Personal Technology Web/Tech

Top 100 Gadgets of All Time

Mobile PC has published its list of the top 100 gadgets of all time. Those that affect communications, IMO, include (yes, I’m lazy – I’ve left them in all caps):

93. COLUMBIA GRAPHOPHONE DICTAPHONE, 1907 – competition between Edison to Bell made personal recording possible
87. RADIO SHACK TRS-80 MODEL 100, 1983 – portable, simple, rugged and (relatively) cheap at $800
70. ATARI PONG C-100, 1976 – start of the gaming culture
60. ABACUS, 190 A.D. – first mechanical calculator
48. SONY DIGITAL MAVICA MVC-HD5, 1997 – first digital camera to record onto disks and have a "large" screen; at one time, accounted for half the digital camera market

46. TEXAS INSTRUMENTS SPEAK & SPELL, 1978 – first toy to use voice synthesis on a single chip
39. APPLE NEWTON MESSAGEPAD 120, 1994 – pioneered the handheld computer
37. JVC GR-C1 CAMCORDER, 1984 – minaturization allowed consumers to
easily shoot home movies; not digital yet, so editing was another story
30. JVC HR-3300 VHS VCR, 1976 – minaturization allowed consumers to
record in their homes; Sony-JVS beta-VHS wars; entertainment industry
lost its suit against Sony, legalizing personal recording of television
26. GRID COMPASS 1100, 1982 – first clamshell notebook computer

23. TELEPHONE, 1876 – revolutionized personal communication, removing geographic boundaries
22. APPLE POWERBOOK 500, 1994 – first touch pad, first stereo speakers,
first expansion bay, first PCI slot, first "intelligent" battery, first
case with curves (instead of boxy corners)
17. TOSHIBA SD-3000 DVD PLAYER, 1996 – the first consumer player
16. ACOUSTIC DATA COUPLER 300 MODEM, 1968 – only 300 baud, but
inspiration for geeks around the world, especially Dennis Hayes (of
Hayes Modem fame)
handheld scientific calculator, used both both integrated circuits and LEDs, blazing a trail for this technology to be incorporated into laptops

14. SONY CDP-101 CD PLAYER, 1983 – before DVDs, there were CDs; this was the first consumer player, priced at $1K
13. SONY TR-63 TRANSISTOR RADIO, 1957 – minaturized radios so that they
did become a personal device; foundation for Sony’s growth to a global
12. APPLE IPOD, 2001 – not the first, but the first that was easy-to-use
11. POLAROID LAND CAMERA, 1948 – the first camera to "instantly" reveal an image
10. TIVO SERIES1, 1999 – made time-shifting a breeze; ‘nuf said

8. DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA RIO 300, 1998 – the first portable MP3 player
endured the rath of the recording industry, making it a pioneer like
tape recorders had been before it
7. U.S. ROBOTICS PILOT 1000, 1996 – first widely adopted handheld computer
5. CDI MECHANICAL MOUSE MODEL 4-101, 1970 – before point-and-click, there was the command line
3. SONY WALKMAN, 1979 – more minaturization – established the future market for MP3 players
1. APPLE POWERBOOK 100, 1991 – moved notebook computers from niche to
mainstream market with, at ome time, 40 percent of the market; design
moved keyboard towards the screen –  PC laptop manufacturers mimicked
within months

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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