Much of the technology that we consider commonplace today was not always so accessible to the average consumer. It’s strange to think that there was a time when only the wealthiest Americans owned cell phones, when they are now so widespread. As gadgets and technological gizmos enhance and develop, so do the ways to produce them at a cheaper price. We are lucky to live in a time that the average person has access to amazing electronics. Let’s take a look at some of today’s common consumer technology, once only accessible to the wealthy.
Remember printing out driving directions from MapQuest? Let’s be glad those days are in the past! GPS was originally developed for military use, and the first handheld device was not made until 1989. As recently as 2003, portable GPS units cost about $1,100. Now they are often integrated with tablets and cellphones, straight from the manufacturer. Even if you wanted to purchase a separate unit, they can be found for as low as $100, making them much more financially accessible that before. And with advancements in technology, they are more accurate and easier to use.
Cellular phones were originally used by police, drivers and the wealthy. When the first Motorola DynaTAC 8000x was introduced to the public in 1982, it cost a whopping $3,995! Besides being incredibly expensive compared to today’s smartphones, its battery only lasted for one hour of talk time, it weighed two pounds and its most impressive function was its ability to store 30 contacts. Through the years cellphones continued to get smaller and gain more functions, like texting and voicemail. Today you can buy the latest iPhone, which includes a camera, video recorder, calculator, Internet access â€” and of course, the ability to make a phone call â€” for less than $300 in-contact.
Think back to any movie or television episode you have seen that features security cameras. It seems like only the millionaires living in mansions or spies on a secret mission use this technology. But today, it is an affordable option for home security. Depending on the number of cameras you want, security systems from companies like Lorex can run as low as $300. This affordable price tag means neighbors, property managers and yes, spies, can all enjoy the security tech of today.
Video Game Systems
Video gaming has a less cut and dry decline in price over the years, and is dependent on individual systems and brands. Companies like Game Boy have priced it’s products relatively affordable throughout the years. However, the Atari 2600, when adjusted for inflation, is one of the most expensive mainstream gaming consoles. Released in 1977 it cost $199.99, but adjusted for inflation, this is almost $800! This is hundreds of dollars more than the average gaming system today.
The joys of video games, cellphones, cameras, and once-expensive tech is no longer just available to the rich and famous. So many of our favorite gadgets began production at extremely high costs and have since adjusted to be more affordable. The next time you gasp at the price of a new laptop, keep in mind the improvements technology has made in the last 20 years, then wait a few minutes…