Special Report

Gadgets From the 90s No One Uses Anymore

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1. Pager

Before cell phones went mainstream, people used pagers, also called “beepers,” when they needed to reach someone right away. If you have ever watched a medical drama, you’ve seen a doctor being paged, checking the mini radio frequency device, and suddenly running away. A call or an email is forwarded to the pager; a message comes in with a number to call. Although hardly used anymore, pagers remain one of the most reliable forms of communication available, and are still widely used by doctors. There is no delay in delivery, the network doesn’t get overloaded, and there are no dead zones.

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2. Walkman

Remember when rewinding and fast forwarding took longer than an instant? Walkman players were the thing in portable music, selling 400 millions devices, way before the iPod . (Kids these days can’t handle them at all; they find them hard to operate.) Cassette tapes, though certainly not as popular as during their heyday in the last century, are not dead. For nostalgic or artistic reasons, some people prefer them over downloads.

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3. MP3 Player

MP3 means MPEG Audio Layer III. It simply is an audio compression device that makes a music file small enough to fit in the device without sacrificing sound quality. It took a few years for the device to take off. Invented in the early 1990s, it became very popular around 1997. It was smaller than a Walkman, and lighter, too. The music device and format is now obsolete, replaced by the cell phone. Even the MP3’s creators declared it dead in 2017.

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4. Personal Digital Assistant

Before there were apps to remind you of tasks and to manage your days — as well as apps to organize all other apps you have downloaded on your phone — there were PDAs. These handheld PCs or Palms, as PDAs were also known, had it all — WiFi, pen-based keyboards, GPS antennas, even voice recognition. They could even send a fax.

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5. Digital Recorder

Digital recorders became very popular in late 1990s. They were one of the first products of the digital computer age. They were small, compact, light, fast, and had lots of memory. Some could even record for as long as 10 hours. They were better than cassettes because the sound quality was higher, and the audio could be reproduced without losing quality. Also, when audio is stored in a digital format, it can be enhanced, background noise can be removed, and tone is easier to control . All you needed was a USB plug to transfer the files to a computer.