The StarTAC 80 was introduced in 1997 and followed on from the success of the hugely popular analogue StarTAC introduced in the USA by Motorola in November 1996. The StarTAC GSM was a single band 900 MHz product although an 1800 MHz version was quickly introduced for DCS 1800 network operators such as Orange in the UK and E-Plus in Germany.
The StarTAC 80 incorporated a new user interface that was developed in response to the criticism that Motorola faced at the time of how difficult its phones were to use with all the new features such as SMS text messaging that had become available with the introduction of GSM digital networks. The previous generation of Motorola International products had been based largely on the user interface of Motorola’s analogue products. The new interface, which incorporated a “smart button” and an “OK” key, was well received by consumers and was introduced across the entire International product range including the 7500 MicroTAC and the International 8000 series
of MicroTAC products as well as the consumer focussed 6000 series.
The StarTAC 80 used a full-size 1FF SIM card in keeping with Motorola’s belief that the SIM card would be used for banking and retail transactions. The phone also incorporated an LCD dot matrix display allowing the use of graphics for the first time in Motorola’s GSM products.