12 Key Tech Products of the Past 2 Decades

Walt Mossberg lists most important devices, software
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2013 12:30 PM CST
12 Key Tech Products of the Past 2 Decades
Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an Apple iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Jan. 9, 2007.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Walt Mossberg has been reviewing consumer technology for the Wall Street Journal for 22 years, and now he's signing off—but not before reflecting on the most important gadgets and software in his time with the paper. And a very fruitful period it has been. A timeline of the highlights:

  • 1994: Netscape Navigator: "Every time you go to a Web page, you are seeing the legacy of Netscape in action."
  • 1995: Windows 95 ensured the long dominance of the graphical interface and mouse.
  • 1997: The Palm Pilot was the first popular handheld computer.
  • 1998: Google's search engine was "faster and more accurate" than its predecessors, and "in many ways," it "propelled the entire Web."

  • 2001: The iPod was the first digital media player to reach a broad audience, and it helped Apple's popularity surge.
  • 2004: Facebook "made the Internet into a social medium," and it's now used by more than a billion people.
  • 2006: Twitter offered "a sort of global instant-messaging system," capable of notifying us of events big and small or just dish out opinions.
  • 2007: With the iPhone, we had an iPod, the Internet, and a phone in one device, and its multi-touch capabilities have helped change the way we interact with computers.
  • 2008: Android presented a less-costly mobile experience, and it's now the top smartphone platform.
  • 2010: The iPad is shifting us away from laptops and it's "popular with everyone from kids to CEOs."
Click for Mossberg's full swan song. (More gadget stories.)

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