Most people don’t realize all of the great technologies invented in the 80’s. Instead, it’s easy to associate those years with crazy clothes, lots of neon and ugly hairstyles.
But when you take a look at what kinds of technologies came out of the 80’s, it turns out we should probably give more respect to those years than we’d thought.
Invention #1: The Walkman
Before the Walkman came around, there weren’t a whole lot of options for a mobile music device. You could carry around a “boom box”, but those were big, loud, and more associated with parties than a personal listening device.
The Walkman allowed people to listen to whatever they wanted in private. No more being embarrassed that you love classical music. The original was created in July of 1979, but it wasn’t until 1980 that it began to be marketed on a global scale.
The Original Sony Walkman 1980
And not only could they listen in private, but they could very easily change what they wanted to listen to. All they had to do was pop in a new cassette, which was small enough that you could easily carry around a few in a book bag or briefcase.
Invention #2: The Cell Phone
Yup- cell phones have been around for a long, long time. In fact, if you’ve ever watched the TV show called Saved by the Bell, you may remember that Zack Morris had a cell phone in several episodes.
Zack Morris With An OG Cell Phone
That said, the cell phones of the 80’s were a bit different than they are today. Back then, they were actually much larger than a traditional house phone. You were essentially carrying around a brick that could also call people. It is believed that the first mobile phone call was made in 1973 by a Motorola division manager, but it wasn’t until September 1983 that the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was approved by the F.C.C., and later became the first commercially available phone in 1984.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000X 1984
And if you thought your modern day Iphone was expensive, the DynaTAC 8000x had a price tag of a whopping $3,995 which is HUGE if you consider this was also 1984! But in the 80’s, they were awesome.
Invention #3: Video Games
The first video game console, the Atari, actually came out in 1977.
Original Atari Console 1977
While it was mildly successful once the 80’s hit, the video game market crashed in 1983 and 84. Shortly after, the Nintendo Entertainment System took the stage and dominated the market.
So even though video games technically were invented earlier than the 70’s, they really hit their stride and became mainstream in the 80’s.
The Original Nintendo (NES) 1983
Invention #4: CDs
Even though most people probably think of computer CDs when they hear the term, the first CDs were meant for the music industry.
The problem was that because it was a new technology, most people couldn’t afford to buy a CD player. One of the first commercially available models was the Sony Discman D-50, and it originally came with a hefty price tag of $350, which is again huge considering this was 1984. So rather than fork out cash for CD players, instead many people in the 1980s stuck with their traditional vinyl records for a few more years.
Original Sony Discman D-50 1984
Eventually, CD player technology improved and became much cheaper to produce. By the late 80’s, there were thousands of titles available on CD and they were inexpensive enough for most families to toss their old vinyl records.
Invention #5: The Personal Computer
Computers had been around for a few decades by this time, but they had always been too big and expensive for the average consumer.
So you can imagine the excitement when the first PC, the IBM 5150, hit the market!
IBM 5150 1981
Graeme W. of Soap Agency recalls “The ability to use a computer at home was game-changing, and is largely what contributed to the huge evolutions in computer technology we’ve had over the last 30 years.”
Clearly the 1980s was a great time for technology, and though many of these inventions seem archaic, remember this was only 30 years ago which is a testament really to human ingenuity when you consider how far we come.