Tech nostalgia: The top 10 innovations of the 1980s
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The IBM PC
The IBM PC, also known as model number 5150, was released in 1981 and changed the business world forever. This machine helped standardize the burgeoning computer market and led to a host of third-party manufacturers for the platform. The IBM PC had everyone asking the now infamous question, “Is it PC compatible?”
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The cellular phone
The first consumer cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, hit the market in 1984. Despite its massive cost and low battery life, demand was high and there was a waiting list for people wanting to buy the phone.
When it first launched in 1985, Windows was basically an extension of MS-DOS. Although it was slow to gain popularity at first, Windows eventually became one of the most popular operating systems of all time.
The Apple Macintosh
A few days after its famous Ridley Scott-directed ad aired at the 1984 Super Bowl, the Apple Macintosh went on sale. It was one of the first commercially-available computers that didn’t solely rely on a text-based interface.
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Sony and Philips are credited with the creation of the Red Book CD-DA, which was first published in 1980. It set the foundation for the future of the compact disc. The first music album to be released on the format was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street.
Nintendo Entertainment System
In 1983, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released as the Famicom. After its subsequent release in North America in 1985, demand for the system exploded. The NES revolutionized console-based gaming. Later, in 1989, the Nintendo Gameboy was released, which changed the face of handheld gaming as well.
Space Shuttle Columbia
The Space Shuttle Columbia made its maiden voyage on April 12, 1981 with the STS-1 mission. The Columbia completed nearly 30 missions before its tragic disintegration in 2003.
High definition television
The first broadcast of an analog HD television program occurred in June 1989.
The Betamovie BMC-100 was the first consumer camcorder, released by Sony in the early 1980s. The Betamovie recorded to Betamax, but once VHS camcorders became more popular the Betamovie series died out.
The TR-808 wasn’t the first programmable drum machine, but it was the most influential. The 808 was key in early hip-hop, electronica, and house music, and it is still widely used today. The title of Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak album was a reference to the TR-808.