The PicturePhone Has Arrived


While I still don’t have my jetpack, I do have my picturephone.

I was four when the AT&T PicturePhone appeared on the scene. This dude went through a lot of iterations over the year – my favorite is in this Western Electric ad.


This morning as I was drinking my coffee, waking up, and trying to get motivated to go running in the rain (I think I’ll go swim instead), my dad called on Skype.  I answered and we had a nice video chat.  I heard about my mom’s newly rediscovered Corvette lust (go mom!) and the hike they were going to do.  I saw the study in my Keystone house where they are staying which made me smile.  And then I said a quick hello to my mom.

I really hate the phone.  I always have – and spend much too much time on it.  But for some reason I like the videophone.  Maybe it’s the novelty of it, maybe it’s a different way it grabs my attention because I really engage fully with it.

Regardless, the future is catching up with my childhood in interesting ways.

  • DaveM

    Actually, you are catching up to the present.

    I've had a video phone on my desk for almost a year now. I have the Polycom VVX1500, works great. As a Skype user, you may prefer the GrandStream. It also can display your Google Calendar and go thru your Flickr account for a screensaver.

    • bfeld

      True. I had one of the Asus' for the past year. I've been a Skype user for a while but noticed that it suddenly became a mainstay of my communication within the past few months.

  • Andrew Cronk

    The ad is for Western Electric, not Western Digital, no?

    Sorry, it's the nitpicky editor in me.

  • DaveMillman


    I wonder how many people would even notice the typo in your post above, transposing "Western Digital" for the now long gone Bell manufacturing arm "Western Electric."

  • Cindy M

    The Jetpack IS here (well, in New Zealand anyway)!
    They are looking for investors, too! Happy to introduce you. Perhaps you can be the first to fly it in the USA.

  • Mike Greczyn

    Some of my best runs have been in the rain. Of course, so have some of my worst. As for the jetpack, why not go electric?