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frankspin

What gadgets were you buying 10 years ago...



...and how have they changed?

It's been ten years since Engadget first burst onto the tech news scene, and over that time period a lot of exciting gadgets have come and gone. In that same time we have also seen some pretty crazy leaps made in consumer tech. The very first Engadget post is about a 128MB -- yes, MEGABYTE -- memory card. Chances are that same card cost over $100 then, but now you can buy 64GB memory card on sale for as low as $50.

Looking back through some of the other posts from that first year I'm seeing some news on Treos, TiVos, PDAs, bluetooth headsets, MP3 players and yes, even a Real player article. Certainly an interesting trip back in history.

I was in college when the site launched and I don't think I bought one single piece of technology during my time there, due to the whole "broke college kid" thing. I think one piece of consumer tech I bought around 2004 was an external harddrive that came in around a whopping 120GB. Since then drive space has increased ten fold, you can buy consumer ready NAS devices and we're able to store hundreds of gigs in the "cloud."

The one other piece of tech I recall from around 2004 were tablet computers, because a professor in a department I worked for got one as a grant. IIRC, it was a Toshiba or Gateway and only had a screen size of 8 or 9 inches, the thing was super tiny. I don't think I really need to explain what happened with the tablet market.

We have a pretty wide range of users on the site so I figured it would be fun to hear about some of the consumer tech you were into back in 2004 and how it has evolved, or even if it's still around.

PS - that image up there is of the ATI HDTV Wonder. Back in 2004 ATI was making the best TV tuners (remember those?) and made some very popular models. So popular people continued to rely on them up until Ceton FINALLY released their PCI tuner card.

Image courtesy of Anandtech: www.anandtech.com­/show­/1359

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80 replies
TgD

Ohh dear.

2004 was the time I got myself my first cell phone. A Motorola T720 that I am sure didn't have any noteworthy specs. Not even a camera



I was using a Sony Minidisc player for music, right before the iPod drowned the market.



I also had a hand-me-down Palm IIIc but I didn't use it all too much.


Man times have changed.
4 like dislike
mxntony

The T720 had a camera but it came as an attachment. I remember when I got it and realized this, I was so mad!
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TgD

Wow I never even knew there was a camera attachment!
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matthew86

My brother had a T720 phone back then. I was insanely jealous for some reason, but he would never let me so much as touch it.
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PhilipPalermo

Ten years ago... well, nearly 10 years ago, I was about to buy my very first DSLR. It was a thirdhand Canon EOS 300D, aka the Digital Rebel. I was branching out into photography at the newspaper I worked for and bought the used Rebel off our staff photographer. That dependable 6.3MP camera went with me everywhere from ribbon-cutting ceremonies down the street to the sidelines of Seattle Seahawks games.

I've used/owned many (too many, perhaps) camera bodies since then, but the OG Digital Rebel will always have a special place in my heart.
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frankspin

I took a digital photography class in 2004 and someone bought a brand new Digital Rebel shortly after the class started. Those things were tanks and so nice.
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timchoi89

Oh man...10 years ago I was just finishing up middle school....Well, here we go:



I had this for less than a year before my mom decided to send it to Philippines to "convert it to become a tri-band phone"...I never saw it again, it probably went to my cousins. lol

Also, I had a T-Mobile prepaid plan with free incoming texts and outgoing only cost $0.05. Of course, back then no one texted... :(

ecx.images­-amazon.com­/images­/I­/41X3B28XR7L.­_SX300­_...

I played 100s and 100s of hours of FF Tactics Advance while on the bus on my way to school only to later find out that I can never complete the last 5 missions because it has to be played in multiplayer. I didn't know anyone else that had that game nor did I have a link cable. Also, the following school year in high school, I found out my bus driver was my geography teacher and he always made sure to point out my gaming habits on the bus. lol



In 2004, I was probably still playing the first Animal Crossing, Mario Sunshine (so so fun!), and I was probably finishing up Skies of Arcadia. I loved the GameCube!
2 like dislike
LaDeX

Oh you Americans :) I had original N-Gage and 1000 text messages for 10€/month. Everyone texted very much. We've never had to pay for receiving calls/sms.
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SmokemeaKipper

I had no cell phone, but I was rocking a Compaq 3650 iPaq

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ipaqrat

When I got a 3650 back in 2000, I sold my Newton and picked up my blog handle "ipaqrat," which kinda dates me. But hey, snarkiness and cynicism never go out of style. When the iphone came out in 2007, I went right back to Apple because they got convergence right. I do carry a Windows RT slate, though; ironically, it extends Office 2011 on my Mac better than anything on the ipad. iWork is weak tea compared to MS Office Pro.
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MikeNM

I had one of those! Just a few days ago I was thinking about how I should find some hack to make use of that thing.
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SSirica

I had one of these, in fact I just came across it a few weeks ago. I used to use it in my 1982 Vette. The speedometer only went to 85 so there were times I didn't know how fast I was going. There was an optional GPS sleeve you could buy for this that I had set up in the Vette that would show my speed and what not. It was pretty cool tech for the time. I should try and boot mine up one of these days to see if it still works just for giggles.
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isynge

Got my first iPaq in 2001 then refreshed it in 2003 after a theft. Loved them as devices, and distinctly remember a kid on the tram being fascinated that I had a handheld device that I was able to listen to tunes on and make notes. Equally recall people looking at mine and asking if it was also a phone, really presaging where we are now.

Was nothing, for it's day, wrong with Windows CE / Mobile - thinking back it did pretty much what we want our smartphones to do now, just in a very early C21 manner.

My iPaq's still sitting on a shelf in the study, right up there with my Toshiba Satellite Pro 420 CDT as an example of dead technology I can't bring myself to dispose of.
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wireproof

Everyone here is talking about how they remember using all these things. I didn't read every single one of these comments, but am I the only one here who still has and uses PalmOS, Gameboy, and everything else? lol I've been fascinated by older technology my whole life and I still develop for the outdated PalmOS (Codewarrior anyone?). I have all the classic GBA games and a few GBC games as well.
2 like dislike
chrisaroz

I got what I thought at the time was the future of devices - Compaq iPAQ PocketPC 3765. Complete with CF Jacket and WiFi adapter. Good Lord that thing was shiny.
Sooooo shiny.....


2 like dislike
frankspin

It's kind of amazing how far ahead of others Compaq were with their iPaq line. What the hell happened there?
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mechatricity

According to my newegg order history, in 2004 my big ticket items were an XFX 6800nu ($300!), a mobile barton XP-M, and a bunch of other parts for my first build. good times...
1 like dislike
frankspin

One thing an old co-worker and I used to geek out on was talking about defunct PC part companies. Remember VooDoo cards?
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TgD

rest in peace OCZ
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inq1784

Gosh. I had a Sony Erricson t610, which was a big deal because it had (really bad) bluetooth and played poly-phonic midi ringtones you could load up yourself. I also had a 12 inch Powerbook g4 and an iPod 3g (the white one with the buttons along the top. It predated the "clickwheel" but still had the capacitive touch wheel). I also had a Humax Series 2 tivo/dvd burner.

Oh and I had an Xbox. I never used PDA's but I still have a handspring visor in the closet.
1 like dislike
wpmills

Jeez. I was thinking about it and here's the list I have:

O2 Nano PDA and a Sansa e280 mp3 player.

Seems like an age since I even thought about them. Although my son still uses the Sansa player from time to time.
1 like dislike
frankspin

The Sansa e series was a tank. I still have mine that I bought off of Woot in 2004 or 2005. I now run it with Rockbox to give me more media options.
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jpolzner

Tapwave Zodiac.

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phxchristian

I really wanted one of those!
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frankspin

Whoa! I have never seen or heard of this before. This thing looks wild.
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dmark86

Around that time was when I built my first PC. That build included AMDs first dual core consumer chip and performance crown taker, the almighty Athlon 3800x2. It also had an Evga 6800GT, two 250Gb Seagate drives in RAID 0 with no backup and a DFI NF4 motherboard(R.I.P. DFI). Oh the memories!
1 like dislike
ThatGuyOverTher

I was rocking :

a motorola iden i1000


a Xbox

and tech of all tech, an IOMEGA HipZip
1 like dislike
frankspin

HipZip, wow!
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metayoshi

Wow... 2004. I was still in my Nintendo Fanboy period with the GBA and Gamecube, and the DS came out that year as well. I remember going to the LA launch of the DS in Universal Citywalk, and it rained that night.

Since I got into the AP Computer Science class in my high school, I convinced my parents to get a new desktop and we finally upgraded to SBC Yahoo DSL since downloading the 40 MB Java SDK installation file was a pain the the butt on dial up. That sweet new desktop had a 250 GB SATA HDD, cutting edge at the time, a 1280x1024 LCD monitor, and an ATI Radeon x1900 graphics card for those smooth Counter Strike sessions. The cell phone I had was a Samsung flip phone on Verizon. I also remember bringing my Sony portable CD player on the bus to school to listen to music.

Man... good times. Can't wait to look back ten years when it's 2024 to see how much times have changed.
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phxchristian

I had a Sony CLIE NX70V which I still have in a box in my closet and soon after bought a Sony CLIE TH55 thinking it was awesome and thought the iPhone was a little late to the touchscreen game when it first came out. Of course the iPhone was a lot better touchwise with a capacitive digitizer. I was in my second year of college at the time and was rocking an eMachines desktop and an old gateway notebook with Windows Me on it. I think I also got my first cell phone that year, an old nokia with a color screen but very blocky resolution.




1 like dislike
tbalci

I wanted to buy a Clie but somehow I couldn't. I am still amazed that the easiness of the stylus input, ease of use and the designs cannot be matched 10 years later.
Sony is really different.
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longgamma

Well, I was just a poor college kid with no side money in 2004. But I did use, and fell deeply in love with the eMac. Apple was kind enough to donate some eMacs to my college. As a windows user (Win 95, Win 2000, Win ME, Win XP!) the user aesthetics of the mac simply blew my mind away. I remember the beautiful dictionary app, with Garamond font and the 3d graphing software. It was magical - the way windows behaved and the lickable buttons. I really liked the early look of OSX and the current look feels too sterile - but that is change for you.

I bought two iPads and an iPhone 4 with my money after graduating. But I still believe this - macs are greatly designed and OSX is the most intutive OS ever, just that they are way too expensive. I can afford a macbook pro now, but I just cant make myself buy one. that is the premium for exceptional design i guess!

So yeah, still love the emac and have fond memories of installing MPlayer dmgs :)
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rajatojha

That was freaking awesome time.
I bought Treo 650



I also had Compaq iPAQ


Slim PS2


IBM Thinkpad R51


Sony DVD Camera
www.productwiki.com­/upload­/images­/sony­_handycam­_dc...

and some more.
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frankspin

I forgot Sony went through the mini cd phase for cameras and camcorders!
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Mahapralaya

I was transitioning from my SONY DISCMAN to my first iPOD. I had watched my brother struggle with his mac only first gen ipod [img] [/img] in a windows world so I waited for the 4th gen USB native version. I was also obsessed with storing ALL of my music on one device as I had developed quite the collection of mp3s. I sprang for the 40GB version sometime in the summer of '04....still have the damned thing. My only other major tech purchase around that time was about a year later when i copped my Sony Ericsson W800. Still one of the best phones I have ever had. [img] [/img]
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trigaba

10 years ago today, I was stilling using my very first cell phone (which I received in 2003 at the age of 19) and while I don’t remember the exact model, it was basically a cheaper version of the Nokia 5110 (whatever was available for the first family plans of the time).

But my pride and joy… the HanGo Personal Jukebox PJB-100.

[img] [/img]

I dropped every penny I had in high school for one of these beauties, and never regretted it. Simple design, dependable functionality, and most surprisingly, uncanny stability for the time. Kept in a soft case, that thing bounced around on the road, was dropped, and even survived a wreck that my car didn’t, and the drive just kept on ticking. It lasted me for three and a half years, and why did I stop using it? Because it was stolen. Most devastating. But it was always fun to be one of the few people to look at all iPod owners as late adopters.
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frankspin

Oh man, that is such a bummer about it being stolen! I had an iRiver H10 that I was bumming off my girlfriend, now wife, and I adored that thing. 20GB HDD and I loaded Rocbox on it. I eventually had to retire it because it just couldn't hold a charge longer than 30 minutes and the internal drive was just shot.
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trigaba

Nice. I'm sure the drive would have shat out eventually, but a shame I never got to see it.

Oh, I forgot, lest I forget rocking out some serious Soul Reaver 1 action on my Dreamcast. Holla!
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zeamays

Not quite ten years yet, but in August/September 2004 I was anxiously awaiting both the birth of my daughter and the arrival of my iMac G5. Stalking websites for grainy elevator pictures and waking up in the middle of the night to pre-order. Interestingly, I did go into labor the day the iMac arrived...

I was also rocking a 2nd gen iPod that we got on clearance at Target and a cell phone with no camera.
1 like dislike
rulezer

How nostalgic! I turned 15 in 2004 and I don't think there ever was a techier year for me than this one.

That year I got my very first smartphone — the Siemens SX1 running Symbian OS with a 512 MB memory card. I'm still amazed how ahead of its time that device was. There was an app for pretty much anything. And I was able to share internet connection from my PC over bluetooth thanks to which I could IM my friends (when at home, of course) without having to pay for the awful expensive 2G data from my carrier.



In 2004 my parents also bought me my first very own PC with AMD Athlon XP 2800+, 1 GB of RAM, a 120 GB hard drive, and ATI Radeon 9700 if I remember that model correctly. It had this awesome monitor — the Samsung 172x (was the first LCD in our household; my mom still uses it today):



This is the camera I was using — Nikon Coolpix 5700:



Let's not forget this Thomson discman:

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tayfun

The almight Sony-Ericsson T310. With the communicam. As an attachment.

IT HAD AN OPTICAL VIEWFINDER.



By the way, I have a blog and I publish photos from exactly ten years ago today.

Those photos were taken by the T310. Take a look!

10yilonce.tumblr.com
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ncmacasl

My wife & I both had Sidekick II's complete with APP STORE, CLOUD Storage & Backup, Keyboard Shortcuts -- all features that are now in the currrent smartphones. It was very consumer-focused (not business-focused, like Blackberries)

The Swivel-Up screen was killer!!!


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tbalci

(not sure how to make a picture show on this forum)

+1 here.
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dave

Just drop in a URL that ends with .gif, .png, or .jpg!

-Dave
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tbalci

Thank you very much Dave. Actually I did that but did not see the images inline. After your reply I checked the page and everything is in place.

I think embedding images should be covered in the help section. We are at least 3 people in this discussion who couldn't figure out how to do that. Imagine the whole Engadget :)
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groovechicken

Looking back, I see that the only things I bought that year were my first wireless router (the good old silver Netgear B, which is still in service at a friend's house), a 200GB Seagate IDE drive to upgrade my external storage for movie editing, a memory upgrade for my beloved 12" PowerBook G4 (which I still use for importing analog tapes to DV with iMovie 4, and am considering using as my portable writing machine since it still has the best keyboard I have used aside from my Apple Extended II), and a 128MB CompactFlash card for my Sharp Zaurus SL5500 (which I would still use to this day if only I could get WPA support on it).

2004 was a slow year for me since I spent so much money in 2003. :)
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groovechicken


www.engadget.com­/products­/apple­/powerbook­/g4­/12­-in...
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rkevwill

I did like my ibook. Lasted a LONG time. My daughter still uses it, maxed out with more drive and max memory. Getting her a mini for her bday.
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alc5440

That little guy will always hold a special place in my heart. It is by a long shot the best computer I've ever had and when my dad got it for me we were super poor but my dad still somehow managed to scrape together enough money to get it for me for my birthday. I used that little guy for 6 years solid, even after I tripped on the power cord and slung it across my bedroom it still worked great although using it for a year with a broken screen was not fun. I still have it and it still works just like the day I got it.
0 like dislike
groovechicken


www.engadget.com­/products­/sharp­/zaurus­/sl­-5500/
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