When motorola present StarTAC, 3 january 1996, it
was the smallest and lightness of the world, only 112g. It's the first real
pocket cellular phone in the story and with the elegant and compact design and
its prohibitive price, it was a statu symbol.
StarTAC line was the high-end for Motorola,
over the Mi
croTAC line, another line of
phone that share the same function and the same menu, but the phone has no the
same design, weight, and price...!!!
In europe Motorola propose StarTAC in analogue
and 4 different digital version for all europe. In italy was market only 2
analogue version, the famous one with red dot (see picture below) and the other
one with a gpaphic display similar to StarTAC 85 GSM. The GSM model is
At the launch in 1996, StarTAC capture the
attention of public for design and dimension and for the attractive display with
red dot and not with the common green back light lcd.
il caratteristico display dello StarTAC "led rossi"
StarTAC 75 and 85 share the same chassis and the
only difference is the display: the 75 model use a matrix display, the 85 model
a graphic lcd. Those model use the full-size sim like the MicroTAC
StarTAC 85 graphic display
StarTAC 75 was sell alsoo in the gold variant,
where the caractheristic half moon which is write "motorola" in the front of the
phone, is completelly gold. 75 model was also sell in the rainbow model, as you
can see in the picture below, every part of chassis have different colours.
85 model is the unic model that was proposed
in different colours: the classic black, gray and dark blue.
The maximum of the glory for StarTAC was with 130
model. The phone lost the full-size sim and use the classic small sim that use
the most GSM phone yesterday and today. With this feature the phone is a little
bit light and small, other differences in the display (graphic, but smaller than
85 model) and keypad. Motorola improve battery management and software in 130
model, but remain some serious problem like 75 and 85 model...
StarTAC 130 (a sinistra) e 85 (destra)
Last StarTAC evolution is the M6088 model, it has
about the same dimension of 130 model, it has a fix aerial and not extractable
like all StarTAC, the only avalaible colour is "silver" and the design is
a little bit more refined. The most important innovation is the radio system:
now is dual band. StarTAC myth in this period is not at top, at the end of the
century the top phone sold by Motorola is the new v3688... so the M6088, the
last StarTAC, is the best StarTAC, but it loose a lot fascination respect the
The battery was the same for all StarTAC, except
for M6088 (the battery is the same, but change the external chassis). There are
the lithium slim (500mAh) and the big one (900mAh).
StarTAC on TV: Some famous spot:
Motorola StarTAC was not a perfect phone, in one
hand there are a very appreciate design and a good (but not excellent) tecnology
in radio system, on the other hand there are big software problem that motorola
never solve and the user interface was truly horrible to use, a problem that
dogged Motorola for many years afterwards. The most famous bug is that owner, to send a SMS, must remember
thee phone number of addressee because it's impossible to take it from phone
memory! It's also impossible to answer immediately at a SMS, because when you
finish to read one, the software has not the option "reply". When you recieve a
SMS the phone show you only the number and not the name, also if the numer is
associated to a name in the phone.... The clock only indicate the time and doesn't
interact with the phone, so the phone show you taht Sam call you, but it doesn't
show you when. StarTAC has the vibracall, but you can choose only vibration,
only ring or vibration and after ring; it's impossible to set ring and vibrate
together. Especially in the first model, the battery life was not exceptional.
Finally, the resistance against bump is not good.
Motorola never write in the phones the numer/name of the model; so to know
which phone we have in our hand withou know the difference between one model and
another model of StarTAC, we need to know the "TAC" code. TAC code (Type
Approval Code) are 6 numbers that identify every cell phone model. To know the
TAC of one phone, you must digit " *#06# "; appear on the display some numbers,
the first 6 are is TAC code. Another method: left the battery and on the label
find the IMEI code, the first 6 numbers are the "tac". The first method is
secure because if we don't know the story of the phone we don't know if the
label or the plastic part where is stick the label was replaced with another of
For example the TAC for StarTAC 130 is 447764, so all the phone which have
the IMEI that begini for this 6 numbers are StarTAC 130
TAC list of Motorola StarTAC sell in Italy:
Model (commercial name):
7th and 8th number of IMEI code correspond in all GSM phone at "FAC"
(Final Assembly Code). on Motorola phone tell us the location where they
06 = made in Flensburg, Germany (flare)
07 = made in Flensburg, Germany
08 = made in Flensburg, Germany
31 = ?
40 = made in Easterinch, Scotland (UK)
41 = made in Easterinch, Scotland (UK)
47 = Also a very popular fake IMEI. There are thousands of phones out there with IMEI=00000047000000 !
49 = Was found on a 8700 from China with Fake IMEI
67 = made in Illinois, USA (most prototypes)
80 = made in Tianjin, China
81 = made in Tianjin, China
92 = made in China by EASTCOM in Hangzhou
93 = made in China by EASTCOM in Hangzhou
On Motorola phone farther IMEI code (it's a standard for all GSM) we
find another code write in the label under the battery: the MSN
code. It's a 10 numbers code where:
-123: indicate the cellular
phone model -4: indicate the origin code, where the phone was made -56:
year and month of final assembly -789 and 10: serial number