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Xeni Jardin at 2:31 pm Tue, Mar 9, 2010
Image (large size): One of many vintage ads from old issues of Wired Magazine at wiredreread.com, a site created by Theis Søndergaard. This one for an AT&T "strap-on telephone" appeared in 1995. Be sure to use your fancy new 28.8 modem when you call up that website on the internet.
A 28.8 modem!
I gotta start saving cos this 300 Baud Acoustic coupler is damn slow now days.
That’s one well-manicured and buffed hand.
It’s J.P. Prewitt’s
Shoving a strap-on into your ear sounds painful.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who made that jump immediately… what an unfortunate phrase for use in an ad-campaign.
But… but… they already had cellphones back in 1995… The Motorola Star Tac (the first cellphone you could truly fit in a pocket) was released early in 1996. Telling the forward-thinking, early-adopter crowd that read Wired that wireless phones were “in the near future” is cluelesness on a scale I never encountered.
Thank God this never took off. A strap-on that also called the next day would have made all men redundant.
A link to a better scan of that was posted to Boing Boing in a comment a year or so ago… Here’s a repost, in case someone needs that image in poster-sized higher-quality:
I always wear my strap-on when I have a caller.
My phone also vibrates.
You couldn’t even use it to call the command center!
Dick Tracy had that in the 1940s! But seriously, that was when AT&T thought that they would be around forever. Little did they know that Nokia would eat their lunch.
Actually, we did invent a wrist phone back at AT&T Bell Labs a few years before this ad ran. But the art designers modified most of the prototypes underlying the ad campaign, sometimes dramatically. See http://www.genuineideas.com/HallofInventions/Wristphonestory/wristphonestory.htm
Unfortunately, about the same time AT&T exited the consumer products business. And then decided to spin off its wireless unit. So the future was farther away than first thought.