Did you know that the Sony Walkman turned 40 years old? Sony released the TPS-L2 Walkman in July 1979 in Japan. It finally made it to the States by the Christmas of 1979. Philips released the Cassette in 1963. That means we’ve been using the word mix-tapes for over 50 years now. However, while the word Mix-Tape is still a thing, tapes are not. Record players so far are the only thing making a comeback. You would be hard-pressed to find a tape player if your life depended on it. The cassette changed the way people listened to music. No longer did you have to be still. You could take your music with you on the go. Before Apple, the walkman was the iPod of its day. Let’s take a look at what tech change the way we play, listen to music and watch great content.
This toy came out when I was in grade school. Yep, I’m dating myself but then again you could figure that out with a quick search for me. The 1996 virtual pet came out in 1996 but has never really left. It has been ported to pretty much every device possible from calculators to the Apple Watch. You can even pick one up at Urban Outfitters and Target.
Nintendo Game Boy
Nintendo was not the first one to have a portable gaming system is like saying Apple was not the first one with a smartphone. Sure there were others before but none of them matter once this bad boy came out. (See what I did there?) The original Game Boy came out in 1989, followed years later by the Game Boy Color in 1998. We are going to pretend that the VirtualBoy never happened.
Sony’s robot dog, Aibo ERS-110
Sony at one point was the Apple of the tech world. Meaning they could do no wrong and you just knew if it was a Sony product the quality would be there. They were also were ahead of their time with AI and smart toys. They released the first Aibo robot dog, way back in 1999 with the model ERS-110. You can still find the original on eBay 20 years later for well above a few thousand dollars.
When a product becomes the Kleenex or Q-tips of a market it is an icon. What that means is even though Kleenex or Q-tips are both actually products. People refer to any knock off by that name. The Canon’s PowerShot series was such a product. While most people know Point and SHoots. The Canon of point-and-shoot cameras model 600 that came out in 1996 started it all.
Before the Tivo, you had to be home or a friends house at just the right time to catch your favorite show. It was a built in family time or event. If you missed it you missed it. There was no real internet to see highlights or a breakdown of the show like we have now with YouTube. The first TiVo that introduced the term DVR (digital video recorder) came out in1999. Can you imagine not being able to rewind TV? That would be like a world without the internet.
USB Flash Drive
This is another device that we take granted but we almost could not live without. The all-encompassing “cloud” is taking the critical must-have out of the ThumbDrive. Also note its a ThumbDrive, not a Flash Drive. The first thumb drive was patented by M-Systems in 1999, and the first product came out in 2000 by Trek 2000 International.
The VHS videotape was not better than BetaMax but it had the support from the studios thus it became the standard. Something similar happened a few years back with Microsoft Windows Phone. iOS is not better than Windows Phone but it did have pretty much all the developers thus it stands as the standard along with Android. The VHS was released in Japan in 1976 and hit the States in 1977.
The CD was released in Japan back in 1982. I would not get my hands on one until years later when there was a way to play it portably. The Discman by Sony like the tape player before it changed the way we listen to music. We could now have a digital copy of our music wherever we went. I still remember my first 3 CDs. They were:
- Ready to Die the debut studio album by legendary yet in my opinion overrated rapper The Notorious B.I.G. Before you freak; I love Biggie I actually had to buy this album a 2nd time because my father destroyed the first one after hearing some of the lyrics. I say overrated because he only had one album to judge his talent on. Sorry but Nas, Jay-Z, and Pac all have more content to accurately compare and contrast.
- II by Boyz II Men was my chill-out album. I didn’t know it but at the time I was one of 12 million people to buy a copy of this CD in just the United States alone.
- You could not turn on the radio without hearing Ace of Base. The single All That She Wants reached number 2 on the Billboard charts but it was the catchy song “The Sign.” that convinced me to buy their album to hear what else they were saying.
Before Apple iPhones were a status symbol there was BlackBerry. Before the snobs turn their noses up if your test were not “blue”, there were BBMs. Research In Motion changed the way business was done and how people communicated. They released the first BlackBerry in 1999. The two-way pager called BlackBerry 850 was WhatsApp before it was cool.
I date DVD, BluRay, LaserDisc and all the like. Why? Well, it’s because every few years you are basically forced to update your whole collection to keep up with the new standards. Never the less without DVD’s Xbox would not have taken off. There would be no Box Sets and forget about loading Windows anything on your computer. While DVDs were around for a while it took a few years for everyone to agree on a standard. In 1995 Sony, Philips, Toshiba, and Time Warner finally agreed on a common DVD format.