Pop Culture Tech
Our Pop Culture Criteria is based upon factors such as Sales, Internet Traffic, crossover into other genres and overall impression on our society.
This list of Pop Tech encompasses media contained within the Internet & World Wide Web, Devices, and other Multi-Media.
The Walkman 1979, Sony
Product Type Portable Media Player (Compact cassette | CD | Mini Disc | AM/FM Radio)
Units sold 385 million (as of 2009)
When Sony first brought out the Compact Cassette version of the Sony Walkman. It was cute, small and sounded fab.
According to “The Verge.” The world changed on July 1st, 1979: the day that Sony released the iconic Walkman TPS-L2
In the 1980s it became Iconic with millions using it during exercise and aerobics.
iPhone 2007, Apple
Manufacturer Apple Inc
The iPhone was actually the first small, highly-intelligent, all touch screens, no buttoned smartphone.
Steve Jobs: Pop cultural icon – The Mercury News
Initially he asked his engineers to come up with his concept. At first nobody thought it was possible. It went on to become so popular and part of pop culture history. It was just like having a mini computer in your pocket.
The PC ~1971
Inventor John Blankenbaker
Product The Kenback-1 Personal Computer
According to the computer history museum The Kenback-1 is considered to be the world’s first commercial PC.
In the words of the almighty PC creator J. Blankenbaker. “I came into a little money and decided it was time to build a small computer that could be afforded by everyone,” (bbc.com)
This PC is not only part of popular culture but one day in the future it will be viewed as a huge leap forward in human evolution.
Windows 1985, Microsoft
Development Spearhead and founder Bill Gates Paul Allen
Manufactured by Microsoft
Product Windows 1.0
Product Info 16-bit graphical user interface Software running on top of MS-DOS
This really was the big pet project of Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. ‘It all began in Plaza Hotel New York City 10 November 1983.’ (by Hongkiat Lim 16/11/17).
The objective behind their brainchild was make it simple so the everyday average joe can easily use it. Oh and give it something called a mouse. Windows was so successful it has evolved over the years and is still a necessity today. Still incorporating some of the style and feel of the original Windows from way back when.
Invented Ampex 1956
Developer JVC (Victor Compony of Japan)
Product type Video Cassette Recorder
Media VHS Cassette or Betamax Cassette
In 1985 the VCR really did take the world by storm. Before this time if you wanted to watch your favorite program on TV you had to wait until it was broadcast. Now you could not only record that program whilst watching another program (this really was unthinkable before the VCR) then watch it back at your heart’s desire. But you could also erase it and record something else, just like an audio compact cassette. This was also the catalyst for music channels like MTV.
“When did the VCR become so popular.” (Curtesy of legaceybox.com)
It felt like the world had suddenly woke up in the sci fi age.
The DVD Player
Creator Sony Corporation | Pacific Digital company
General release 1997 (01 November 1996 Japan)
Prices $600 – $1000 (1997) | $100 (2003)
A DVD Player is a machine that plays DVDs. They were the same as CDs but instead of just audio you had the visual as well (Digital Video Disc) the quality of the content compared with VHS Tape was just out of this world. Technology really was coming on in leaps and bounds. Even computers all started coming equipped with DVD + CD-ROM players.
DVD | Ultimate pop culture Wiki | Fandom https://ultimatepopculture.fandom.com/wiki/DVD
The DVD Player became so popular not only was the quality superb but you could instantly skip to any part of the movie you wanted. They said that once nearly every household has a DVD player the start of the demise of the big movie theatres would begin. And whoever they were, they were right.
Inventor Generation zero phone Martin Cooper
Invented 1973 (but not quite that simple*)
Patented 03 April 1973
Initially used *World war II (a cross between a cell phone & radio)
There is probably no greater popular icon than the cell phone. These days we just can’t live without them. When Martin Cooper patented his fist big heavy battery consuming cell phone he could never had imagined how advance they are today.
Nothing dates a film faster than its technology. Which is why several contemporary movies have been set in pre-cell phone times. (© apartment therapy)
Think about how far cell phone technology has come over the last 20 years. Do you think you have any idea what they will be like in another 20 years?
The Hi-Fi Stereo
HI-FI Meaning High Fidelity High Quality of Sound
High Fidelity first used 1941 78rpm discs
HI-FI stereo | Record Player Specs 33 ½ rpm 12” long player | 45rpm 7” Short player |
Radio FM | AM | Amplifier | Speakers | complete.
In the 1960s/70s with the new format of the vinyl records, and the jump to stereophonic sound from mono, it meant suddenly there were many different HI-FI brands on the market. You would either get a stereo music center that would have everything combined in one (these worked out cheaper) or you could buy at the top end of the range. Separates. And it was all a long way from the quaint gramophones that preceded them. New adventures in hi-fi: the old-fashioned stereo makes a come back
It is usually the format or the sound media that drives the innovations of the HI-FI stereo technology.
The Touchtone Telephone
Compony Bell Telephone
Product Electronic push-button touch-tone Telephone
Release Date 18 November 1963
Location Pennsylvania USA
When this new style telephone was released in the early 60s it was a wonder of modern-day technology. No more finger in the socket turning round dial. But they didn’t really catch on everywhere until the 70s and 80s especially in the UK. They worked in a completely different way. Instead of using clicks they used tones. That format is still used to this day.
50 years ago Touchtone Phones began a communication revolution. (tribe live.com)
Compony playNET licensing to QUANTUM Link renamed AOL
Open for Business 1989
Services dial-up web portal email instant messaging and web browser
Inclusive Purchases Netscape Time Warner
When AOL purchased Time Warner at the height of their success in 2001 it became the largest merger in US history. But due to the decline of dial up and the emergence of broadband they rapidly declined. On 23 June 2015 Verizon Communications Acquired AOL for a sum of $4.4 billion
When anyone, who is old enough that is, thinks back to the 90s when they would turn on their computer, the thing that will always stick in their mind to this day will be that big blue and white logo of AOL.
Polaroid Instant Camera
Founder Edwin Herbert Land
Invention Polaroid Instant Camera
Born 07 May 1909
Died 01 March 1991
Anybody who remembers the latter part of the 20th Century will remember that iconic wonderful instant camera. It was just so simple it was brilliant. Look through the viewfinder click and a few seconds later out of the bottom of the camera came a warm shiny plasticky plain white photo paper. Then a minute or two later as if by magic your photograph appeared.
Obviously it wasn’t magic it was chemicals. But the Polaroid Instant Camera was Magic and nostalgic.
Inventor Al Gross
Invention the Beeper or Pager
First Use New York City Jewish Hospital. Then used in every other hospital on the planet.
Restricted use only for Police Fire Ambulance and medical professionals
Commercial use 1958
Compony Motorola 1959
Product Pageboy 1 1964
Pagers in service 1981 3.2 million
Pagers in service 2021 2 million
The first devices in the 50s/60s had no display. Just a beeping sound for the user to take action and only worked over a short distance. By the 90s wide area paging was the thing and there was a display showing who had called plus they could receive and send messages. They are still being made today by a manufacturer called Spok.
and they are used by some emergency workers because the technology is instant and far more reliable than a cell phone. This is because they don’t use a cellular network or Wi-Fi which has dead zones and can become overloaded. So that humble noisy little belt box isn’t going anywhere soon and is here to stay.
The Microwave Oven
Inventor Rod Spencer
Product Microwave Oven
Created by mistake 1946
Released commercially 1954
Compony The Raytheon Corporation
Rod Spencer was working for a company called Raytheon as an engineer. Working on radar magnetrons and electromagnetic waves. One day he noticed when he put his hand in his pocket his peanut cluster bar had melted into a very gooey sticky mess. There we have it summed up, he found a way without meaning to. Use microwaves to cook a peanut cluster bar. So he tried it with an egg and it exploded in his face. The next day his colleague tried microwaving corn kernels and they cooked and turned into popcorn. The microwave oven was born. Now over 90% of American households have a microwave oven. ‘A Brief History if the Microwave Oven’ (spectrum)
The Atari 2600
Product Atari 2600 (VCS)
Release date 11 September 1977
This is probably the most Iconic and well known and warmly remembered of all of the pre-Nintendo VCS game consoles
A History of Gaming Platforms: Atari 2600 Video Computer System/VCS – Gamasutra
When this piece of pop culture was bought new not only would you obviously receive the console in the box, but you would also get 9 different game cartridges. Air-Sea Battle, Basic Math, Blackjack, Combat, Indy 500, Star Ship, Street Racer, Surround and Video Olympics. I bet that has wetted your pallet and got you curious. Atari really was a mold breaker.
The Telephone Answering Machine
Invented Either by William Muller or William Schergens
Invention Date W. Schergens 1931 | W. Muller 1935
First commercially successful Product Joseph Zimmerman | Georg W. Danner 1949
Spec 45rpm record player | wire recorder for message capture and playback
Compony Electric Secretary Industries
Compony AT&T 1984 | unit sales 1 million
Moving forward in time to 1984. AT&T brought out a modernish and highly affordable and conservative model. The good thing about these models was when someone called you you could hear them talking even if you didn’t answer the phone. This was a real joy if you didn’t want to talk to the person that was ringing.
A little while later a whole range of manufactures started producing answering machines. In a much wider variety. https://www.google.com/imgres
The Answer machine will always be a rememberable piece popular culture.
Google (Search Engine)
Founders Larry Page | Sergey Brin
Incorporation 04 September 1998
Initial Public Offering NASDAQ
The Google stories. It was 1995 and Larry Page was just checking out Stanford University. Sergey Brin was assigned to show him round. At first they couldn’t agree on anything, but the following year from their dorm they struck up a partnership. They built a search engine and got the attention of Silicon Valley. In 1998 Sun co-founder wrote them both a cheque for $100,000. The beginning of Google Inc, well the rest as they say is history. https://www.google.com/
Reason | To get TV signals to remote areas
Concept | Run a cable from one TV with a good signal to other TVs with bad signals
No. of connected TVs | 1968 6.4% | 1978 7.5% | 1988 52.8% | 1994 62.4%
Now many countries around the world now have cable or satellite TV with many channels. Including | HBO | Cinemax | MTV | Cartoon Network | AXN | E! | FX | Discovery Channel | Canel+ | Eurosport | NBC Sports | Fox Sports | PBS sports | Disney Channel | Nickelodeon | CNN International |PSN | ESPN
Plus there are hundreds of Cable Network Operators Around the world.
But there is a shift in the way people are now accessing TV especially with use of broadband and the internet. My guess is before too long cable | satellite | digital | terrestrial | broadband | internet | cell phone and all media will all be accessed via one package from a variety of networks. And it has already started to happen. TV broadband and phone bundles
The i Pad
Manufacturer Apple Inc
Product iPad First Generation
Release date 03 April 2011
Spec WI-FI | 3G | Processor A4 | 9.7 inch | 1024- by- 768 pixel | 16 32 or 64 GB storage
Units Sold 1,300,000 | 03 May 2011 (within 4 weeks)
On 27 January 2010 Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPad. People didn’t really know what to make of it. Critics were split. Some loved the idea, some hated it. But the iPad, whether you loved it or hated it, there is no getting away from its permenant place in popular culture and 21st Century History. ‘From tablet to computer: How Apple’s iPad has evolved over the years’ (Indian Express) https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/mobile-tabs/apple-ipads-evolution-through-the-years-from-being-a-tablet-to-a-computer-6321888/
TV Channel MTV
Creator John Lack
Launch Date 01 August 1981
Genre & content Popular Music Videos
On August 1, 1981 as MTV went on air for the first time John Lack who was one of MTV creators spoke those immortal words. “Ladies and Gentlemen rock and roll.” That is it. That is all he said. The first video was The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star.” They were finally up and running. MTV has gone on to be one of the most influential sources of pop culture in recent history. It changed the way we listened to hit singles and we watch them now as well.
The Laptop Computer
Product Osborne 1
Company The Osborne Computer Corporation
Release Date 1981
Screen Size 5 inches long
Keyboard in lid
Weight 25 pounds (It was Heavy)
The first comfortable Lap Sized Laptop Epson HX20
Then as the years went on Laptops got bfaceetter smaller and more powerful. They did include CD Players, CD-ROM Players and CD burners but now no CD Players. Just USB ports and HDMI ports. As cell phones and desktop computers have evolved so has the laptop. In many cases you don’t even need a desktop now as the laptop has become so intelligent and the storage is much vaster. Especially when a lot of the data is stored in a cloud somewhere. So the Laptop and its design which hasn’t really changed is right up there with the popular cultures most needed and valued Item.
The first portable computer. (timetoast.com) https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/laptops
Company Apple Inc
Product i-pod Pocket computer
Release Date 23 October 2001
Still in Production i-pod touch 7th generation
The i-Pod was one of those Apple products that took the world by storm like a wild craze for a while, but never really lasted. But what it did do was create a lasting impression and it will go down as one of popular culture’s cutest little computers and music players. History of the iPod (youtube.com) https://youtu.be/vFbGxSTqq94
Founders Mark Zuckerberg | Eduardo Saverin |Andrew McCollum | Dustin Moskovitz | Chris Hughes
Prelude 28 October 2003 | setting up Facebook for university students
Creation 04 February 2004
Financial partnership 13 April 2004
First investment June 2004 | $500,000 |From Peter Thiel
New company formation 29 July 2004
One millionth user 30 December 2004
Initially Facebook was only up and running for students at Marks University. But as the months went on everybody could see that this website wasn’t a normal website from its enormous popularity. As you all know Facebook went on to be probably one the most successful social media sites of all time. If there was a top 10 of popular culture Facebook would easily be up there at the top. But who knows just what the future will bring? Probably Mark Zuckerberg does. https://bit.ly/3haXCpk
TV Remote Control
Developed Eugene Polley (Flashmatic) 1955
First Remote TV Control Zenith Radio
Product Name Lazy Bones
Development Date 1950
Transmissions 1956-1977 Ultrasonic Tones
Transmissions 1977-Present Day Digitally Coded Infrared
You couldn’t really think of popular culture and not think of the humble workhorse of a remote control. It does exactly what it is supposed to do simply controls something from a distance. We don’t think much about it or give it much love, or even talk about it. But it is one of those things in life that is a constant and we can completely rely on. History of the remote control. (youtube.com) https://youtu.be/2gPo5GQYac4
The Flatscreen TV
Company Sharp and Sony
Product Large flat screen TV
Commercially available 1997
Spec PALC Technology 42 inch
Price first model sold for $15,000
Due to the high price. This put the flat screen TV well outside of the price range for most people. The manufacturers soon realized that the PALC Technology was far too expensive. They decided to shelve the PALC in favour of the cheaper plasma. But these TV really were so different from the previous big hefty things that everybody watched before. The Biggest noticeable difference was they were flat and very cool looking. Who knows what TVs will be like in 50 years from now? Maybe there won’t be any TVs. Just a little box projecting a life-size hologram of your favourite program or movie. Let’s wait and see. Samsung’s The wall TV might be the biggest screen we’ve ever seen. (cnet.com)
The Fax Machine
Invented by Alexander Bain
Invention The electric printing telegraph or Fax machine
Creation Date 1843
Company AT&T Corporation sent photos via wire transmission
Date sometime at the turn of the century
The fax machine as we know it
Invented Alexander Muirhead
Fax machines are very rarely used today but they have been around for a shockingly long time. The Fax machine was so useful especially before smart phones. It was one quick way you could scan a photo or document and quickly send it to your recipient. Sadly now the fax’s technology is pretty much obsolete. But still we remember it fondly. https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/02/09/why-do-people-still-use-fax-machines/
Space Invaders & Pac-Man Arcade Games
1978 & 1980 Respectively
Audio Cassette Tapes
The Credit Card