Tech History Today
October 7, 1954: Goodbye to Vacuum Tube; Hello Transistor
On this day, IBM created the first calculating machine to use a solid-state transistor instead of vacuum tubes. The machine consisted of 2000 transistors, making it neither smaller in size, nor faster in speed; however, it was cheaper, less power consuming and less heat creating than its tube counterpart.
A vacuum tube is a device that controls electric current between electrodes in an evacuated container. Vacuum tubes were a basic component for electronics throughout the first half of the twentieth century, which saw the diffusion of radio, television, radar, sound reinforcement, sound recording and reproduction, large telephone networks, analog and digital computers, and industrial process control.
In the 1940s, the invention of semiconductor devices made it possible to produce solid-state devices, which later replaced vacuum tubes in most of the electronics. The cathode-ray tube (CRT) remained the basis for televisions and video monitors until superseded in the 21st century, though.
October 7, 2002: Palm announces the first Zire Handheld
Palm – one of the leaders in handheld electronics – announced the first Zire handheld computer today in 2002 . This was called the “consumer grade” brand of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). They were meant to be low-cost ($99) and something everyone could use. Other versions were the Zire 21, Zire 31, Z22, 71 and Zire 72.
The Zire featured a 16MHz Motorola Dragonball EZ processor, 2MB RAM / 2MB ROM and the Palm OS 4.1. The Zire also had a monochrome display and 160 x 160 resolution (Zire 71 and 72 models had 320 x 320).