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98/80/1 Mobile telephone, 'Opera' digital cellular phone, model CE168X NEC, pvc / metal / glass / electronic components, made by NEC Australia Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1996. Click to enlarge.

'Opera' mobile phone by NEC Australia

Designed
The NEC Opera was the first mobile phone designed and made in Australia. Small, light and grey, it's made of plastic with a liquid crystal display. Folding up when not in use is its way of being rugged.

The phone was designed and manufactured in response to the adoption of the digital GSM* standard for mobile communications by some South East Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia). Rapidly industrializing countries in S.E. Asia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere find that it is considerably faster …

Summary

Object No.

98/80/1

Object Statement

Mobile telephone, 'Opera' digital cellular phone, model CE168X NEC, pvc / metal / glass / electronic components, made by NEC Australia Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1996

Physical Description

The NEC Opera is a dark grey, molded plastic folding phone. The outside of the casing has an oval recess on the top half designed to fit a "cover plate rear" with the NEC logo. The bottom half has a cavity to accept the power cell (battery); without the battery in place, the power cell contacts, the housing mechanism for a security device and a manufacturer's label are exposed. The label has the following details printed on it:

CE168X NEC Australia Pty. Ltd. MADE IN AUSTRALIA
MP5J1D1-1A IMEI 446669/29/657793/0

Below this a bar code appears.

When unfolded for use the inside of the phone reveals a 4 line, 48 character liquid crystal display, a keypad with number and function keys, and perforations in the housing for audio input and output. Along the top edge in the right hand corner is a black retractable aerial with a bullet-shaped head. 20mm in from the top and bottom edges are magnets under the surface of the casing, to keep the phone together when closed.

Marks

On the reverse in the battery cavity is a white printed adhesive label with the following information 'CE168X NEC Australia Pty. Ltd. / MADE IN AUSTRALIA / MP5J1D1-1A IMEI 446669/29/657793/0' followed by a barcode

Dimensions

Width

56 mm

Depth

30 mm

Production

Notes

The Opera was designed and manufactured in response to the adoption of the digital GSM standard for mobile communications by some Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia). NEC in Tokyo was unable to respond to the rapid appearance of these new markets. NEC Australia was in a position to do this.

Outside the US the cellular infrastructure is rapidly adopting digital protocols as opposed to analogue systems. Digital systems can offer better transmission quality, enhanced service features, and more efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum. Many countries without established land line infrastructures are adopting mobile cellular technologies for cheaper and faster market growth and access.

The NEC Opera's logic circuitry is implemented in just a few integrated circuits. Radio Frequency (RF) components have experienced extensive miniaturisation over the past decade. Further developments of this kind will help to shrink the RF side of wireless communicatons products.

Made in Mulgrave, Melbourne, Australia, 1996.

The NEC Opera is the first mobile phone to be designed, developed and manufactured in Australia.

The manufacture of the NEC Opera employed an innovative "cell manufacturing" process, where a team of four assembled each complete phone (in approximately 30min.) NEC found that this system delivered quality and productivity improvements and enhanced employee satisfaction. This system also permitted production to be boosted by adding cells.

The NEC Australia facility at Mulgrave in Victoria was opened in October 1971. For the first 15 years of its existence, the role of the Mulgrave facility was merely to handle the sales and manufacture of products designed by NEC Japan. Over the past ten years (1986-1997) the centre has acquired the ability to design and develop products of its own.

History

Notes

Donated unused to the museum in 1997.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of ICP Engineering, NEC Australia Pty Ltd, 1998

Acquisition Date

29 May 1998

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Opera' mobile phone by NEC Australia 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 May 2021, <https://ma.as/164564>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/164564 |title='Opera' mobile phone by NEC Australia |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=14 May 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Technology & Innovation at the Museums Discovery Centre.