Best Technology Gifts Through the Decades
Best Technology Gifts Through the Decades
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Best Technology Gifts Through the Decades

By Olivia Harlow

It’s likely that as you lived through different decades, you bore witness to the booms and crazes of different inventions—the weird, the cool, the practical, and the useless. Technology is constantly evolving, proving the power of progress. Here are some of our favorite tech inventions throughout the decades...



It turns out the 70s weren’t just about bell bottom jeans and Flower Power.

The seventies were the time when portable music was first introduced. It wasn’t until the end of the decade, however, that the iconic Sony Walkman made it’s debut. But when it did? Oh, everyone was jamming to music on the go. Without the Walkman, would we have Spotify, AirPods, and iMusic libraries?

The first cell phone was also invented in the seventies, although it was considered a “brick phone” at the time—much different than the sleek, lightweight, photo-taking smart phones we use to day. And a price of nearly $4,000, it wasn’t exactly gift-giving material of the average Joe. This Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was ten inches tall (not including the lengthy antenna), consisted of 19 buttons, and took 10 hours to charge. One has to wonder where we’d be today without that first cell device!

Can you imagine a life without tracking time? Well, before modern computers and cell phones to remind us the time of day, there wasn’t much of a way of tracing the hours. Digital wristbands were a game-changer—both for practicality and style.

And of course, don’t forget the still-lovable Polaroid camera, which printed filmstrips immediately after releasing the shutter button. Now considered a vintage treasure, a true Polaroid produces photos that give off a certain nostalgic vibe. There’s something oddly beautiful about faded, discolored little film strips, captured and printed in real time.



The 80s were much more than bad hair and neon jumpsuits.

Remember burning mix CDs for your BFF and high school crush? Well, you can thank the 80s for kick starting the trend. Commercial CDs were first launched in 1982, with only 1,000 titles available by the end of the following year. The first album released on these discs was Billy Joel’s “52nd Street.” Dire Straits’s “Brothers in Arms”—released in May 1985—was the first to sell over a million copies 

What would we do without clunky VCR movies? Although it was available for use in the 70s, it wasn’t until the following decade that the video cassette recorder hit mainstream circles. Who knows if our ability to rewind, pause, and play a movie would have ever existed without this initial big step in the movie-watching world?

The camcorder. Where on earth would we be without it? In1983 the 8 mm movie camera met its inevitable demise, but it was also the same year that the first ever camera-recorder came to life. With this invention, the world of filming and editing video totally changed. With the camcorder, you could finally watch a movie in the comfort of your home—with sound! There’s something oddly sentimental and lovably nostalgic about using a camcorder still today!



A decade of boy bands and tacky toys indeed.

The 1998, Jelly Bean-colored iMac computer was a pretty “cute” piece of tech that blew all our minds on the cusp of the 2000s.

Meanwhile, the HitClip—a serious upgrade to the 60s Walkman—resulted in immediate popularity. These keychain-type cartridges would play one-minute excerpts of the top hit pop songs, making it way too easy to get a Backstreet Boys chorus stuck in your head all day.

Remember your Dad’s Palm Pilot? This handheld PDA—personal digital assistant—was practically every middle-aged man’s business dream come true. While its memory capabilities and task abilities are nothing like the modern iPhone’s, it’s pretty interesting to think of the huge impact the Pilot had in encouraging the “smart phones” we have today.



Bring on the choker necklaces and frosted lipgloss.

Beyond tacky laced-up jeans and the Lizzie McGuire Show, the 2000s were actually pretty radical for modern technology. iPhones, the primary phone used across the country today, were first invented in the 2000s. Originally revealed in 2007, Apple’s iPhone was among the first smartphones that introduced multi-touch competences. Its creation undoubtedly set a new standard for cellular devices, eventually leading us to the even more high tech versions we use today.

Just like the company did with the phone world, Apple also worked wonders in the music world, with the iPod. It was pretty much every kid’s dream to have an iPod, to which they could download all those guilty pleasure 90s jams and bust dance moves on the bus ride to school.



Woah, like, organic food and juice bars? So hip.

The 2000s started something big, and the movement that followed is arguably one of the fastest-moving tech waves in history. Big tech companies felt the pressure to produce something better than ever, faster than ever, and competition was steep. Throughout this decade thus far, things like the Kindle, MacBook Air, the Canon S95 camera, and the iPad have been born—just to name a handful! And likely anyone would still be thrilled to receive any of this still perfectly up-to-date techy gifts!

It’s clear to see that every decade has had something special to offer, and that every invention got us one step closer to where we are today. Technology is constantly undergoing revolution, and the progress made now will surely initiate creations we can’t even dream of today!

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