We have all seen technology come and go. What is interesting however, is finding out how much those everyday gadgets we now take for granted cost when they was first released. Smartphones, Tablets, Computers, Laptops and now smartwatches! With 76% of people across the UK owning a smartphone and 90% of households across the UK owning at least 1 to 3 computer tablets it shows that technology is really taking over.

FIRST SMARTPHONE – IBM Simon Personal Communicator.

Released: 1992 although the term smartphone wasn’t used until 1995.

IBM’s Simon was the first phone to combine the features of a mobile phone and a PDA. It featured an LCD touchscreen measuring 4.5 inches by 1.4 inches and you could use it to receive emails, faxes and pages. It even had a notes section, an address book, a calendar, world clock and an appointment scheduler. Sounds very much like the features we take for granted on today’s smartphones.

Cost then: £699 (equivalent to £1103 today).

Cost now: You can now pick up an Android smartphone with a 13 megapixel camera for £200.

FIRST LAPTOP – Osborne 1.

Released: 1981.

The Osborne 1 has been considered as the first fully portable, fully featured computer. Weighing 11kg and without a hardrive, it relied fully on floppy disks (remember those, they were before the USB). It featured two built-in floppy drives, with floppy disk storage compartments, a detachable full-size keyboard with numeric keypad, and a built-in monochrome monitor.

Cost then: £900 equivalent to £3881

Cost now: You can buy a laptop with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB RAM and 1TB hard drive for £249.

FIRST USB- Trek Technology- Thumb Drive

Released: 2000

Before USB sticks were invented it was very difficult to transfer large amounts of data. Floppy disks were one way but with a limited memory space (1.44 megabytes), they made a simple task quite difficult. USB sticks revolutionised this, and now you can buy them with a huge 128GB of memory, that’s 1000 times more memory than what you could get when they was first released.

Cost then: A 128MB memory stick in 2000 would cost you £23 (£33 in today’s money).

Cost now: You can now buy a 128GB memory stick for £50.


Released: 1989

The Grid Pad has been known as the first ever portable computer tablet aimed at consumer use. It featured a fully supported stylus input on a 10-inch monochrome screen and lasted for 3 hours between charges. The person who created this tablet went on to launch Palm, the creator of Palm Pilot and Palm Print, a software which allows computers to interpret and recognise human writing.

Cost then: £1500 (£3,664 in todays money) definitely a pricey purchase.

Cost now: You can buy a 16GB tablet with a 10 hour battery life for £100.

FIRST SMART WATCH- Seiko Message Watch –

Released: 1995

Having to honour the fact that Pulsar released the first ever digital watch in 1972, the Seiko message watch is the first watch which started to combine lots of features all in one, which evidently could be the beginning of smart watches. This watch combined lots of features such as sending and receiving messages, showing sports scores, weather forecasts and stock prices.

Cost then: £80 (equivalent to £150 now)

Cost now: You can buy Smartwatches which monitor your health, movement, allow you to reply to messages, and make calls as well as access apps and search the internet all for £200.