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The changing face of electronics over the past 50 years

A year of seismic social and political change 1968 saw anti-Vietnam war protests in London; the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr; the creation of Intel Corporation; and a music scene still being set by the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

1968 also saw the launch of New Electronics and, while in no way am I drawing comparisons with those other momentous events, the fact that we have been around for half a century and are able to celebrate our 50th anniversary, is no mean achievement.

The electronics industry and technology on which we have reported, have changed profoundly in those 50 years, and it’s been fascinating to look back through past issues of New Electronics. It’s certainly surprising to find how far back it is possible to go tracing the origins of some of the technologies, that today, are deemed to be ‘state of the art’.

The 1960s saw a period of great social change and advances in communications technologies. Along with the space race it saw the invention of the cash dispenser, the commercialisation of the computer for business, and the development of the computer mouse. The first computer video game was also invented.

In the 1970s Microsoft appeared, along with the first portable computer. It also saw the first documented Internet connection.

Turning to the 1980s, which has been described as the decade that heralded the computer age, the birth of the IBM PC signalled the start of today’s personal computer, while Apple’s Macintosh heralded much greater things to come. Oh, and the first digital cellular phones appeared.

Looking back at the 1990s, the creation of the World Wide Web, the Internet protocol, and language laid the foundations of the Internet as we know it today. It also saw the arrival of 2G mobile phones.

And what of today? Autonomous vehicles, robots, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, crypto-currencies, the Internet of Things - much technology that was unavailable 10 years ago, let alone 50.

Across those 50 years, New Electronics has been there, reporting on new products, identifying new technologies and trends and interviewing leading industry figures.

As editor of New Electronics, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our readers and advertisers, who have supported NE over the past 50 years, and I look forward to continuing to provide electronic designers with informative, practical and, on occasion, entertaining news, comment and articles.

And like the Rolling Stones, we intend being around for a few more years yet!

Neil Tyler, Editor (neil.tyler@markallengroup.com)

Author
Bethan Grylls

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