B.C. has had cell phones for 30 years. Here’s how we used to talk about them

WATCH: We’ve been through the brick and flip phones and now to today’s sleek smartphones. But as Linda Aylesworth tells us the mobile phones of the future will make today’s phones look positively “quaint.”

For 30 years we’ve had cell phones – and for 30 years the media has eagerly reported on technological innovations that now seem quaint.

“There’s no wire,” said Global News (then known as BCTV) reporter Joanna Wyatt in amazement. “It’s designed to be a truly mobile phone, designed to take with you anywhere you go. Just plop it in your purse, and take it shopping, or even to the beach.”

It was 30 years ago Global News began reporting on cell phones and the impact they would – or could – have on the lives of British Columbians. In 1985, the focus was on how the technology would actually work, as new system would allow for “an unlimited number of simultaneous calls.”

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In the story, we’re told that Vancouver was hoping to have enhanced cell phone service by March 1986, just in time for Expo.

WATCH: Our report on the new technology of cell phones. Aired on August 1, 1984.

By the early 90’s, cell phones had moved from a curiosity to something in widespread use. But many in Vancouver still hadn’t fully accepted them in restaurants.

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“I hate them!” said one lady in a story that aired in 1991. “You’re in there having a lovely lunch, and the guy beside you is tuning it, talking out.”

“You’re here to relax and digest your food, under pleasant conditions,” said another person, annoyed with a nearby person chatting on his phone during lunch.

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Some high-end establishments, including Bishop’s, went so far as to enact a no cell phone policy. But the early technology adopters we spoke to at the time said there was little that would convince them to get rid of their phones.

“I’d probably choose another place that I could. If it’s not important, I wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place,” said one.

WATCH: Our report on people being annoyed by the increasing use of cell phones. Aired on February 19, 1991.

By the 21st century, cell phones were fairly ubiquitous. Yet what they were ultimately to become was still described as a far-off, hypothetical wonder.

“They think this will be the future of wireless communications. A single device for phone calls, email and web browsing,” said our reporter, as our cameras showed someone surf an HTML version of the web.

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The story ends with a person sending an email to a cell phone, and the cell phone instantly getting it – truly a wonder or modern technology.

WATCH: Are all-in-one cell phones a possibility? Aired August 22, 2000.

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