With exciting new prospects in the digital world we thought we would take a look back at the history of everything digital up to this point. From the principle of modern computing to the recent deployment of 5G, let’s take a look through the last 90 years of digital.

In 1936 Alan Turing came up with the principle of the modern computer.

The first working electromechanical programmable fully automatic digital computer was complete in 1939, made by Konrad Zuse.

The first working transistor was invented in 1947 by John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain, transistors are a vital part in all computers.

In 1950 Alan Turing published a paper which devised a test to see if machines could think, the Turing Test. This is basically the beginning to a long story which morphed into artificial intelligence.

The world’s first commercially available digital computer was available in 1951 and was called the ENIAC.

The first electronic digital watch, the Pulsar, was available in 1972.

In 1981 the first commercially available portable computer, the Osborne 1, was the first of what we would call a laptop, although it looked a bit different to our modern ones.

The Seiko Epson in 1985 was the release of the first “wrist computer”, an early version of a smartwatch.

1988 saw the first virtual reality (VR) experience implemented on a personal computer with the Cyberspace Project at Autodesk.

Tablets came about in 1989, the first being the GRiDPad, released 21 years before the iPad.

In 1992 the world saw the introduction of the first commercially available mobile phone, the Nokia 1011. Technically, the Motorola International 3200 was the first digital mobile but because it was never certified it doesn’t quite make the cut.

1992 also saw the unveiling of the first ever smartphone called the Simon Personal Communicator (by IBM). However, it wasn’t until 1994 that this smartphone was commercially available.

In 1994 DirecTV launched the first commercial digital satellite platform, advancing from cable TV.

Deep Blue beating reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 deserves an honorary mention, being a triumph in computer learning and artificial intelligence.  

The first fully digital camera, the FUJIX DS-1P, with a memory card that could store 10 photos(!) was available in 1998.

NTT DoCoMo launched the first 3G network in 2001.

What we would consider the modern smartphone, the iPhone, was launched in 2007.

In 2011, the next major advancement from Apple came through Siri, the first virtual assistant on a smartphone.

“Alexa play…”, Amazon’s Echo with Alexa becomes the first available smart speaker in 2014.

The end of 2019 saw wide deployment of 5G, the fastest cellular network to date.

With the history of everything digital beginning as recently as the 1930s and the advancements that have taken place over such a short period of time, it bears the question of where digital will go next?

History of everything digital infographic