce attention seeking flagship phones that often succeeded to be the coolest mobiles on the planet.
The MicroTAC redefined the look of the mobile phone and introduced a new form, the 'Flip Phone'. The flip became the basic shape of Motorola's premium and mid range phones until the StarTAC came along in 1996.
Although, the 9800X was a breakthrough, it cemented Motorola's commitment to analogue phones, which in 1989, were still new. However, the future of mobile communications lay in GSM and Motorola was slower to adjust to the new game than some of its competitors, perhaps because of Motorola's roots in the USA where analogue looked like it would last.