8 iconic gadgets from the past that shaped today's tech

We look back at eight great gadgets that paved the way for the amazing devices and apps we use today

Think about all the gadgets that you use daily: from your smartphone to your gaming console of choice and 4K smart TVs, they all owe their existence to a certain iconic device of the past.

Decades of technological advancement have created some awesome gear that not only were ground-breaking at the time but also changed the course of tech history. Here’s a list of eight iconic gadgets of the past that forever changed the way we work and play.

1. Sony Walkman

Before the iPod or any portable music player, it was hard to imagine that you could listen to music discreetly on the go. Then came the Sony Walkman, the first truly portable music player to hit the mainstream. It was conceived by Sony Co-Chairman Akio Morita, who wanted a player to listen to opera that was more portable than the Sony TC-D5 at the time. The prototype was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara, and was later released to the public in 1979.

It was called the Soundabout in the US and the Stowaway in the UK, but it was the name Walkman, that struck a chord with the public most. After millions of units sold worldwide, the Walkman name is still emblazoned on Sony’s line of MP3 players today. Though the name has gone out of fashion to describe portable music players, no one can deny that the Walkman made it possible for us to listen to music wherever we wanted.

2. Nokia 3210 & 3310

Mobile phone ownership for the masses did not really kick off until the introduction of the Nokia 3210 in 1999. It was the first mobile phone with a fully internal antenna, it made texting popular and it featured the best mobile phone game ever, Snake. A year later Nokia released the Nokia 3310, which was lighter (133g vs 153g) and featured swappable front and rear panels that you could easily customise on your every creative whim — you could even fashion a glittery phone with shiny keyboard panels if you wished. The Nokia 3310 also boasted a week’s worth of battery life and very clear reception. No surprises then, that more than 160 million were sold worldwide.

If you still have a Nokia 3210 or 3310 tucked away somewhere, hold onto it. You’ll never know if you need one to defend yourself against predators or to use when the world is coming to an end (and your high-tech networks fail).