Old Motorola Promo Clip Shows Off 1980s Cell Phone Technology

A few nights ago I caught a Season 5 episode of the original Law & Orderin which Det. Curtis received multiple calls on his flip phone. One hour earlier I'd watched a Season 2 episode in which Det. Logan received a call on his cellphone, which was one of those giant boxy blocks that look hilarious now when we see them in old TV shows and movies. In just three years, cell technology had advanced quite a bit, according to the Bayeux Tapestry of New York City known as Law & Order.

What did the future of cellphone technology look like from the perspective of the early 1980s? Below is an early 1980s promo spot by Motorola that heralds the coming "cellular revolution." "Industry watchers say there are only a few thousand cellular phones in use right now," the narrator informs. The clip points out that one of those big boxy cellphones weighs "only 30 ounces."

And, we are told, "eventually seeing someone use cellular phones may seem as commonplace as seeing someone checking time on an electronic watch, figuring on an electronic calculator, or programming on an electronic computer."