My first cell phone was an Ericsson CF688 on AT&T Wireless (original incarnation). I got it in roughly 1998. I bought this model instead of some of the flashier ones because it was small. I modified it with a new antenna and smaller battery to make it pocketable. I loved that phone.
Not many years before that, though, portable phones were large. We all remember the brick "Zack Morrison" phones, but do you remember the ads? They were fantastic.