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"I don't know why I write science fiction. The voices in my head told me to!"
- Charles Stross

Pocket Phone (or pocketphone)  
  A telephone that is not hard wired to the network; a mobile or cell phone.  

In this brief quote, Robert Heinlein presents the science fiction reader with the modern day cell phone, he also foresees the main problem with them. The quote is taken from Lost Legacy, one of the four novellas in this story collection.

"How come," he asked as he came abreast, "they had to search for you?"

"Left my pocketphone in my other suit," Coburn returned briefly. "Did it on purpose - I wanted a little peace and quiet. No luck."

Technovelgy from Assignment in Eternity, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Signet in 1953
Additional resources -

This is an early mention of a portable phone usable by ordinary civilians. Also, it specifies that the phone is small enough to actually put in your pocket. Here's another mention of a phone that fits in your pocket from Podkayne of Mars, also by Robert Heinlein.:

He patted my hand. "Cheer up, Flicka. Always remember that, when things seem darkest, they usually get considerably worse. He took his phone out of his pocket and made a call.

"This is Senator Fries. I want the Director... I just called to tell you that I'm coming by to stuff you into one of your own helium tanks. Oh, say about fourteen or a few minutes after. That should give you time to get out of town. Clearing."

He pocketed his phone.

As far as I know, the first reference to a pocket-sized telephone occurs in John Jones's Dollar by Harry Stephen Keeler, published in The Black Cat magazine in 1915; see the pocket wireless phone.

The British cartoonist W. K. Haselden described a "Pocket Telephone" and the cartoon was first published in The Mirror on March 5, 1919:


(The Pocket Telephone - When Will It Ring?)

See also these references; the telephonoscope from The Coming Race (1929) by JD Bernal and Heinlein's 1948 novel Space Cadet - the portable telephone.

Famously, Nikola Tesla was quoted in an interview in 1926 in Collier's Magazine:

"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket."

Just to put some historical perspective on this one, in 1964 the closest thing to a portable telelphone was a radiotelephone, which was typically the size of a couple of shoeboxes.

Bell System engineers made the first transatlantic radiotelephone call in 1915; it used huge towers and lots of power. The original VHF Squad Radios from WWII were originally designed to be used while riding a horse! The first cellular phones were demonstrated in 1973.

Present day radiotelephones may operate at any frequency where they are licensed to do so, though typically they are used in the various bands between 60 MHz and 900 MHz.

For the WWII generation, a telephone was a fixed object affixed to a wall, or wired into one. It took real effort of the imagination to see a phone you could just put in your pocket.
(Thanks to Victor Ramirez for this item.)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Assignment in Eternity
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Assignment in Eternity
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Pocket Phone (or pocketphone)-related news articles:
  - Nokia Morph Cell Phone Concept

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