Having Fun with Phones: Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane

We usually blog about business phone services, and the ways in which technology is constantly evolving and allowing us to deliver exciting new products and services. Over recent weeks, we’ve covered things like smart numbers, virtual receptionist services, advanced call routing, and the benefits that “the cloud” will bring to your business.

This week we’re going to do something a bit different.

Instead of looking at “virtual” telecommunications services, we’re going to have fun with phones. We’ll take a walk down memory lane and have a look at some of the interesting design ideas and great technological advances that have given us the phones we all know and love today.

Inspiration from Popular Culture

We can see the precursors for many of today’s mobile phones in comic books and children’s television shows.

Dick Tracy had his 2-way wrist watch that allowed him to communicate with his team. What started as a radio watch in the 40s was upgraded to incorporate a TV in the 1960s.

dick-tracy-watch watch-phone-round Smart Watch
From cartoon concept …
“Calling All Cars”
To reality* To multi-function
“smart” reality*

And then there was Maxwell Smart with his shoe phone. Here was a mobile phone that allowed him to call anyone from anywhere.

Get Smart Shoe Phone A Different Type of Shoe Phone! Brick mobile phone
From TV concept …
“Sorry About That Chief”
Some people went down
the “shoe phone” route
While most focussed on
the “mobile” route

All of which leads us to the mobile smartphones of today.

iPhone Flexible phone Transparent phone
Starting with “The Phone
that Changed Everything”
To today’s designs including flexible phones* And super-thin transparent phones*

Getting Creative with Design

Home phones seem to be where most designers have really let themselves go. Here are just a few of the more striking designs (both good and bad) that we’ve seen over the decades.

From humble beginings, to 60s chic, to the decade(s) that taste forgot, and on to some great designs of today.

Antique Phone Old (Reproduction) Phone Ericofon (Cobra Phone)
From classic old antiques To shiny reproduction antiques To the great design of the 1950s Ericofon
Princess Phone Trimphone Sculptra
The classic 1960s Princess Phone The very stylish 1960s Trimphone The 1970s Sculptra (or “Donut Phone”)
Push Button Phone Swatch Phone Neon Phone
Subtle 1980s push
button phone
The fun and colourful
1980s Swatch phone
And the quintessential
1980s Neon phone
Sagemcon Sixty Phone Eclipse Bang & Olufsen
To the modern Sagemcom Sixty Phone* Sebastien Sauvage’s Eclipse Phone* And the Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 2*

It’s amazing the advances we’ve seen in telephony over the recent years: not just in the phones themselves, but also in their capabilities and the services available today. Many “virtual” services are made possible only by recent advances in technology and cloud computing.

Taking us from this To this
Switchboard Operators Modern Day Switchboard

We hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane with us. And while nostalgia is nice, we expect that like us, you’re happy to be doing business in the 21st century!

Contact Alltel if you have any questions about how best to incorporate 21st century telephony into your business: 1300 ALLTEL (1300 255 835).