Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making the Rounds At Work

Got this from a technician I work with.  Remember these? 
"New For 88", it proudly proclaims.  $1499 for the phone, apart from your service plan ("ESP Available").  Of course, a phone is pretty useless without a service provider. 

Today, buyers usually get the phone as part of a package plan, rather than buying it up front and going to find a service provider.  The MSRP cash price for an iPhone 6, for comparison to this phone, is around $650 for a middle version, a bit less than half the price of the $1499 brick phone.  A Samsung Galaxy S4 (a roughly equivalent Android phone) is roughly equivalent in price.  In terms of features, capability, size, convenience and so many other ways, the newer phones are light years ahead of the old one, thanks to the continuous improvements in digital electronics. 

I've seen articles like this regularly for years, saying it's actually cheaper to buy the phone and then get a plan. 
A case could be made that the major cell carriers have become modern versions of the flimflam man, using slick web interfaces and byzantine terms of service agreements in their quest to separate consumers from their cash. Point in case, the offer to "discount" the price of a new phone, in exchange for signing a two-year contract.
Details and actual price examples in that article

Something like this is just a "blast from the past" for folks who have been in the electronics business for years, continually fighting to make everything smaller, faster, better. 


  1. Cool.

    According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $1499 in 1988 would be $2974 today.

    That's a little more than either the Samsung Galaxy or the Apple iPhone.

  2. Heh. My phone, which only make phone calls, was $10, and $20 for 3 months of service. I've over 10 hours of time piled up.
    But, I'm an old, cheap, Yankee bahstid.

  3. In '89, I bought a used Nokia 900 handheld. Paid $300. New was $900. Turns out they had a flaw that caused it to lock up, which required a visit to the store to have them unlock it. Got the code needed on the second visit, IIRC.

    Came with a leather(?) case, which was just big enough to fit a Charter Arms 2" snubbie, with the grips cut just below the bottom of the frame base.

    When the surgical laser company reopened after the '89 earthquake, I told the front office that it would be available for use, if they lost the phones again. I think management was offended that a tech was better equipped than they were.

    The only cell phone I'd encountered prior to buying it was the one my dad had had installed in his Fiat Spyder Turbo. Big box in the trunk, head unit in the dash, microphone on the steering column, speaker hidden inside the headrest.

  4. I bought a brand new Android phone, 4 core chip, 1 gig memory, dual sim card, with gps and had a camera as good as my iPhone 5 that shoots full HD video for $70 brand new at a mall in Asia.

    My cell service runs me 10 bucks a month unlimited text in network and Internet is another 22 a month unlimited service.