Computers have evolved and advanced significantly over the decades since they originated. Many years ago, in their most rudimentary form, computers were very large and slow. Gradually, computers have become smaller and faster, enabling people to use them virtually anywhere. New computer technology has enabled more advanced business tasks as well. For example, as contact lists have grown, a professional can now use a business email list to reach more potential customers. Learn more about how computers have evolved and created a more interconnected world.

  • 1937: George Stibitz, a Bell Laboratories scientist, originated the use of relays as a demonstration adder. Stibitz called this circuit a "Model K" adder because he created it at home on a kitchen table.
  • 1939: Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded Hewlett-Packard in a rented garage in Palo Alto, California. The garage was the location of research, development, and manufacturing for the first products produced by the new company.
  • 1941: Konrad Zuse, a German engineer, designed the Z3 computer. This computer was capable of performing floating point binary math.
  • 1944: An Austrian engineer named Curt Herzstark spent his time at the Buchenwald concentration camp working on preliminary designs of a four-function calculator. After his release, he moved forward with building the calculator.
  • 1948: Researchers with the University of Manchester developed the "Manchester Baby," which was a machine designed to test memory technology. The researchers wrote and ran the first computer program on the Manchester Baby.
  • 1950: Remington-Rand built the ERA 1101, one of the world's first commercially produced computers. This system held 1 million bits on an internal magnetic drum.
  • 1951: The UNIVAC 1 began attracting the attention of the public. This computer weighed 29,000 pounds, and it contained 5,200 vacuum tubes.
  • 1954: IBM began selling its "Defense Calculator" to some corporate entities, such as aircraft companies and research laboratories. The release of this system was the beginning of IBM's involvement in the computer market.
  • 1957: MIT researchers succeeded in building a programmable computer containing transistors. This computer was designed for general purposes.
  • 1958: The SAGE system connected 23 separate computer sites throughout the United States and Canada. The purpose of SAGE was to detect incoming Soviet missiles.
  • 1961: Transistorized computers were designed that were capable of ongoing calculations of flight positioning. These Minuteman I missile guidance systems were highly advanced for the time.
  • 1962: The Atlas computer was brought online. This computer was fast, and it was the first system to utilize virtual memory that was connected with the main memory of the computer.
  • 1964: IBM released five different System/360 models with varying performance capabilities. IBM targeted scientific and business customers with these computers.
  • 1965: The Olivetti Programma 101 went on the market. This calculator could perform basic mathematical processes as well as the calculation of square roots.
  • 1968: Experts in the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory designed the Apollo Guidance Computer. This new system was significantly smaller, only weighing 70 pounds.
  • 1971: Intel's 4004 microprocessor was the first invention of its kind. The 4004 retailed for $200.
  • 1976: The Cray-1 was the speediest computer of its time. Manufacturing these computers was anything but fast, though: Assembly of every computer took a whole year.
  • 1976: Steve Wozniak was instrumental in the design and release of the Apple-1 single-board computer. Only about 200 machines were sold.
  • 1977: The Apple-II was released to the public. Between the years 1977 and 1993, Apple sold millions of these computers.
  • 1977: Tandy produced the very first desktop computer. Radio Shack sold 10,000 of these systems that appealed to novice users.
  • 1979: Atari released two gaming microcomputers, the Model 400 and the Model 800. These computers were in direct competition with the Apple-II computer.
  • 1981: IBM released the very first IBM PC to the public. These computers utilized the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system.
  • 1982: Commodore released its C64 computer to the public. This computer system featured 64 KB of RAM and graphics that featured cutting-edge technology.
  • 1983: Apple moved forward with the incorporation of a graphical user interface in its Lisa computer. This technology was an important achievement, setting the bar for new advances in personal computing.
  • 1984: Apple used a 1984 Super Bowl commercial to unveil the Macintosh computer. The Macintosh was the first computer to utilize a mouse.
  • 1986: Compaq was the first to launch a computer with an Intel 80386 chip in it. The Deskpro 386 had a 32-bit microprocessor.
  • 1988: Steve Jobs releases the NeXT Cube. This computer had 8 MB of RAM and a magneto-optical disk drive.
  • 1991: Apple redesigned its portable computers and launched the PowerBook. Three different models offered various features.
  • 1993: Hand-held computers took a step forward with the release of Apple's Newton. This device was called a personal data assistant, or PDA.
  • 1993: Intel released the Pentium microprocessor, which was the fifth generation of microprocessors. Computer programs were able to run faster with this hardware.
  • 1996: The Palm Pilot entered the scene as a new PDA with innovative abilities. Consumers were able to connect the Palm Pilot to a computer to synchronize the separate systems.
  • 1996: Sony's Vaio was a new line of computers that offered a new three-dimensional interface. Sony discontinued the Vaio in 2014.
  • 2000: A Japanese company introduced the first camera phone. This camera's resolution was 0.11 megapixels.
  • 2002: The Japanese government created the Earth Simulator, which was a supercomputer. This computer reigned as the world's fastest computer between 2002 and 2004.
  • 2005: The Chinese company Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business. The main reason for the purchase was to get access to the ThinkPad computer line.
  • 2007: Amazon released the Kindle, a new electronic reading system. The design featured an SD card slot for storage expansion.
  • 2007: Apple introduced the iPhone to the world. This cell phone offered multiple features, such as Internet browsing, music, and a phone.
  • 2008: The MacBook Air hit stores, featuring many new capabilities. Apple succeeded in reducing the overall size of the unit by making the hard drive smaller.
  • 2010: Apple's Retina Display features advanced graphics and display technology. Retina Display involves a pixel density that is higher than the eye's ability to pick out individual pixels.
  • 2010: Apple released the first iPad. This mobile device offered a larger screen without phone capabilities.
  • 2012: Raspberry Pi launched a computer the size of a credit card. This tiny computer weighed in at 45 grams.
  • 2015: Apple reduced its computer size even further with the launch of the Apple Watch. This device is compatible with both iPhones and MacBooks.

Added by Gary Taylor