Ericsson MC 218

1999 – An Ericsson MC 218 organizer lies next to a Ericsson I888 mobile phone on the financial section of a newspaper. Photo © Mark Zanzig/

The story behind the image

1999. The Internet had left its infancy and was now heading to take over the world in a storm. Businesses around the world wanted to be a part of this revolution. And there was a second revolution going on: the mobile revolution. And the combination of both – mobile Internet – was set to be the next big thing. I was working at CompuServe in Germany back then which had been acquired by AOL. My task: to define visionary mobile Internet services of the future. It was truly exciting. The stock market was heating up (and as we soon should find out – overheating), and it felt right. We all knew we’d found a gold mine. Or so we thought.

I had arranged a lose partnership with Ericsson, the Swedish mobile phone giant back then, in Germany. They had supplied us with devices for testing and demonstration. I had been working on a mobile maps application demo for the IFA 1999 in Germany (a big consumer electronics trade show back then) and thought it might be a good idea to do a somewhat commercial shot of this. So I placed the Ericsson I888 phone next to the MC 218 on the fincancial section of a newspaper, arranged everything nicely and captured a photo.

The I888 was coined “world phone” because it was a triple band phone that you could use all over the world. The MC 218 was positioned as “mobile companion”. It was just a rebranded facelift of a Psion Seris 5mx palmtop computer with a slightly modified firmware. It could not connect to mobile networks without a mobile phone, so it was not as cool (in reality) as the promotional copy would suggest.

I was proud that I had been able to show how folks of the future (i.e., all of us, today) would be able to use mobile applications, long before Apple launched the iPhone which actually did the trick of taking the mobile Internet to the masses. The MC 218 was a failure for Ericsson, and they st

These were exciting times, and I remember them well. And I am extremely happy that I did this shot in the summer of 1999.

The high resolution image

Capture DateSummer 1999
LocationMunich, Germany
CameraCanon AE-1 Program
LensCanon FD 50mm f/1.4
Image SourceFuji Slide Film
Digital Image SourceMinolta Dimage Scan Elite II
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, AdobeRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions3688 x 2458 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/

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