Tech Trends: Then and Now

Pop culture tends to feed on nostalgia, reviving old trends and putting a modern twist on them. But in the world of technology, trends never seem to look at the past for its improvements are always looking forward. It reflects what the society needs and how it will take us to where we should be. In this article, we’ll be reliving some of the tech trends that marked our history and today’s time. Let’s all take a look at where we have been and the road we are now taking.

 

PRODUCT DESIGN

Then: See-Through and Candy-Colored

Tech gadgets before look different from how our devices look now. Products from the 90s such as iMac and beepers featured a translucent, candy-colored facade. The design also showed the inner workings of a machine that jived to the ‘90s feel and the colors of youth spirit during that era.

 

The handy audio devices such as the Discman and the Walkman showcased a much simpler design. Usually, in monochromatic shades and matte in texture, their design reflected the rise of portable devices in its early age. Though still thick and bulky, these devices provided tunes to the everyday commute of the people during the ‘90s.

 

Now: Sleek and Lightweight

Sleek and sharp designs resemble innovation and high quality. The usual shades of black and white are timeless colors. Other hues are also introduced in some technological products due to the millennial influence. Pastel colors are mixed with metallics (e.g., rose gold and champagne) and other bronze hues are now on trend. Devices now also appear much thinner and lightweight. Their compactness and portability are some of the qualities every consumer checks first.

 

Apart from the visual design, we are now also exploring AI in product design. Definitely, our relationship with technology is reaching new heights as we fabricate devices to adapt and learn about their environment. Moving past the leisure aspect of tech products, we have now evolved them to help us solve complex problems.

 

GAMING AND LEISURE

Then: Tamagotchi and Game Boy

Handheld gaming devices such as the Game Boy and Tamagotchi were created with a small LCD screen that displays visuals in 8-bit that entertained every kid of the ’90s. These devices were lightweight enough to be carried around and worked fine for those with small fingers.

 

Now: Augmented and Virtual Reality

From gaming consoles and smartphone games, now this generation is into augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) apps and games. By simply wearing a headset, you will be taken away into a different world. The massive hit of games like Pokémon Go paved way for VR and AR to be recognized and used by different industries.

 

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Then: Personal Digital Assistant

Made popular by Palm in the mid-’90s, the PDA was also known as a handheld PC. This device helped busy people in organizing data and featured applications that were useful for the user’s productivity.

 

Unfortunately, due to the creation of smartphones, PDA has been discontinued in the early 2010s. Though their assisting days are long over, PDA is still one of the precursors of our new devices. With features such as a touchscreen that allowed virtual keyboard and handwriting recognition, online connectivity, and synchronization, PDA truly helped many people of the ’90s be organized and productive during a day’s work.

 

Now: User-Centric Design

People are now more drawn to tech products that align with their values and needs. Human-device interactions are now enhanced by improvements in UI and UX, such as responsive websites, voice search, intuitive interface, videos, and animation, and by the AI revolution.

 

Entrepreneurs see that improving the customer experience is the key to success in digital transformations. Taking advantage of the digital media, they use analytics on blogs and other social media platforms to know the pulse of their customers. And the data is examined, interpreted, and integrated to the UX of a device, website, or app. This way they keep their audience engaged and continuously involved as the use of mobile devices keeps on booming.

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Then: Solar-Powered Small-Scale Devices

In the ’90s, it was first brought to our attention the slow retention of the Earth’s wellbeing. As we created new breakthroughs in the tech world, the advancements took a toll on what nature has given us. In return, technology has developed new ways we can make green energy to give back to nature. And with that, solar-powered devices are created.

 

Solar power gave a much cheaper option for many people. Though people have explored wind power before, the energy coming from the sun seems to be the top low-cost source of renewable energy. This development paved way for solar-powered cars to be possible. Despite the parade of these cars being cut short, the trend of having solar-powered devices still continues to flourish.

 

Now: Green Living

Green living is still a thing many people are trying to achieve in their lives. Back in 2011, the rise of electric cars thrived again and this time, it comes greener. Solar paneled cars are developed by countries like Australia and The Netherlands. In 2013, former US president Barack Obama helped dozens of community buy and install solar and wind power apparatuses to generate their own energy.

 

Renewable energy seems to be the technological trend that is never put to rest. The constant call for it denotes the society’s concern in looking for the Earth’s remedy and restoration. It is not so far-fetched from now to see that our next voyage to the moon will be fueled by green energy.

 

WRAPPING UP

One thing is for sure, trends are always influenced by the society. We may see it the other way around, that trends affect the way society lives, but it is how trends are born and why they are needed. Trends are a good tracker of the status of a society. They may come with a time frame, but as a trend fades, something much greater will certainly arise.

 

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