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Decade of Technology: 1980s

Decade of Technology: 1980s

The 80s marked a defining shift in the zeitgeist, for the first time technology became a huge part of our lives. Portable video games, mobile phones and home computers quickly spread, and many things that have come to define this iconic decade emerged: Pac-Man, Star Wars, hair spray, Rubik’s cube, Walkmans, synth music, ET, Super Mario and Ray Bans.

Typically remembered as a time of great excess, it was also when people started to become more concerned about the environment. Possibly one of the most transformative decades in terms of technology releases:

1981 – IBM PC

Arguably the first true home computer, the IBM PC defined the term Personal Computer. Although not common anymore, the idea of “IBM compatible” was also born and persisted for almost 2 decades.

1982 – Compact Disc

Originally released for music only and released by Phillips and Sony, the CD quickly evolved as the new method for quick and cheap storage of relatively large amounts of data.

1983 – Apple Macintosh, Nintendo Entertainment System and Mobile Phone

A massive year for technology releases that changed the world. Apple’s personal computer split the PC market, creating the divide we still have today. One of the most popular game systems, the NES, was released and after some teething troubles, was made available outside of Japan in 1985. And the now hilarious “brick phone” appeared, an icon of the 80s.

1985 – Microsoft Windows

Released as a direct competitor to the easy-to-use Apple Macintosh graphical user interface, it quickly took on and gained 90% share of the market. It also started a long legal battle that took almost a decade to settle (in Microsoft’s favour).

1989 – Nintendo Game Boy

The first Game Boy was took the world by storm, even though it was a small screened 8-bit one colour game system. The ability to take it everywhere and change the game cartridge made it incredibly popular, even with the limited specs. The colour version was released almost a decade later.

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