Technology 1996: What we
had and hadn’t? A list of 50 things
Ahmed, ICT Journalist and Blog writer
10 years can really make so much difference! In 1996, no
body knew about blogging and there was no social bookmaking
site too. Mobile phone was in its infancy and was limited to
a small number of countries, at the hands of a small number
of rich people. PCs were too slow compared to today with
primitive softwares that we don’t use anymore. The list can
go for a long time.
After doing some search, I have tried to compile list of the
things we had or hadn't in 1996.
1. PC users did not have even Pentium II in 1996 (Pentium II
came in 1997).
2. Celeron processors were a thing of the future.
3. PC market was very small and was mainly limited to some
rich countries. So, Intel-AMD dual did not attract that much
4. To many people, computer was merely a good typing
5. 16 MB RAM was a big deal.
6. 200 MHz P6 was released by Intel and it was a great thing
7. Apple was sinking and few people could predict that Apple
would make such a great comeback after few years.
8. CD-RW was announced. DVD was knocking on the door and
came in the next year.
9. Palm Pilot hit the market for the consumers- a big
milestone for the technology industry.
10. Digital camera was digital but not affordable.
11. Monochrome monitor (display) was the norm for PC. Did
you have a color monitor?
12. LCD monitor was like a science fiction.
13. Sub $1,000 computers were emerging as a cool thing.
14. Microsoft launched IntelliMouse in 1996.
1. Java programming language started to catch attention of
the technology world as a platform independent language.
2. Windows 95 was considered to be a cool thing. So cool,
that 1 million copies were purchased by users in four days.
3. Microsoft's Office 97 was published in December 2006. It
was published in a CD ROM but also 'on a set of 45 3˝-inch
4. In 1996, there was no MP3 format. Life was really dull
for most PC users.
5. According to Wikipedia, there was no major virus attack
in 1996. Strange, isn't it?
6. Macromedia Flash 1.0 was introduced. Would you like to
work with it now?
7. Microsoft released DirectX 2.0 in 1996 and it is a
milestone in computer gaming industry.
8. Microsoft also released Windows CE.
9. Bill Gates has just been listed by Forbes in 1995 as the
richest man in the world. In 1996, he was not a household
name like today.
1. Internet did not exists in many countries in the world.
2. Broadband! What is broadband? I don't know how many
people back in 1996 thought that after 10 years they will
watch live football matches.
3. Launched in 1995, Amazon.com started to catch attention.
4. Netgear came into existence.
5. Google was born in 1996 but hardly anyone knew about it
outside of Stanford.
6. Web page design was like a nightmare in the absence of
easy softwares and very few people could do it.
7. Hotmail was launched in 1996.
8. New York Times started its own website. It was a big deal
that time as very few newspapers bothered to bear the
expense of having a website and publishing their own
materials in it.
9. eBay was there in 1996 but did buy or sell anything? Did
you even know that it existed?
10. Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 3 on August 1996.
In 1996, Microsoft had only 20% of the browser market share.
11. MSNBC was launched jointly by Microsoft and NBC.
14. Imagine a life without blogs.
Computer and Video Games
1. Pokémon was officially released in February 1996. It is
one of the most successful games of all time.
2. Nintendo 64 was born and became popular.
3. Have you played FIFA 97 in 1996?
4. "Deep Blue" created media storm by playing with world
chess champion Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue lost in 1996 but
then won in 1997. I often feel that Deep Blue is neglected
in the history of IT.
5. Quake still sends shockwaves in the heart of many gamers.
6. The House of the Dead is still not dead.
Mobile Phone and Wireless Technology
1. Many countries in the world did not have mobile phone.
2. SMS was theoretically there but 99% users did not find it
to be useful. In fact, according to one statistics, in 1995
'on average only 0.4 messages per GSM customer per month'.
3. MMS was like a science fiction.
4. WIFI, WIMax- these things existed in the dream of
5. No Bluetooth technology.
6. Cell phones contained only melody. There was no ring tone
7. Cell phone sets were too heavy and too expensive.