The First Handheld Electronic Gadgets

Ever wondered what the first handheld gadgets looked like? See for yourself. πŸ™‚

The first Game and Watch

The First Game and Watch
The first game and watch

Ball was the very first Game and Watch game released by Nintendo in April 28, 1980. The game revolves around tossing balls up in the air. The player must catch the balls as they fall down or else the game would be over.

The First Cellphone

The First Cellphone
the very first mobile phone

In 1973, Motorola was the one that made the very first handheld mobile phone. It was a bit bulky and heavy but it was a good start. It paved the way for the cellphone industry that we know today.

The First Walkie Talkie

The First Game and Watch
the first walkie talkie

It seems like everything was big in the past. The very first The first radio receiver/transmitter or Walkie Talkie for short was the Motorola SCR-300 which you see above. It was used primarily in the military. Yep, it comes with a backpack. It cannot be operated without it. How convenient.

The First Portable Computer

The First Portable Computer
The first portable computer

In 1981, the Osborne1 became the first mass-produced microprocessor-based portable computer. It was large and heavy though having only a tiny 5″ CRT monitor. It did have a huge impact in the business world, as professionals dived head on and purchased the product since they were able to take their computer and data with them for the first time. The Osborne was about the size of a portable sewing machine.

The First Camera

The First Camera
The first camera
The origin of the camera dates back to the camera obscura – an optical device that consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, inverted, but with color and perspective preserved. The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a an accurate representation of the image. It wasn’t a handheld device before and most definitely wasn’t electronic, but it was tweaked until it became the camera that we know today.

The First Cellphone with Camera

The First Cellphone with Camera
The first cellphone with camera
It wasn’t common in the 90s to have a camera attached to a phone. These were two separate devices. However, one clever electronics manufacturer based in Kyoto made something that would revolutionize mobile phones – it made a phone with a camera slapped on it. It was named the Kyocera VP-210 Visual Phone. The rest is history.

The First Tablet PC

The First Tablet PC
The First Tablet PC
No, the iPad isn’t the first tablet to come out. But it was Apple who who made the first attempt to mass produce a commercial type tablet in the form of the Apple Newton Messenger Pad. It had a 6 inch screen and weighed 800 grams. The Newton Messenger Pad utilized Apple’s own new Newton OS, which initially used hardware manufactured by Motorola.

The First Handheld Electronic Game

The First Handheld Electronic Game
The First Handheld Electronic Game
Though the Game and Watch by Nintendo is a pretty old gadget, it’s not the first handheld electronic game. The honor goes to Mattel Auto Race which was released in 1976. The visuals were represented by red LED lights and the sound consisted of simple beeps (where’s the fun in that?). Also, the game used only about 512 bytes in memory which is equivalent to 1/2kb.

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5 thoughts on “The First Handheld Electronic Gadgets

  1. These old things are amazing. Everything has to have a start somewhere and this is where it all began for these electronic items. I have to admit that I owned NONE of the above toys, except for a camera, of course. In fact, I was the first one in my area to get a digital camera, back in 1997, and I haven’t gone back to film since.

  2. Nothing like a little nostalgia mixed in with a little, ‘Omg that’s what it looked like back then?” I’ll never get tired of those huge brick cellphones. Oh man, I can’t imagine walking around with one of those back in the day, but you know a lot of rich people did and thought they looked pretty cool. Those early handheld games were the worst but boy, oh, boy did they keep me entertained on long car trips! This is a great article!

  3. My family had those brick-phones in the 90s, or 80s I guess. I remember my wealthy uncle being so cool with it, but I think it was really heavy actually, so carrying it with yourself all the time is kind of a bummer. But the didn’t bend in your pocket for sure!

  4. What about the brick game? I loved playing with those as a kid, the buttons (especially the big attack button) seem to break rather easily, so you have to buy a new one every single time. It was pretty great for its age, lots of games (though sometimes repetitive), and I think it was from the 90s too.

  5. The first walkie talkie made me giggle! The soldier with the equipment on his back is the epitome of patience and fortitude! I remember being embarrassed by my first cell phone back in 2004. It was a slightly bulky design, a few years already at that point, and everyone else I know had newer, smaller models. This list puts things in perspective! πŸ™‚

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