Twenty Key Inventions of the Last 25 Years

By: Subhash

Car phones were around in the 1970s, but it wasn't until 1983 that Motorola introduced the first widely available handheld cellphone, the DynaTAC 8000x.

Laptop computers
The 28-pound Compaq Portable - Compaq Computer's very first product - was the first portable IBM-compatible PC on the market.

A Canadian pager company, Research In Motion, shortened attention spans around the world with the launch of the BlackBerry mobile e-mail device in 1999.

Debit cards
Ka-ching! Who needs cash when you've got a debit card? They took off after visa launched its check card in 1995.

Caller ID
Bill collectors are easy to ignore with this invention introduced by BellSouth in 1984 in Orlando.

Americans traded all those hours rewinding video cassettes for hours with the introduction of digital video discs in 1995.

Lithium rechargeable batteries
How many As does it take to power a laptop? Almost no one knows, thanks to the durable rechargeable battery Sony brought to market in 1991.

Walking down the sidewalk hasn't been the same.since November 2001, when Apple introduced its iconic portable digital music player.

Pay at the pump
A gas station chain in Abilene, Texas, invented technology that turned the pump into a quasi-ATM.

Lettuce in a bag
Fresh Express in California, rolled out mixed lettuce greens in a high-tech plastic bag in 1989.

Digital cameras
Kodak unveiled a digital camera for professionals in 1986. Apple followed with the first consumer version eight years later.

Doppler radar
USA became a nation of weather fans as Doppler radar brought up-to-the-minute images to TV starting in 1990.

Flat-panel TVs
RCA pioneered flat-panel technology in the Iate 1960& But it took nearly four decades before consumers got the idea.

Electronic tolls
Throwing quarters in a tollbooth bin became a thing of the past when the North Texas Tollway Authority started its TollTag system in the Dallas area in 1989.

PowerPoint was invented by Forethought. Microsoft bought Forethought in 1987, unveiled its Windows version in 1990 and changed public speaking forever.

Microwavable popcorn
General Mills paved the way with the launch of Act II non-refrigerated microwaveable popcorn in 1984.

High-tech footwear
Plain canvas sneakers got tossed to the back of the closet when Nike launched Air Jordans in 1985, followed by Reebok's The Pump in 1989.

Online stock trading
Investors jettisoned pricey stockbrokers after an Ameritrade predecessor offered online stock trading in 1994.

Big Bertha golf clubs
A World War I cannon inspired one of the biggest golf innovations when Ely Callaway created the oversize, wide-bodied stainless Steel wood he dubbed Big Bertha in 1991.

Disposable contacts
Daily disposables- contacts worn for just a day before they're tossed - arrived in the USA in 1995.

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