Societies need to actively shape technology. Technologies clothe, feed, and provide shelter for use; entertain, transport, and heal us; and they provide the basis of wealth and leisure. All of our lives are entwined with technology, whether it’s large technical systems or simple tools.
In 1999, 4.1% of humans used the Internet, which was considerably more users than the years before. This year saw several revolutionary inventions, from the robotic pet dog to the first BlackBerry phone.
Advancements of the Technology in 1999
What made 1999 special? Stay with us as we explore the most critical events in the technology timeline in 1999.
The First Camera Phone
The first commercial camera phone was released in Japan in 1999. The model of the phone was the Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210. The phone was the same size as any mobile phone, but it came equipped with a two-inch LCD screen and a small built-in camera.
The phone had the capacity to store up to 20 JPEG images. VP-210 also transmitted and received images at a rate of approximately two frames per second.
The phone cost 40,000 yen, or $325.
Release of The Matrix
The Matrix was released in 1999, and it had a huge impact on the world. This movie challenged audiences with deep themes of philosophy and the role of technology in our world. The Matrix bent the rules of reality and pioneered a new technology that produced visuals that blew the viewer’s minds.
The Melissa Virus
The Melissa virus was a crime that happened in 1999 that foreshadowed modern threats.
The virus was a mass-mailing macro virus that targeted Outlook and Microsoft Word-based systems and infected computers through Email. The Virus was released by programmer David L. Smith. Smith was arrested the same year and accused of causing $80 million worth of damages.
The Melissa virus spread like wildfire on the Internet, and it was considered to be the fastest spreading virus at the time. This awakened humans to the dangers of online viruses and the damage they can cause.
The First BlackBerry Phone
BlackBerry 850 was the first device to carry the BlackBerry name. The phone had an alarm, a calculator, task lists, address books, calendars, emails, and the capability to send messages.
The device was marketed as a two-way pager that offered major advantages, including lightweight, higher performance, wearable size, optimized usability, and extended functionality.
The First Consumer Bluetooth Device
In 1999, the first consumer Bluetooth device was introduced. Ericsson T36 was a hands-free mobile headset. COMDEX awarded this device the “Best of show Technology Award.”
Introduction of Napster
Napster was created by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning in 1999. It was a pioneering file-sharing software that emphasized sharing of digital audio files.
This software searched your hard drive, listed all the MP3 music files in it, and allowed you to share the files with anyone else who was using the software.
For the first time, music was available to everyone in an instant and without any cost.
However, as the company grew famous, there were some legal issues about copyright infringement, and Napster was shut down.
Release of Capterra
Captera is a free online marketplace vendor serving as an agent between technology vendors and buyers within the software industry.
The company was founded by Rakesh Chilakapati and Michael Ortner in 1999. The company utilized a pay-per-click model.
The First Major Webcast
The first major webcast was Victoria’s Secret online fashion show which attracted approximately 1.5 million viewers from around the world. This was a spectacle that lasted 21 minutes and featured supermodels like Tyra Banks and Stephanie Seymour that flaunted the apparel down the runway.
However, the website lacked a sufficient number of servers that could handle the sudden spike in traffic, which left a large number of potential viewers unable to see the show.
Alibaba Was Founded
Alibaba.com, also known as Alibaba Group and Alibaba Group Holding Limited, is a company that specializes in retail, e-commerce, technology, and the Internet.
The company was founded by Jack Ma, a former school teacher, with 17 students and friends in his apartment in Hangzhou.
The Robotic Pet Dog
In 1999 Sony designed the AIBO, an Artificial Intelligence robotic dog.
They are considered the rarest model of Sony’s series of robotic dogs since there was a limited production of 2,000 for the USA and 3,000 for Japan. AIBO was available for purchase on the Internet. However, it was sold out 20 minutes after its launch. Initially, it cost $2,5000. T
The robotic dog looked like a beagle. It walked around, responded to commands, played with toys, interacted with those around it, and occasionally misbehaved. AIBO really did mimic a dog’s behavior.
The dog was designed to learn through interacting with other AIBOs, its owners, and its environment. AIBO was even programmed to sometimes ignore commands, just like a real dog would. The robotic dog talked back in a tonal language and responded to more than a hundred voice commands.
Honorable Mentions For 1999
Some other events we don’t want to forget mentioning are:
- GeoCities is acquired by Yahoo! for $3.6 billion
- The Common Unix Printing System, which allowed a computer to act as a print server, was released
- Israeli firm M-systems was the first to patent USB flash drives
- Marc Ostrofsky sold the most expensive Internet domain name business.com for $7.5 million
- Jawbone, a wearable technology company, was established
- EverQuest, a fantasy-themed multi-played video game, was released
- Time’s Person of the Year title went to Jeff Bezos
- Nvidia released the GeForce 256, which was marketed as the world’s first Graphics Processing Unit
- TiVo digital video recorders were released
- Apple introduced the iBook, a laptop computer, and the Apple AirPort, a Wi-Fi router
- NTT DoCoMo launched I-mode, the first commercial launch of a mobile-specific browser-based web service
The evolution of technology has dramatically changed the society humans live in. Before the invention of modern-day technology, everyday chores took too much of their time, and life was burdensome for them.
Nowadays, technology can be found anywhere, from the cars they drive to phones that they use on a daily basis. Technology has simplified their access to transportation, medicine, education, and much more.
As society moves forward, technology will keep opening more possibilities for undiscovered and newer innovations to take over.