Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

A Prehistoric Blackberry

$20 toys have better displays these days.What a difference a decade makes. This is the RIM 950, a futuristic pager/email/pda released in April, 2000 by a little Canadian company called Research In Motion. It was the perfect companion for Type-A execs and on-call gynecologists. The monochrome display measured 132 x 65 pixels and the backlight allowed them to annoy the theater-going proletariat with a quick flick of the rotary scroll wheel.

4 MB of flash memory and 512 K or SRAM were enough to store hundreds of emails or 20,000 vital appointments in the wireless calendar. You could even surf the Internet.

I could ramble on, but there are a couple of important things to note. The first is that this gadget ran an astounding 21 days on a single easily replaceable AA battery. Fast forward to the present and I carry a second battery for my modern Blackberry, just in case the power-sucking backlight leaves me stranded after a few days.

Second, it weighs only 11g more than a modern Blackberry Bold 9700. After a decade, you'd expect its progeny to be wafer thin. However, feature creep and massive displays have conspired to keep the weight up. We're turning our phones into gaudy Cadillacs rather than stripped-down racers.

It'll be interesting to see what the next decade brings. Will companies keep adding features and power to their handsets, or will we see renewed interest in simplicity? More to the point: Will RIM still exist in 2021?

RIM 950 Specifications [blackberry.com]


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