A history of dedicated voice technology devices, part 3

If you owned a tape recording device in the 1980’s or 90’s then you probably also had either a little suit case or plastic file drawer to store all your cassettes in.

Sure you can put more information on a tape or floppy disc than a sheet of paper but they are awkward to store and very susceptible to damage. Remember how many times you accidentally broke a cassette case and how annoying it was to store the broken ones after you did? Or when your floppy disc seize up and a new type Frisbee was instantly born?

Wham wasn’t just a pop music sensation, it was also the sound you made when you tried to fix either your new personal computer or your old television by smacking it on the side. Was this sound the birth of technology convergence?

Look at the list below and you can already see the roots of technology convergence.


Personal Computers start to pop up on desks in offices around the world
Fax machines replace clunky Telex machines and become the new norm
The Pager, Mobile Phone and Camcorder1 introduce the concept of digital portability
When industry giant Philips released the Voice System 4000 digital dictation system, we clearly saw the beginning of innovations between different technological systems forming new possibilities.



Innovations where pushed further and further to practical portability and into the hands of professionals with products like the Philips SpeechPad – the first mobile digital dictation device
SpeechMike – the first digital dictation microphone with PC navigation is another great example of essentially combining a microphone, a trackball and a keyboard all to serve the needs of the high calibre professional.
The SpeechMike product family is still the number 1 product of its class twenty years later.



Google was founded and reminded the world that it wasn’t the technology that mattered most, it was the content. Storage could be anywhere as long as we had access to it.
DVR – Digital Video Recorder
Along with innovations in hard disk drive now shipping in the gigabyte capacity range, DVR lead a shift in our thinking from storing on removable media to permanent media making floppy discs obsolete virtually overnightInterestingly, even though floppy discs are gone, Philips still produces over a million tapes a year even to this day.


The millennium may have ended with faster, better and more convenient ways to store and retrieve data but things still could be improved. From rewinding cassettes by spinning it on a pencil to the fear of a post Y2K apocalyptic world meltdown, we pushed ahead.
Next, find out what one man gave the world for $1 a year in part 4 here!

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1. http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/8-technologies-to-thank-the-1980s-for-635764%5D

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