Many of the everyday technology tools we use today would have seemed like a distant dream in the past. We’re now able to communicate instantly, through e-mail or video, and we have access to more information than we’ll ever use. And yet, it’s easy to take all that for granted.
The conveniences these tools provide us are available at a reasonable cost when viewed in historical terms. But what would they have cost us back then?
The most important development has been the personal computer. Even though by the late 1980s, there were nearly 30 million personal computers in use, just 250 were used around the world in 1955.
Companies began to rely on computers more with the evolution from using valves to transistors. This change occurred in the 1950s, when a mainframe computer would have been sold for about $850,000 in today’s money.
A couple of decades later, the personal computer would have cost about $117,000. We at Fueled can see how expensive it would have been to own a personal computer, let alone run a business with many of them.
With cloud based technology giving users the ability to store vast amounts of data, it’s easy to overlook the cost of that storage. The amount of information that can be stored on a single square inch is remarkable and has increased rapidly over time.
In 1956, the disk drive was first introduced. Since then, the amount of information that can be stored increased by a factor of about 50 million. But how much did that hard drive storage cost?
In 1980, the cost per gigabyte was nearly $2,000,000. Considering how much gigabyte storage users have at their disposal today, it’s apparent that many would not be able to afford the data storage they currently have.
But perhaps more interesting is the rate at which that cost has gone down. By the year 1990, the cost per gigabyte had dropped to just $9,000.
Now that smart phones have become an everyday tool for many, it’s become even easier to take for granted the utility it provides at such a reasonable cost.
Considering the hardware and capabilities of smart phones, the cost to produce one in the past would have been significantly higher. So much so that very few people would have actually owned one.
Taking the popular iPhone as an example, it’s been estimated that it would have cost at least $3 million to build a device with the same features and functions.
But the cost increases when flash storage, wireless technology, and processors are taken into account. In addition, software and touchscreen technology, which were not available until recently, would easily add to the overall cost of the iPhone.
Technology has become available at a lower cost. We’ve been able to store vast amounts of data on more portable devices. Tools such as cloud technology and e-mail have enhanced the way people work and communicate. But these everyday tools would have cost a fortune years ago. In today’s market, we get a lot of bang for our buck.
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