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Home  /  geekspeak  /  A Brief History of Home Computing

A Brief History of Home Computing

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Anyone that has been around for the past 30 years has no doubt seen some phenomenal changes in home computers. Massive changes have taken place not only in what computers can do but also in the way that they look. I personally can not help but laugh when I see computers from as recently as the 1980s. They just look funny!

It really was not until the 1990s and the development of the Microsoft Windows operating system that computers literally became a household item. There were definitely families that had computers in the home during the 1970s and “80s”. These computers were very bulky and rustic in comparison to today’s sleek, slimline computers and they really didn’t serve much of a purpose comparatively either.

Home computers were introduced to the market in 1977. It is safe to say that at that time, we only had the tiniest glimpse of the potential of home computers, and the ways in which they could be used. In fact, I would go so far as to say, we have still only captured just a tiny glimpse of what is possible with the home computer. 1970s home computers came without monitors but had ports that allowed them to be displayed through the television. Games were played on them and very basic calculations were performed.

During the 1980s, manufacturers saw the potential of merging the sale of personal computers and computer games. Up to that point, they were sold as separate devices. Home computers in the “80s” were mostly used for education, games, and at times, for spreadsheets, and personal tools. Often computers were purchased as kits and needed to be put together before they could be used. In addition to this, they often had no software which meant that anyone that used them had to actually learn to write programs first.

The 1990s ushered in the mass demand and usage of the home computer. The ease-of-use ushered in by Windows software changed home computing forever. Suddenly computers were easy enough to be used by anyone. Microsoft Windows operating System revolutionized the world, literally!

The early 2000s has expanded on the platforms and ideas that began in the “90s”. The fact that computer use became so widespread meant many companies were willing to invest in writing programs and games for home computers. Things have moved at an unbelievable rate since then.

These days, computers are used for everything imaginable and projections for home computer use see the integration of almost every electronic device in the home with the PC. Already the telephone, TV, VCR, radio and cable TV can be part of your home computer.


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