Most of the technology we are so used to, and sometimes take for granted, was either released or improved in the 80s. Everything futuristic was the focus, and 80s technology did not let us down.
One of the biggest advancements concerning 80s technology is the home computer.
Computers were around before the 80s, but primarily for governments and businesses, as they were also extremely expensive.
The most legendary of them all is the Commodore 64, with 64 kilobytes, which seems silly by today’s standards, but was innovative in the 80s. The popularity of the Commodore was partially because of better graphics and sound, but also because it was half the price of its competition.
Computers released by IBM used DOS, which was another new development. This command - line interface was hard for the less computer-savvy to grasp, but was easy to program.
Apple stopped making the Apple II in the early 80s and focused on the Macintosh. This was another huge step forward, as it used a Graphical User Interface instead of DOS, which was much easier to look at. Instead of white or green text on a black background, it was black text on a white background.
The Macintosh also introduced us to the very first mouse and actual fonts instead of block characters.
80 Cell Phone Technology
It’s hard to believe how big early 80s cell phones were, but they were a necessary step forward. Motorola made the first cell phone approved by the FCC for the masses – the DynaTac 8000X. Ameritech launched the first 1G network in 1983 using this new phone.
Everybody wanted one, but the hefty price tag of almost $4,000 made it somewhat unrealistic for many people to purchase.
80s Video Game Console Technology
Though available in the late 70s, video game consoles saw a huge surge in popularity in the 80s. The mother of them all was the Atari 2600. It didn’t get much simpler than two joysticks with big orange buttons.
Some awesome games were available for this machine, including Pitfall, Pac Man, Asteroids, and Centipede.
Competition was hot on the Atari’s heels, and in 1985 a new king was crowned – the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo originally had Donkey Kong in arcades, which propelled the super popular Mario franchise, but now you could play at home.
Nintendo also gave us unforgettable 80s games like Mario Bros, Duck hunt, Excitebike, and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, just to name a few.
Other systems like the Sega Master System were also released in the 80s, but were not as popular as the Atari or NES.
80s Audio Technology
The 80s were also the era of new ways to listen to our new tunes. Sony released the Walkman in the US in June of 1980. With your favorite cassette tape, a pair of headphones, and a few batteries, you could listen whenever and wherever you wanted, without bothering a soul with your choice of music.
Another great audio development was the compact disc. They had a much clearer sound than vinyl or cassette, and eliminated the annoying hiss that they both emitted. There was also no warping, stretching, or a player ‘eating’ your favorite tape.
Another great thing about these new CD’s was that there was no longer a need to fast forward or rewind to get to your favorite song.
Some of this 80s technology seems so simple, but we had to be at point A before we could move toward point B. This technology was life-changing to say the least, and it’s hard to imagine life without it.