Just page me....
Do you remember pagers? If you were a professional in the early to mid 90s you would probably recall those ubiquitous black devices clipped on belts or bags which receive messages. These messages are phoned in through an operator which takes your message and sends it over the air. If you were lucky (or wealthy) enough to own a cellular phone at the time, in all likelihood a model using analogue technology, you probably just kept it powered off most of the time because of the limited battery life and you just used it to return calls when someone paged you.
I was puttering around my room (like I always do), looking for stuff to throw out, when I found a couple of my old pagers. They're still in pretty good condition, and they actually still work. That is, they would work if the service still existed. With the advent of SMS messaging via cellular phone, the technology has been rendered obsolete, forcing the companies which used to provide this service to close shop. In its heyday, there were actually of lot of companies competing in this business. There was EasyCall, Pocketbell, Beeper 150, and Infopage, among others. Now they all went the way of vinyl records, Betamax tapes, even Laserdiscs, swept away by the advancing tide of technology.
My old pagers.
My first pager, a 4-liner Motorola Advisor. The service provider is Beeper 150, which was owned by Piltel Corp. Beeper 150 shut down in 2002.
My second pager, a 2-liner Motorola Scriptor. This unit was provided by Infopage, owned by Infocom Communications Network Inc. It was still active until 1998, when I finally moved up to digital-based cellular phone with SMS capabilities. Like Beeper 150, Infopage seems to be out of business as well.
How long do you think it would take before our sophisticated cellular phones with their digital cameras and fancy color screens become obsolete? Well, if the trend continues, not long. More likely than not very soon. Just think of the gadgets our children would be using. :-)