Having the latest gadget or piece of tech has become more popular than ever before as iPhones, tablets, gaming PCs and PS5s dominate the modern-day consumer tech landscape, but let’s not forget about the older pieces of kit that were once at the top of everyone’s wish list.
We’ve taken a trip down memory lane, looking at some of the very best old gadgets, games and technology trends that the kids turning 18 this year never got to experience, but that will certainly spark a feeling of nostalgia for many.
We’ve also taken to Reddit to find out which noughties tech moments are our favourites, so cast your vote here to have your say: https://www.reddit.com/r/polls/comments/mhqwf9/which_noughties_tech_moment_was_your_favourite/
1. Snake II – Released in 2000
Although originally designed as a concept in the 70s, the Snake II game was first released onto monochrome phones at the turn of the millennium and was a landmark feature of the Nokia 3310. The simple but effective game, challenging players to control a snake to eat blocks and grow in size within a set area, ballooned in popularity in the early 2000s alongside the growth of smaller mobile handsets. Despite no longer being a must have feature on smartphones, many can still remember spending hours trying to beat their high score.
2. Dial up internet – Released in 1992
Nowadays we’re used to almost instant connections and record download and upload speeds, allowing us to stream virtually anything we want, but back in the 90s when internet access became widespread, households had to endure slow dial up routers to get online. The unmistakable (now iconic) robotic tones of the internet dial up could be heard around the house, as well as putting the landline phone out of commission, for the best part of 15 years until It was phased out in 2007.
3. Motorola Razr mobile phone – Released in 2004
This handset was one of the first of its kind and paved the way for flip phones to explode into the consumer market. It was one of the most sought-after phones in the early 2000s, with its sleek black design proving extremely popular, whilst later versions boasted the most advanced cameras seen in phones at the time. Of course, recent years have seen the Razr making a triumphant return, including the Motorola Razr 5G, but nothing will beat the nostalgic feel of the iconic original.
4. iPod Nano – Released in 2005
Way before we reached the dizzy heights of the iPhone 12, Apple’s iPod Nano took a much more simplistic approach, but was nonetheless a must buy for music lovers in the noughties. With its cutting edge, light weight design, brought out in several different colours across a staggering seven generations, iPod Nanos were something virtually everyone had across a booming 10-year period.
5. Windows computer games – Released in 1998
Video gaming is now one of the biggest industries in the world, but before the likes of Call of Duty and VR gaming, many PC owners were kept entertained by the pre-installed games packages provided by Microsoft. Whether you were a pinball wizard or a master of spider solitaire, these modest games kept the older generation entertained for hours until replaced by bigger and better things in 2012.
6. Sony Ericsson Walkman phone – Released in 2005
Being able to carry your full back catalogue of tunes in your pocket is commonplace now, but Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phone was one of the best models to marry up music playing capabilities with a slick handset and boomed in popularity prior to 2010. It was actually the first mobile phone to feature a flight mode function, allowing consumers to take their music on holiday.
7. MSN Messenger – Released in 1999
Anyone who went to high school through the early 2000s will remember getting home and logging straight on to their mum and dad’s computer (on the dial up internet) to spend hours on MSN messenger chatting to their mates. Being able to dress up your display name with emojis and bright colours was a staple of the MSN Messenger world, which was at the peak of its powers for 15 years. Do you remember your display name?
8. Blackberry Messenger (BBM) – Released in 2005
BBM rose to prominence in the early 2000s as a staple and unique feature of every Blackberry handset, making communication between Blackberry owners incredibly easy. Blackberry Messenger was so popular at one stage the smartphone camps were split between iPhone and Blackberry, largely for this feature. Although it shut down officially in 2013, adults who grew up in that era will look back on BBM fondly.
9. Bebo - Released in 2005
Social media platforms are one of the most powerful communications tools around, with billions of people connecting with each other across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name a few. Wind the clocks back 13 years to 2008, Bebo was arguably the leading social media platform, with the blog-based website allowing users to display their personality through uploading photos and videos to their page.
10. MySpace - Released in 2003
In a similar vein to Bebo, MySpace connected people online through personalised pages dedicated to each user, which you could design and decorate to your taste and believe it or not was the biggest social media platform in the world between 2005-2008 and who could forget everyone’s mutual friend, Tom? Unlike Bebo, Myspace offered a music feature, where unknown artists could upload their material, as well as Myspace TV.
11. Piczo – Released in 2004
As the final part of the three initial social media giants, Piczo was a blogging website aimed at teenagers where you could design your own webpage about yourself, largely through the use of pictures and photos. Although there was no option to communicate with people directly, users were able to flex their creative muscles, tinkering their page to suit their style and reflect their interests, making the platform massively popular in the mid 2000s.
12. Bounce on Nokia – Released in 2001
A game that many will remember alongside Snake II was Bounce, which was available on early Nokia handsets. The 2D side scrolling adventure game where you guided a red ball across obstacles and traversed numerous dangers was incredibly popular in the early noughties and was a favourite feature on mobiles before flicking through Instagram was a thing.
13. Portable DVD players – Released in 1998
Before everyone streamed TV and film on their smartphones and tablets, the old-fashioned DVDs were a cornerstone of the entertainment industry and being able to watch them on the go, be that in the car or on public transport, a portable player was seen as a huge leap forward in technology at the time. Who could forget people carrying the often bulky, players around with screen quality that would be embarrassing compared to the high-resolution screens on phones and laptops these days, but in 2005, owning one was a real luxury.
14. Poly and monophonic ringtones, and purchasing jingles from the TV – Released in 2002
Custom ringtones have faded in popularity since the rise of smartphones, but back in the day being able to download or compose the ringtone version of your favourite song was a highly sought after feature. The business of ringtones became so big that the Billboard’s Ringtone of the Year award existed between 2004-2006.
A year later in 2003, phone users had the option to download catchy jingles from the TV via Teletext – which in itself is a distant memory.
15. Sending files via Bluetooth and Infrared – Released in 2000/2001
Way before the days of airdropping, WhatsApping and Facebook messaging, people relied on Bluetooth or Infrared technology to transfer files.
Bluetooth was first introduced as a feature on mobile phones in 2000 but became more popular in the early 2000s as the efficiency became quicker. However, many will remember the process of sitting close by to establish a connection, or holding your handsets together, before waiting what felt like an eternity to send someone a new song of picture.
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