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How Much the Most Iconic Technology in History Would Cost Today
June 4, 2021
There have been many gadgets and technological devices created through the years that could be classified as iconic. From the original Victrola phonograph of 1906 to the comically large Motorola DynaTAC 8000x cellular phone of 1984, these early technologies shaped the new tech gadgets of today, and many are still considered to be among the greatest inventions of all time.
The HP research team looked at some of the most influential technologies in history and researched how much they would cost in today’s dollars.
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The Cost of Iconic Technology in Today’s Dollars
While all of the electronic gadgets on this list are memorable, this is how much a few of the most important inventions would cost today, adjusted for inflation:
Cost in Today’s Dollars
Commodore 64 computer
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x phone
Nintendo Entertainment System
HP DeskJet printer
The Victrola phonograph is one of the most iconic inventions in the history of technology. These “talking machines” included a turntable and a horn to amplify the sound. While the traditional tabletop model cost $15 at the time, the company also produced many different sizes and designs of cabinets, including a Chippendale cabinet that cost $600, which would be more than $17,000 today.
The Atari 2600 is one of the most iconic video game systems in history. The system featured memorable games like Centipede, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders. It was the dominant game system in 1982 and sold an estimated 30 million units by the time production ended in 1992.
The Walkman was a portable cassette player created by Sony in 1979. Its compact size and ability to use headphones for privacy made it an instant hit. Its popularity was further propelled due to its ease of use during exercising once the aerobics craze hit in the early 1980s. By the time production stopped in 2010, about 200 million cassette Walkman units had been produced.
The Commodore 64 holds the world record as the best-selling single computer model of all time, with estimates of 12.5–17 million computers sold. It dominated the personal computer market through much of the 1980s and contained 20 KB of ROM.
The world’s first portable cellular phone was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x. It took about ten hours to fully charge and allowed up to 30 minutes of talk time. Even though it looks bulky by our standards today, it was revolutionary at the time for its portability.
Next came the Nintendo Entertainment System, often abbreviated as the NES. It featured some of the most groundbreaking video games in history, including Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Metroid. The system was the beginning of a series of successful video game consoles manufactured by Nintendo.
HP was one of the original producers of inkjet printers, and the DeskJet was one of the most popular models when it was released in the late 1980s. The original could print two pages per minute and 300 dots per inch. The DeskJet (in its most recent iteration) is still a popular printer today.
One of the greatest gadgets ever is undoubtedly Apple’s iPod. The 1st-generation model came in both 5 and 10 GB sizes. While there were many additional models manufactured through the years (like the Mini, Nano, and Shuffle), the iPod Touch is the only one still sold today.
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