Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Trip Down Tech Memory Lane

Found myself enjoying this fun and nostalgic article (1988 vs. 2008: A Tech Retrospective) today on tech.msn.com. They looked back 20 years ago to common gadgets we now live with everyday. Here's a brief summary:

Laptops
- 20 years ago: 9 inch screen, weighed 14 lbs. and cost about $4,000
- Today: 14 inch screen, 4 lbs. and cost about $1,000

Home PCs
- 20 years ago: Tandy 80286 with 640KB RAM, floppy-drive (no hard drive) and 14-inch monitor (16 colors), for about $1,400
Today: HP dual-core desktop with 2 Gigs of RAM, 750 GB Hard drive, CD/DVD drive and 17-inch flat panel LCD (16.7 million colors) for about $1,000

Printers
- 20 years ago: $1,000 color dot-matric printer
- Today: $100 photo-quality inkjet printer

Modem
- 20 years ago: 2,400 baud for about $400
- Today: 38 Mbps for about $60

Internet Access
- 20 years ago: Compuserve, $47.50/hour for high-speed (9,600 baud) dial-up access. Low speed (up to 2,400 baud) was $12/hour.
- Today: 20 MB/sec for unlimited access for about $50/month (and you can wirelessly share with multiple computers at home)

Hard Drives
- 20 years ago: 150 MB for almost $5,000
- Today: 500 MB for about $200, 1 TB for about $360

Cell phones
- 20 years ago: Analog, weighed 28 ounces and cost $2,500
- Today: Digital, weighs less than 5 ounces and cost about $100 (ofte FREE upon sign-up)

It's amazing how far we've come in 20 years. Just imagine what the next 20 years will bring us. Prices will probably not go down much more on some devices because as Dell learned last year, you can't continue selling computers for less than cost and still expect to make a profit. But at today's prices, most of these devices are simply affordable to the general public unlike 20 years ago when not anyone can just plunk down $2,500 for a cell phone. And note that I didn't even show inflation-adjusted prices here, so that $2,500 cell phone is really $4,300 in today's dollars.

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