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What are the most iconic technology designs of the last forty years? Not an easy question to answer, but the MIT Technology Review had a go in their current issue, asking a range of designers about pieces of technology that have influenced the way they think about their work. What’s interesting is that many of the objects chosen have shaped the way that we think about technologies, even if the selection suggests – perhaps – a US-centric view of the world.

Here’s the full list:

  • 1972, Polaroid SX-70
  • 1977, Atari 2600
  • 1979, Sony Walkman
  • 1981, HP 12c Calculator
  • 1983, Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
  • 1988, NeXT OS
  • 1994, Netscape
  • 1995, Amazon
  • 1999, Palm V
  • 2006, MacBook Pro 17″

My choice? It would probably be the 1991 Psion 3, a fine piece of design (of a portable design assistant), which eventually failed in the market place for reasons which had little to do with technology and more to do with market positioning, marketing, and finance.

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