MicroTAC 9800X

5 April 1989

270 grams


The 'MicroTAC Pocket Cellular Telephone' was released in 1989 and worked on the analogue ETACS network. It was a completely new design that was used for numerous Motorola mobile phones until 1998. At the time it was half the size of other mobile phones available for sale. It retailed for a whopping $2,995 (equivalent to $6,450 in 202) when it was first available in the US. At launch it was described by a Motorola executive as "a new category of cellular--the personal cellular" and the company viewed it "as the wave of the future". The microphone was housed in the end of the keyboard "flip" which meant the phone was ergonomically shaped around the face when in use. Calls could be answered and ended by opening and shutting the "flip". The MicroTAC had a eight-character red dot-matrix LED display (similar to an early calculator). It was branded on both the inside and outside of the flap that covered the keyboard. The outside of the flap ad a metal plate featuring the Motorola logo. It was notable for having a fake plastic pull-up antenna. Although unknown to many users, the phone had an internal antenna, but the company felt it was important to include a physical aerial after focus groups in the US indicated that users expected that any phone would have one included.