I do have to kick myself at times. Sitting in this hospital, I’ve got a gloriously fast 5G connection on Vodafone and unlimited data to enjoy. The speeds massively outclass the WiFi in here and it’s all just so straightforward and worry-free.
Back in the late ’90s, phones looked very different. The internet, my friend, was just a dream.
WAP technology, remember that? I think we can all agree that it was royally terrible on so many levels. Imagine a stripped-down version of a website which has then been stripped down even more, perhaps to a page with 4 links on it, and you’re almost there. Dial-up for your mobile phone.
Honestly, don’t listen to people who talk about how much of a revelation it was, because the GPRS (anyone remember that) connection was hilariously slow and the overall experience was duller than you could possibly imagine.
This YouTube video gives a little taster of what 1999 was like if you used a monochrome WAP phone (around 20 seconds in)…
..and that guy was drunk when he filmed that. No way was he that happy clicking through 14 pages to get his cricket scores. No way.
Oh and if you’re really interested to find out more, this unbelievably dry YouTube demonstration will display the full horror.
Back then, these were the phones being offered, but already we were also starting to see lower-priced handsets getting more functionality. This Currys ad shows some of the non-contract phones of the time…
Look at that – you could talk to your phone and it would make the call for you. That, let me tell you, was a revelation in 1999!
Not that I remember any of this you understand…