Important events in computer history
Dr. John V. Atanosoff and Clifford Berry design and build the first electronic digital computer. Their machine, the Atanasoff- Berry Computer, or ABC, provides the foundation for advances in electronic digital computers.
Core memory, developed in the early 1950s, provides much larger storage capacity than vacuum tube memory.
The IBM 305 RAMDAC computer is the first to use magnetic disk for external storage. The computer provides storage capacity similar to magnetic tape that was previously used but offers the advantage of semi-random access capabilities.
The number of computers has grown to 18,000. Third generation computers, with their controlling circuitry stored on chips, are introduced. The IBM System/360 computer is the first family of compatible machines, merging science and business platforms.
In a letter to the editor titled, "GO TO Statements Considered Harmful", Dr. Edsger Dijkstra introduces the concept of structured programming, developing standards for constructing computer programs.
Computer Science Corporation (CSC) becomes the first software company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
1975 Altair 8800
The build-it-yourself Altair 8800 was a success beyond any of its designers wildest dreams. Advertised in a couple of computer enthusiast magazines, it eventually sold in the thousands, appealing to both companies and individuals. To keep costs down, the computer worked by flicking various switches and observing LED responses, as opposed to using keyboards and monitors.
1976 Apple I
With Apple I, we were introduced Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the current global phenomenon that is Apple Inc. Created in Wozniak's bedroom, the Apple I was distributed as a circuit board, which needed a case, power switch, power supply, keyboard and video display to actually make it run.
The Apple II followed its predecessor only a year later and displayed the jump in quality and innovation that we have come to expect from Apple. The appearance and technology of this model were huge improvements on the Apple I, and contributed towards it being Apple's breakout success. This particular model came with internal expansion slots, a keyboard, a colour display and a stylish case.
IBM offers Microsoft Corporation founder, Bill Gates, the opportunity to develop the operating system for the soon-to-be announced IBM personal computer. With the development of MS-DOS, Microsoft achieves tremendous growth and success.
The IBM PC is introduced, signalling IBM's entrance into the personal computer marketplace. The IBM PC quickly garners the largest share of the computer market and becomes the personal computer of choice for business.
1982 Commodore 64
The Commodore 64 is still to this day the highest selling PC system of all time, selling an approximate 17 million units around the world. Its huge popularity was based on huge number of commercial software titles that were available to use with it, which included development tools, office applications and games.
1983 Apple Lisa
This was another influential offering from Apple. It was the first PC to use a Graphical User Interface, which allowed people to click on tiny icons and drive the overall experience through images. As a result of this breakthrough, many other PC manufacturers began to alter their production methods, and concentrated far more on the user experience.
Instead of choosing a person for its annual award, TIME magazine names the computer Machine of theYear for 1982, acknowledging the impact of computers on society.
The Intel 486 becomes the world's first 1,000,000 transistor microprocessor. It executes 15,000,000 instructions per second - four times as fast as its predecessor, the 80386 chip.
Kodak announces the first digital SLR (single-lens-reflex) camera. The Kodak DCS 100 is developed mostly for photojournalism purposes and stores the photos and batteries in a separate unit.
Microsoft releases Microsoft Office 3 Professional, the first version of Microsoft Office for the Windows operating system.
Several companies introduce computers using the Pentium processor from Intel. The Pentium chip contains 3.1 million transistors and it capable of performing 112,000,000 instructions per second.
Apple introduces the first digital camera intended for consumers. The Apple QuickTake 100 is connected to home computers using a serial cable.
Amazon is founded and later begins business as an online bookstore. Amazon eventually expands to sell products of all types and facilitates the buying and selling of new and used goods. Today, Amazon employs more than 88,400 people worldwide.
eBay, an online auction website, is founded. Providing an online venue for people to buy and sell goods, it quickly becomes the world's largest online marketplace as it approaches 100 million active users worldwide.
Sun Microsystems launches Java, an object-oriented programming language that allows users to write one program for a variety of computer platforms.
Intel introduces the Pentium II processor with 7.5 million transistors. The new processor, which incorporates MMX technology, processes video, audio and graphics data more efficiently and supports programs such as movie editing, gaming and more.
The first generation of Apple's famous iMac line arrived in 1998. It gave the first indication that they were going to move towards becoming global trendsetters in hardware and design. Its curved edges and see through, coloured plastic made it stand out massively from popular PC's of the day.
Intel introduces the Pentium III processor. This processor succeeds the Pentium II and can process 3-D graphics more quickly. The Pentium III processor contains between 9.5 and 44 million transistors.
Dot-com (Internet based) companies go out of business at a record pace - nearly one per day - as financial investors withhold funding due to the companies' unprofitability.
Shaun Flanning, 19 and his company, Napster, turn the music industry upside down by developing software that allows computer users to swap music files with one another without going through a centralised file server.
Telemedicine uses satellite technology and video conferencing to broadcast consultation and perform distant surgeries. Robots are used for complex and precise tasks.
E-commerce achieves mainstream acceptance. Anual e-commerce sales exceed £60 billion, and Internet advertising expenditure reaches more than £ billion.
Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, is introduced. Aditional wikis begin to appear on the Internet, enabling people to share information in their areas of expertise. Although some might relay on wikis for research purposes, the content is not always verified for accuracy.
Microsoft launches its .NET strategy, which is a new environment for developing and running software applications featuring ease of development of web-based services.
DVD burners begin to replace CD burners (CD-RW). DVDs can store up to eight times as much data as CDs. Uses include storing home movies, music, photos and data backups.
Intel ships its revamped Pentium 4 chip with the 0.13 micron processor and Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology, operating at speeds of 3.06 GHz. This new development eventually will enable processors with a billion transistors to operate at 20GHz.
In an attempt to maintain their current business model of selling songs, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) files more than 250 lawsuits against individual computer users who offer copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks.
Wireless computers and devices, such as keyboards, mouse devices, home networks and wireless Internet access points become commonplace.
Linux, an open source operating system, makes major inroads into the server market as a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Sun Solaris and Unix.
Mozilla releases its first version of the Firefox browser. Firefox provides innovative features that enhance the web browsing experience for users, including tabbed browsing and a search box. Firefox quickly gains popularity and take market share away from Microsofts Internet Explorer.
In 2004 - part 2
USB flash drives become a cost-effective way to transport data and information from one computer to another.
Major retailers begin requiring suppliers to include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or microchips with antennas, which can be as small as one-third of a millimeter across, in the goods they supply.
Apple Computer introduces the sleek iMac G5. The new computers' display device contains the system unit.
Spam, spyware,phishing and pharming take centre stage, along with viruses and other malware, as major nuisances to the 801 million computers worldwide..
Blogging and podcasting become mainstream methods for distributing information via the word wide web.
YouTube, an online community for video sharing, is founded. YouTube includes content such as home videos, film previews and clips from television shows. In November 2006, Google acquires YouTube.
Apple releases the latest version of its popular pocket-sized iPod portable media player. First it played songs, then photos, then podcasts and now up to 150 hours of music videos and television shows on a 2.5" colour display.
Intel introduces its Core 2 Duo processor family. Boasting record-breaking performance while using less power, the family consists of five desktop computer processors and five mobile computer processors. The desktop processors includes 291 million transistors, yet uses 40% less power than the Pentium processor.
IBM produces the fastest supercomputer, Blue Gene/L. It can perform approximately 28 trillion calculations in the time it takes a human eye to blink, or about one-tenth of a second.
Web 2.0, a term coined in 2004, becomes a household term with the increase in popularity of online social networks, wikis and web applications.
Intel introduces its Core 2 Quad processor, a four-core processor made for dual-processor server and desktop computers. The larger number of cores allows for more energy efficient performance and optimises battery performance in laptops.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) providers expand usage to include Wi-Fi phones. The phones enable high-quality service through a Wireless-G network and high-speed Internet connection.
Apple introduces the iPhone and sells 270,000 phones in the first 2 days. iPhoneuses iTouch technology that allows you to make a call by simply tapping a name or number in your address book. In addition, it stores and plays music like an iPod. In this year, Apple also sells its billionth song on iTunes.
In 2007 part 2
Apple releases its Mac OS X version 10.5 "Leopard" operating system, available in desktop and server versions. The system includes a significantly revised desktop, with a semitransparent menu bar and an updated search tool that includes the same visual navigation interface found in iTunes.
Blu-ray disks increase in popularity, overcoming and replacing HD DVD in less than one year. A Blu-ray disk can store approximately 9 hours of high-definition (HD) video on a 50GB disk or approximately 23 hours of standard definition (SD) video.
Wi-Fi hot spots are popular in a variety of locations. People bring their computers and tablets to coffee houses, fast food restaurants or bookstores to access the Internet wirelessly, either for free or for a small charge.
Smartphones become smarter. Smartphones introduced this year include enhanced features such as touch screens with multi-touch, mobile TV, tactile feedback, improved graphics, GPS receivers and better cameras.
Google releases its new browser. Google Chrome uses an entirely unique interface and offers other features such as dynamic tabs, crash control and application shortcuts.
Bill Gates retires from Microsoft, He continues as chairman and advisor on key development projects.
In 2008 part 2
Netflix, an online film rental company, and TiVo, a company manufacturing digital video recorders (DVRs), make Netflix films and television episodes available to stream over high speed broadband connections
Computer manufacturers begin to offer solid-state drives (SSDs) instead of conventional hard disk drive, mostly in laptops. Although SSDs have a lower storage capacity, are more expensive and slightly more susceptible to failure, they are significantly faster.
Intel releases the Core i5 and Core i7 line of processors. These processors offer increased performance for some of the more demanding tasks. Intel also enhances its Core processor family by releasing multi-core processors, designed to increase the number of instructions that can be processed at a given time.
Computers and mobile devices promote fitness by offering games and programs to help users exercise and track their progress. These games and programs also are used to assist with physical rehabilitation.
2010 Apple iPad
The model that launched a thousand tablets. Apple's first foray into the tablet market, it has made a huge impact and has changed the way we use technology forever. The groundbreaking ideas applied to the iPad have only grown their loyal followers further, pushing them to be the most profitable company in the world.
AMD develops a 12-core processor, which contains two 6-core processors, each on an individual chip. Power consumption is similar to that of a 6-core processor but offers reduced clock speed.
Kinect for Xbox 360 changes the way people play video games. Game players now can interact with the game with a series of sensors, as well as a camera, tracking their movements in 3-D.
Hard drive capacity continues to increase at an exponential rate, with the largest hard disks storing more than 3,000GB of 3 Terrabytes of data and information.
Apple releases the iPad, a revolutionary mobile device with a 9.7-inch multi-touch screen. The iPad boasts up to 10 hours of battery life, connects wirelessly to the Internet and is capable of running thousands of apps.
Netbooks offer a smaller, lighter alternative to laptops. Netbooks have screens between seven and ten inches, and are used mostly for browsing the web and communicating online.
E-books and e-book readers explode in popularity. Many novels, textbooks and other publications are available digitally and can be read on an e-book reader, computer or mobile device.
More than 200 types of mobile devices are now using Google Android, an operating system originally designed for mobile devices.
A new generation of browsers is released to support HTML5, enabling webpages to contain more vivid and dynamic content.
In 2011 part 2
Google introduces its Google+ online social network and integrates it across many of its products and services.
Intel introduces Ultrabooks, which are powerful, lightweight alternatives to laptops. Ultrabooks normally weight 2.5 Kg or less, have great performance and battery life and are usually less than one inch thick.
Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Inc. passes away after a long battle with cancer. Jobs is remembered for revolutionising the computer and music industry.
2012 Raspberry Pi
Initially developed for educational purposes, the demand for this pocket sized PC has been astounding. Its cheap price and huge range of capabilities have made it extremely popular, with the discovery that there are a number of 'hacks' that can be activated. This includes turning it into an arcade machine and fully functional media centre.
Microsoft announces the Surface, a tablet designed to compete with Apple's iPad. The Surface has a built-in stand, runs Windows 8 operating system and its apps, and supports a cover that also can serve as a keyboard.
Microsoft releases Windows 8, its newest version of the Windows operating system. Windows 8 boasts a completely redesigned interface and supports touch input.
Apple releases the iPhone 5. The newest iPhone has a four-inch screen, contains a new smaller dock connector and uses Apple's A6 processor.
In 2012 part 2
Google's Android surpasses Apple's iOS as the most popular operating system used on smartphones. Although iPhone still is the best selling smartphone, competing products are gaining market share quickly.
Microsoft releases the newest version of its flagship Microsoft Office suite, Office 2013. Office 365, which uses the familiar Office 2013 interface, also is released, allowing users to use their Microsoft accounts to access Office apps from computers that do not have Office installed.
2013 Falcon Northwest Fragbox
The Fragbox is the latest instalment in desktop development. Built primarily as a gaming computer, it combines mind-boggling graphics with immersive game play and is also semi-portable. This compact gaming PC comes with a built in Blu-ray drive, dual band Wi-Fi and a 3.5GHz processor speed.
Individuals and enterprises increase their focus on green computing. Computer manufacturers not only sell more energy-efficient hardware, they also provide easy ways in which customers can recycle their old computers and devices.
Decreases in storage costs and increases in Internet connection speeds persuade more users to use cloud storage for their data. Cloud storage also provides users with the convenience of accessing their files from almost anywhere.
Solid-State-Drive (SSD) storage is becoming more popular, with storage capacities increasing and prices decreasing.
In 2013 part 2
Many consumers prefer tablets for their mobile computing needs. Tablets provide ultimate portability while still allowing users to access a vast array of apps, as well as access to the Internet and their email messages.
In the future..
Who knows what the future holds in computing?