Vintage Gadgets We Forgot Existed

After 20 years, Apple announced the end of production of its iPod, the company’s worldfamous music device. The iPod, created in the early 2000s, has been a favorite premium accessory for music lovers. Millennials will quickly recognize the colorful and loud TV commercials that advertised the first iPod.

However, Apple’s decision to discontinue the iPod comes as no surprise. If anything, it reminds us once again that technology is constantly evolving and we always need to keep up with its advances. In the past, gadgets like Walkmans, Gameboys, and Tamagotchis have dominated our entertainment needs. Depending on the technology you’ve used or are used to, it’s easy to guess your age. This fun tech age quiz can even determine your tech age and see if it matches your biological age.

Imagine yourself as a person who knows all the gadgets of the past? We take a look at some of the most influential inventions of yesteryear and how they have influenced and shaped the world of technology as we know it today.

1. Walkman and Discman

Love Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal? Then you should thank Sony for inventing the Walkman and Discman players. These small devices undoubtedly inspired MP3 players, iPods and other portable music players, changing the way we enjoy music today.

The Walkman and Discman were invented in the early 80s, allowing people to play cassettes and compact discs (CDs). When they first appeared, both gadgets revolutionized the way people listen to music. The release of Discman also boosted CD sales. The CD industry saw a sudden increase in the number of titles available and more artists wanted to create CDs to meet the needs of consumers.

These days, many of us turn to music streaming services to listen to music, podcasts, and more. Some streaming services, such as Tidal, put a lot of emphasis on sound quality and try to mimic the sound quality that CDs and vinyl records play. Although the market is now dominated by streaming services, these innovations would not have happened if Walkmans and Discmans had not appeared first.

2. Tamagotchi

Tamagotchis are portable digital devices that allow users to hold virtual pets. These tiny devices (smaller than the palm of your hand) were some of the most popular and soughtafter toys of the late 90s and early 2000s. According to Bandai, the company behind these eggshaped toys, over 83 million Tamagotchi units have been sold worldwide.

Anyone who has ever owned a Tamagotchi can attest to how difficult it is to keep up with this pet. However, they were extremely popular and teenagers often took them with them wherever they went, including to school.

While not as readily available in stores as they used to be, Tamagotchis are still available for purchase at Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy. Tamagotchis have no doubt played a role in the popularity of the simulation and augmented reality games genre. A lot of the games we love now, like Animal Crossing, Pokémon, and Neko Atsume, are like Tamagotchi and use the whole concept of caring for something.

3. Diskettes

Floppy disks have been the storage device of choice for teenagers who have wanted to pass on school assignments in the past. These days they have moved to cloud computing and sending everything through platforms like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.

Made from a thin and flexible magnetic drive and a square plastic case, floppy disks were usually colorful and palmsized. The first floppy disk was created by IBM and was about eight inches in diameter. Subsequently, these storage devices have been reduced in size.

While the floppy disks were easy to use, they did not offer impressive storage capacity. On average, they had about 1.44 MB of disk space. They were also very fragile and prone to damage.

4. Gameboy

When this 8bit handheld game console from Nintendo was released, it shook the gaming industry. Released in Japan in the late 80s, the Game Boy provided a seamless gaming experience with just five game control buttons, an adjustable speaker, and a contrast dial.

The Game Boy was either sold as a standalone product or bundled with games such as Super Mario and Tetris at the time of its launch. As with other handheld gaming devices of the time, players needed to purchase different cartridges for the games they wanted.

Needless to say, the Game Boy paved the way for portable gaming. Nintendo continued to release products such as the DS, 3DS, and Switch that were gaming fan favorites when they were released. During the pandemic, Nintendo saw sales of its Switch console skyrocket as more people stayed at home, reinforcing the belief that handheld gaming was here to stay.

5. Camcorders

Camcorders, once a staple of family vacations and holidays, are making a comeback. Influencers such as Kylie Jenner, Emma Chamberlain, and Maddie Dragsback have started using camcorders again to record content for various social media platforms despite being from a different generation.

In the early 80s, Sony released the first camcorder for professional use. Shortly thereafter, brands such as JVC picked up on the trend and released handheld camcorders that could be used at the consumer level.

Although these devices have been discontinued, our obsession with video cameras and the effect they give to our footage has not gone away. Many photo and video apps for smartphones these days have filters that mimic the effect of those vintage camcorders and 35mm cameras, and they’re popular on social media.

Like Apple’s iPod, most of the devices we’ve covered above have been discontinued. However, they have all brought immeasurable value to our lives and have inspired many gadgets that have improved our lives so much. Looking back, it’s clear that technology will continue to evolve and it’s important to keep up with it if we want to stay relevant.

Categories: Technology News

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