Motorola StarTAC

The Motorola StarTAC, first released on 3 January 1996, is often assumed to be the first ever clamshell (flip) mobile phone. Technically, however, NEC had been releasing flip phones on NTT Docomo's PDC Mova network long before 1996, namely the TZ-804 and TZ-1501, both respectively launched in 1991 and late 1994. The StarTAC is the successor of the MicroTAC, a semi-clamshell design first launched in 1989. Whereas the MicroTAC's flip folded down from below the keypad, the StarTAC folded up from above the display. In 2005, PC World named the StarTAC as the 6th Greatest Gadget of the Past 50 Years. The StarTAC was among the first mobile phones to gain widespread consumer adoption; approximately 60 million StarTACs were sold.


The Motorola StarTAC, first released on 3 January 1996, is often assumed to be the first ever clamshell (flip) mobile phone. Technically, however, NEC had been releasing flip phones on NTT Docomo's PDC Mova network long before 1996, namely the TZ-804 and TZ-1501, both respectively launched in 1991 and late 1994. The StarTAC is the successor of the MicroTAC, a semi-clamshell design first launched in 1989. Whereas the MicroTAC's flip folded down from below the keypad, the StarTAC folded up from above the display. In 2005, PC World named the StarTAC as the 6th Greatest Gadget of the Past 50 Years. The StarTAC was among the first mobile phones to gain widespread consumer adoption; approximately 60 million StarTACs were sold.
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