by January 3, 2012 0 comments


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Mouse was introduced by Douglas Engelbart and Bill English at Stanford Research Institute in 1963. The device was named “mouse” since it had a wire at the rear, which looked like a tail. It used two wheels placed perpendicular to each other. Later in 1972, Bill English came with a ball mouse. With time, this ball-mouse became obsolete because of the laser and optical mouse. You no longer require a smooth surface to run them and the wire which gave mouse its name, has also been removed because of Bluetooth technology.


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Single chip microprocessor was introduced by Intel in 1971, called Intel 4004. Before this, few hundreds of transistors were used and placed on a circuit board and then few number of these boards were used a processor. It was a 4-bit processor which actually revolutionized the embedding system. Microprocessor increased the reliability as the design was simplified and there were few electrical connections. Then in 1972, Intel came up with the world’s first 8-bit processor Intel 8008. But the Intel 8080, introduced in 1974, became the integral part of personal computer and was used in MITS Altair 8800 computer and machines running CP/M operating system. In 1976, Intel introduced 16-bit 8086 processor which was later used to devise 8088 by IBM for first PC. Major breakthrough can be dedicated to Pentium which was released in 1993, which had a speed of 60 MHz and could process data like images, handwriting, voice etc. In 2006 Intel came up with Core processor, which has a speed of 1.6 GHz and consist of multiple cores.


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Before microchips memory was in the form of transistor, tubes etc. But then came the static RAM, developed in 1969 by Intel. Later, Honeywell introduced the first dynamic RAM 1102 but that failed, so they came up with 1103. It was said to be the largest selling chip during early 70’s. It was said to be the turning point in the history of integrated chips, since for the first time a fairly good amount of information could be stored on a single chip.


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Lisa was the Apple’s first machine with GUI. It was considered to be an advanced system at that time because of the features like multitasking, support upto 2 MB RAM, high resolution display etc. Originally Lisa used Motorola CPU at 5MHz clock rate and priced at $9,995 was aimed at businesses. In 1984 Lisa 2 was introduced and Apple offered a free upgrade for Lisa 1 users by swapping the 5.25 inch double-sided floppy drive with the 3.5 inch drive. Later Macintosh was introduced on the line of Lisa. Under Steve Jobs’s leadership Apple launched first Macintosh in January, 1984. Its immediate success can probably be attributed to its feature like mouse and GUI. This 8MHz machine incorporated the 9” monitor and originally sold for $2,495.


Webcam was introduced in 1991 in Cambridge University Computer Science Department and was known as CoffeeCam. Since this camera could be used over the Internet or web, it was later called WebCam. The popularity of the webcam is based on the fact that they are low in cost and are portable and the cheapest way for video calling. Today webcams are widely used for video calling, video conferencing and surveillance. It also helps people who are hard of hearing in communicating through sign languages. Apart from these features webcam can be used for gesture control.


USB was introduced in January 1996. The idea was to standardize the connectivity of the devices. Also these devices were not plug-and-play devices. It was actually the brain child of seven different companies-Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Compaq, Nortel, DEC and NEC. The data transfer rate was also high as compared to other ports. For USB 1.0 it was 1.5 Mb/s, referred to as low speed, and 12 Mb/s as full speed. Later in April 2000, USB 2.0 was released with a maximum high-speed data transfer of 480 Mb/s. Now in 2008 USB 3.0 was also launched with a maximum transfer rate of 5 Gb/s. There is no doubt that USB has changed the way we connect our devices to computer.


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The invention that led to the computer keyboard was typewriter, patented by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868. When it was first introduced, the keyboard (in typewriter) had characters arranged alphabetically but it led to jam on pressing the neighboring key in succession. This led to the arrival of QWERTY keyboard layout. When introduced in computers, same QWERTY layout was followed with certain addition keys like arrow keys and function keys. In addition to this a separate numeric keypad is also introduced with other keys like Home, Delete, Page Up, Page Down etc. After that the keyboard has gone through various changes. Wireless keyboards, multimedia keyboards were also introduced.


The first computer monitor used CRT’s which made the monitor large in size. These monitors used to be monochrome with poor video quality. Later IBM introduced graphic adapter 1981 for color display which actually displayed four colors. But LCD monitor had a great impact on this market. With the advent of LCD in monitor, the size and weight of the monitor decreased and clarity increased but because of its cost it was restricted to laptops. CRT was still popular among general public because of their wider view angle and the low cost but as the price of LCDs decreased they became favorite and slowly started replacing CRT. Though today LED is replacing the plasma and LCD screen since it has more sharpness and clarity but because of its cost it is still not the highest selling display unit.


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The unavailability of smart digital music player encouraged Apple to come out with its own music player-iPod. iPod was first introduced in October, 2001 with a 5 GB hard drive. Though the iPod software was not completely in-house, its design and interface was developed under the guidance of Steve Jobs. Running on iOS, iPod had an impact on the digital music market. It proved to be a threat to FM and other devices, since you could store thousands of song on a single device and could listen to them anywhere and without any advertisement in between. Apple launched iTunes Store in 2003, which was a media store accessed by Apple devices like iPod to download music and videos. Apple also made sure that users would not be able to play and download music files on iPod from rival music stores like Napster, MSN music or Microsoft’ WMA file.


Apple unveiled the iPhone on January, 2007. Though it was not the first touch phone in the market but the touch quality was incomparable. With a multi-touch screen and a virtual keyboard, it revolutionized the smartphone market. Two initial iPhone models did not have the video recording but with iPhone 3GS, launched in June 2009, video recording option was also added. With 4GS launched in October 2011, Apple again dominated the market with a phone full of features like 8 MP camera, 1GHz Dual Core Apple A5, 512 DRAM and much talked about voice assistance SIRI.


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According to Apple, 2 million iPads were sold in less than 60 days of its launch in April 2010. Primarily iPad was introduced as consumer device, ideal for browsing, playing games, sending emails, etc. But slowly it established itself in the business domain also. From being a platform to run the CRM, ERP like apps to being the client machine for VDI solution, iPad is set to becom an integral part for businesses. iPad took the tablet market by storm or rather established the market itself. Even after losing the battle with Samsung over design issue it is still the tablet market bellwether.

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