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Motorola StarTAC




Motorola StarTAC 85

Dimension and weight:

StarTAC 75/85
98x57x23mm 112g

StarTAC 130
94x55x19mm 95g

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 75/85/130/M6088.

Motorola StarTAC ETACS "red dot"

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.

Startac rainbow

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 oldest model....

Motorola M6088

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 another phone...

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): Model TAC
StarTAC 75 MGI-4E12 447264
StarTAC 85 MGI-4E12 446203
StarTAC 130 MGI-4E21 448548
StarTAC M6088 MC2-41I11 449154

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 was made

 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



Final assembly place

code Year   code month   code place
H 1983   A/B 01   R Uk
J 1984   C/D 02   2 Germany
K 1985   E/F 03      
L 1986   G/H 04      
M 1987   J/K 05      
N 1988   L/M 06      
P 1989   N/P 07      
Q 1990   Q/R 08      
R 1991   S/T 09      
S 1992   U/V 10      
T 1993   W/X 11      
U 1994   Y/Z 12      
V 1995            
W 1996            
X 1997            
Y 1998            
Z 1999            

The story of the first phone call. It was 1973...

...but already in 1910 Lars Ericsson phone in his car...!

My phone collection


Ericsson T28
Motorola StarTAC
Motorola V3688 V3690 V50
Nokia communicator
Nokia 8810
Nokia 8850
Nokia 8910
Nokia 7110
Nokia 8110
Motorola MicroTAC
Panasonic GD90
Motorola DynaTAC
Teledrin SIP