The 90’s laid the groundwork for some tech-related inventions that we seemingly can’t live without today. From video games, to software, all the way to Google itself, the 90’s was a decade of fast-paced tech development. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and remember all of the huge innovations that the 90’s brought us.
1995 – The Sony PlayStation (U.S.)
While originally launched in 1994 in Japan, The Sony PlayStation made its debut in the U.S. in 1995. At the time, video games were still largely considered kids’ toys, but PlayStation started to break that mold, as it introduced adult video games to the market. PlayStation was an earth-shattering success, and is now one of the most popular gaming systems in existence.
1998 – Google
Founded by two Ph.D. students at Stanford University, Google made its first appearance in 1998. The company’s rapid growth triggered a whirlwind chain of events that shaped the modern internet as we know it – and made the company wildly successful. From browsers to cellphones, Google continues to be a cornerstone of modern tech, and arguably the most influential tech company in the world.
1996 – DVD’s / The First DVD Player (Toshiba SD-3000)
The first DVD player by the Sony Corporation in Japan, in collaboration with the Pacific Digital Company, popped up in 1997. DVD’s made their first appearance in Japan in 1996, but didn’t hit U.S. shelves until 1997. The first DVD players had a starting price of around $600.
1990 – Photoshop 1.0
Originally released exclusively for Macintosh, Photoshop 1.0 hit the market in 1990. Photoshop 1.0 went through three name changes before it decided on its current name, including “Display,” “Image-Pro,” and finally, “Photoshop.” Since its release, Photoshop has become the de facto industry standard in graphics editing, to the point where “Photoshop” has become not only a title, but also a verb- i.e. “I photoshopped my puppy into that picture.”
1991 – Linux
Now the best-known and most-used open-source operating system, Linux was originally released in 1991 by a college student by the name of Linus Torvalds. Originally developed for PC’s, Linux has been ported to more platforms than any other operating system. The Linux kernel is the base for the Android operating system on smartphones and tablets, giving Linux the title of “Largest Installed Base of All General-Purpose Operating Systems.”
1992 – Text Messaging
Used for the first time in December of 1992 by a test engineer named Neil Papworth, text messaging, or “texting,” has become an every-day, often integral, part of modern society. From business to leisure, texting has replaced email, and definitely phone calls, to become the number one method of communication worldwide.
1992 – Nokia 1011
In 1992, Nokia released the Nokia 1011 – the first truly “hand-held” cell phone, and the original GSM phone. It could hold a whopping 99 phone numbers, but didn’t bare the characteristic Nokia ringtone, which wasn’t introduced until 1994. The Nokia 1011 was the first phone to have SMS messaging (texting) capabilities.
We went from cell phones the size of small luggage to virtual pets on keychains – it’s safe to say that the 90’s was a wild decade full of people with big ideas. It may have even been one of the most tech-advancing decades in history. And if it wasn’t? It sure was fun!
Originally a non-functional prop on the movie “Home Alone,” the Talkboy became a must-have for every kid during Christmas 1992. The Talkboy was actually released a week before Black Friday in 1992 – the same day that “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” was released. Initial sales were driven by the Talkboy’s tie-ins with the “Home Alone” movies, but the device quickly became a fad in its own right.
Released at the end of 1998, the Gameboy Color, combined with the original Gameboy, hold the title for both “The Third Best Selling Gaming System of All Time” and “The Second Best Selling Handheld Gaming System of All Time.” However, in 2003, when the Gameboy Color was discontinued, it, along with its predecessor the Gameboy, were the “Best Selling Gaming Systems of All Time.” Due to its backward compatibility with its predecessor, the Gameboy, the Gameboy Color had a staggering number of playable games at launch. But that didn’t stop Nintendo from releasing many new games, both backward compatible, as well as exclusive to Gameboy Color. The Gameboy Color was one of the most popular electronic devices of the 90’s, and was one of the most popular toys. While Gameboys and Gameboy Colors have both been discontinued since the early 2000’s, they’re both still very playable and enjoyable systems. They aged well!
Coined by Apple Computer CEO John Sculley in January of 1992, the term was first used in reference to the Apple Newton. In ’94, IBM introduced the first PDA with phone functionality, called the IBM Simon. The IBM Simon was wildly popular, and could actually be referred to as the first smartphone to ever exist. Following suit, Nokia introduced the 9000 Communicator, another PDA with full phone functionality. Nokia’s version became the world’s best-selling PDA, ever. If not for the PDAs of the 90’s, we might not have the smartphones that we have today! Gasp!