An Ode To Hardware — First Loves

Software, SaaS, mobile apps, responsive, encrypted, SQL/Ruby/Python/et al. In the Tech and VC industry, we’re pretty much obsessed with software. But what about the casing? The outward facing design? What about the actual devices? Where is the love?

Its time to get your nerd on, and follow me back down memory lane…

The first device I fell for was the Speak & Spell, an early 80s masterpiece from Texas Instruments:

As a child, this thing rocked my world. I couldn’t believe the interaction with the computer — it felt like I was communicating with something else: not a person (certainly not a Eng. Lang. teacher!), but some higher force that didn’t feel quite human, and yet interacted with me. Was I in control, or was the machine?

Next, in my pre-teen years I guess, came The Watch. No, not that one. I saved my pennies and, after much lusting, sported this model, the Casio CA53W-1, in all its glory:

This thing was amazing. Imagine, in the mid 80s, as a ten year-old, before the Internet and Mobile Phones, being able to run around with a tiny computer strapped to your wrist like Dick Tracy!

In 1996 (I think), as an 18 year old, I bought my first mobile phone, the Panasonic EB-G500. What a dream. It was (back then), so stylish and sexy. It made me feel like somebody: like a grown-up at least. This was real connectivity, beyond the pagers we’d started to use in the mid 90s. Pagers??????

I still remember that seminal day in 2005 when I got my first work-issued Blackberry. That was when the addiction really took hold. Check out this beaut:

Man, I loved that thing. You could hammer out emails in no time, with the QWERTY board. The downside was the little red light that would bling when had mail. We all slept less.

Finally, finally, there was, and always will be, Apple. I think I matured and picked a hardware partner for life.

Like what you read? Give Matt Penneycard a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.