Throwback Thursday: Kyocera 6035, Verizon’s first smartphone

By on June 23, 2011 at 2:31 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Kyocera 6035, Verizon’s first smartphone


Just last week we brought you our interview with Marni Walden, Verizon’s CMO, who discussed the carrier’s iPhone, Android phones and BlackBerry devices, and that got us thinking: what was Verizon’s first smartphone? We reached out and confirmed for this week’s Throwback Thursday that it was indeed the Palm OS-powered Kyocera 6035, which made its debut on March 2nd, 2001. The phone, which was hailed by Verizon as combining the functionality of a PDA with the ubiquitous connectivity of a wireless phone, offered a flip-form factor with a numberpad that could be flipped down to reveal more of the 6035’s touchscreen display. If you thought the $299 you just dropped on the DROID Charge 4G was expensive, get this: the Kyocera 6035 was $499 with a 1-year contract — and it didn’t even have a camera! To make this Throwback Thursday a bit sweeter, we’ve actually included the original full press release after the break.

BGR’s Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear. More →

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Throwback Thursday: Double Dragon

By on March 10, 2011 at 7:46 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Double Dragon

For this week’s installation of Throwback Thursday, we’re going to journey back to the year 1987. A time when the Iran-Contra Affair was front page news, the term “Black Monday” was coined, and Double Dragon was the most popular game in your local arcade. Developed by Technos Japan, Double Dragon tells the tale of two brothers, Hammer and Spike, who are trying to navigate through gang-turf dominated by the Black Warriors (anyone else noticing some racial undertones twenty years post facto?). The brothers are skilled fighters, and determined to accomplish their goal, saving a common love interest Marian (it’s getting weirder). In the arcade version of the game, Hammer and Spike have to complete four levels — beating four different foes wielding a variety of weapons — in order to rescue their damsel in distress. If both brothers survive the trials and tribulations in multiplayer mode, they then must fight each other to determine who will be the winner of Marian’s love. The game was later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System and, in 1994, made into a movie (which currently has rating of 1.5 out of 5 starts on IMDB). Was anyone a Double Dragon master? More →

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Throwback Thursday: The Nintendo Light Boy

By on February 10, 2011 at 8:14 PM.

Throwback Thursday: The Nintendo Light Boy

Before the days of the backlit LCD-display, portable gaming — like reading — required a certain amount of ambient light. Sure, that original Game Boy was great — and you were a wiz at Tetris and Mario Bros. – but you needed an assist from your trusty floor-lamp… that was, before the Light Boy. The Light Boy was an accessory for Nintendo’s popular Game Boy portable gaming system that provided its users with two benefits. First, it illuminated the device’s monochromatic screen, allowing owners to game in the dark. And second, it had a magnifying glass that hovered over the screen, making gameplay a little easier on the eyes. The Light Boy allowed us to play our Game Boy in our favorite location forbidden by our parents: between the sheets after bedtime. In the 1990’s, it was a thing of beauty. Anyone out there own this handy little accessory? More →

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Throwback Thursday: T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream

By on January 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM.

Throwback Thursday: T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream

We’re not going to travel too far back in time for this week’s installation of Throwback Thursday, but we think our selection is very appropriate. With this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in full gear, we’re seeing an unfathomable number of Android phones and tablets announced by dozens of electronics manufacturers. So here at BGR, we thought it would be appropriate to take a short moment to pay homage to the little handset that started it all. We’re talking about T-Mobile’s G1, also known as the HTC Dream.

Released on October 30, 2008 in the United States by GSM carrier T-Mobile, the G1 was the first smartphone to be marketed with Google’s new Android mobile operating system. The G1 — which retailed for $129.99 on-contract and $399.99 full retail — was a horizontal-sliding, full-QWERTY handset with a unique hinge. The G1 paired its keyboard with a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro-SD card slot, and navigation trackball. The handsets Achilles heel was, undoubtedly, the humble 1150mAh battery — which proved to be inadequate for the device’s hardware. In April of 2009, T-Mobile officially announced that that it had sold 1 million G1s.

This week, as you see Android devices of all shapes and sizes announced, take some time to pour one out for the device that started it all… the G1. More →

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Throwback Thursday: Motorola v60

By on December 23, 2010 at 4:45 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Motorola v60

When the Motorola v60 came out, it was simply the hottest handset to have. Launched in the early part of 2002, the phone was packed with internal and external features — new Motorola UI, voice activated dialing, anodized aluminum case, and carbon fiber inserts. It first launched on Verizon and Alltel in the U.S. and was one of the more expensive devices we can remember in that time period — full retail was upwards of $400. As far as raw specifications go, the Motorola v60 featured a tri-mode antenna with 800/1900 CDMA and AMPS support, two-way SMS support, WAP browser, accessory port at the bottom (speakerphone was a physical separate accessory), and external one line caller ID display.

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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Throwback Thursday: Nintendo Virtual Boy

By on October 21, 2010 at 3:47 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Nintendo Virtual Boy

Ah, Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. What seemed like a push forward in the gaming world at first glace unfortunately never really took off. The Virtual Boy used a pair of monochromatic linear arrays and an oscillating mirror that would vibrate back and forth to create the entire image which would then be seen in 3D. It was easily the most wanted Christmas gift in my book, and when I finally got one, it unfortunately only held my interest for around 2 days. If a gaming system can’t keep a 8 year old engaged, you probably have a serious issue, and Nintendo did. The system was discontinued only 5 months after it’s July 21st, 1995 launch with only 22 games available for sale. It retailed for $180. Who could forget that controller, though?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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Throwback Thursday: The Polaroid Camera

By on September 16, 2010 at 6:21 PM.

Throwback Thursday: The Polaroid Camera

If you were born in the 1980’s then there is no doubt you know all about the “Polaroid” camera. If you were born after 1990, you probably still know about the device thanks to a popular OutKast song (don’t fight it, just sing: shake it, shake it like a Polaroid piiiiiiiiicture).

The Polaroid camera was perfect in its day. Playing on the human need for instant gratification, the moderately compact camera would allow you to click the shutter and have a developed image in your hand within two or three minutes. Gone were the days of taking your film to a “film store” for development and waiting days or even weeks for your prints. Originally designed by Polaroid in the early 1970’s, instant film — and ultimately Polaroid as a whole — fell victim to the even-more-instant digital camera. We would guess most of you over the age of 20 have a Polaroid candid or two hanging around the house somewhere. Who misses the days of Polaroids!

Also… Polaroid insists that shaking a Polaroid picture did not expedite its development. Ignorance was bliss, no?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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Throwback Thursday: Motorola ROKR E1

By on September 2, 2010 at 2:25 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Motorola ROKR E1

Way back in September of 2005 — over one year before the launch of the iPhone — Apple and Motorola were jointly pimping a handset called the ROKR E1 (pronounced “rocker”). The ROKR was a candy-bar-style device that had the dubious honor of being the first cell phone with the ability to natively integrate with Apple’s iTunes music software. What did the ROKR’s stat sheet look like? Glad you asked… the phone had a 176 x 220 pixel display, VGA camera with flash, Bluetooth, stereo headset jack, 22 KHz stereo speakers, micro-SD card slot (support for up to 512 MB), iTunes compatibility, and a fancy feature called “rhythm lights.” Unfortunately, the phone’s music player was throttled (with software) and only 100 songs were allowed to be stored on the device. Just five years ago this sweet little package would have set you back $249.99 when signing a 2-year contract with mobile provider Cingular. It’s amazing what half of a decade does to prices and expectations, no? We can’t say we ever bought into the ROKR; although we did own the very sexy SLVR L7 (image after the jump) which also sported iTunes integration. How about you? Take a stroll down cell phone memory lane… what was the last device you owned before you bought a smartphone and what ridiculous monetary sum did it cost you? More →

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Throwback Thursday: MiniDiscs

By on August 19, 2010 at 5:35 PM.

Throwback Thursday: MiniDiscs

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re going to dive into the audio realm with the technology that was MiniDiscs. Remember back when exercising with a portable CD player was out of the question? First, you had to have the stamina to carry the hefty device around while shaking your bon-bon (click on link to get Ricky-rolled). Second, anything you were listening to on your CD Walkman was bound to end up sounding like a bad remix after the anti-skip protection (typically 10, 20, 45, or 60 seconds) ran out. Then, in 1992, in came the MiniDisc.

Reminiscent of CD-ROM cartridges found on the Apple Performa series of computers, the MiniDisc promised CD-quality audio, with skipping under only the most extreme conditions, in a compact package. MiniDisc players were smaller, sleeker, and definitely more attractive than the CD and cassette-based Walkman units available at the time. At its inception MiniDiscs could accommodate 74 or 80 minutes of music. In 2000, Sony added a technology to its devices dubbed MiniDisc Long Play (MDLP) which allowed the throttling of audio quality and storage of up to 320 minutes of audio on one 80 minute MiniDisc. The MiniDisc’s Achilles heel came in the fact that the format only supported minute-based, CD-style audio recordings. Support for MP3 storage and playback was not added until the mid-2000’s; by then the era of the hard drive and flash-based MP3 player had begun.

Unfortunately, this was a technology we invested in and we owned several portable MiniDisc players (even a MiniDisc deck). We are also conjuring up faint memories of high school friends bragging about bootlegging Dave Matthews Band concerts with portable MiniDisc recorders and high-quality microphones. How about you? Any MiniDisc memories, or did you manage to avoid the fad?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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Throwback Thursday: NES Zapper

By on August 5, 2010 at 5:30 PM.

Throwback Thursday: NES Zapper

Ah yes, the NES Zapper. Your weapon of choice for eradicating ducks, clay discs, criminals, cowboys, and just boring old targets.

The NES Zapper made is North American debut in October of 1985 when it was bundled with the Nintendo Entertainment System and a now infamous game, Duck Hunt. The technology behind the Zapper is painfully simple, although I remember it feeling like science fiction in 1985. When the trigger of the Zapper was pulled it would cause the entire screen of the game being played to go black for one frame. The subsequent frame would have your games target (ducks, clay discs, whatever) appear in all white. The gun would detect this change from dark to light and determine if you’ve hit your target. If multiple targets are on the screen more than one “white” frame is used to determine which target has been hit. The process is mostly invisible to the eye, although, as most people remember, you can see the screen flash when the trigger is pulled (which was cool, because you were shooting a fake gun!). The Zapper truly was a milestone in gaming, but fess up… how many of you pinched off a couple of rounds at the Duck Hunt dog to blow off some steam?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear

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Throwback Thursday: Paperboy

By on July 29, 2010 at 5:17 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Paperboy

Paperboy was first introduced in 1984 by Atari and has most definitely become a cult classic. Your in-game objective is to navigate your cycling paperboy through their weekly paper route, delivering the broadsheet to your customers, and avoiding a host of obstacles, including: cars, dogs, rolling tires, lawnmowers, kids on tricycles, the Grim Reaper, and some weirdo with a knife. There are seven levels — Monday through Sunday — and each day gets progressively harder (duh!). Fail to deliver a paper or accidentally throw a paper through someones window and you risk losing a subscriber. Complete your route and you’re rewarded with some spiffy 8-bit music and a training course that offers you a chance to win bonus points. How were your Paperboy skills? Did you always see the headline “Paperboy Wins Award For Outstanding Paper-Delivery” or were you more of the “Paperboy Calls It Quits” type?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear

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Throwback Thursday: Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego

By on July 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego

carman_sandiego

We’ve been on a little bit of a retro software bender lately, and today’s Throwback Thursday is no different. So, step one: open this YouTube link (it will open a new window) and press play. We’ll wait for you, go ahead… Back? Great.

Now, there is a rumor that one “Vick the Slick” — one of Carmen Sandiego’s mustachioed marauders — is on the loose. We’re counting on you, young gumshoe, to help capture Vick the Slick and track down Carmen Sandiego.

The original Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego was a computer game created by Brøderbund in 1985. After its huge success in schools and homes, subsequent versions were made and had users trying and track down Carmen — and her gang of criminals — in the United States, Japan, Time, and even Space. The software’s leading lady quickly turned into a brand empire, and eventually spun-off into a cartoon, a board game, a book series, and a game show for grade schoolers (which originally aired on PBS).

Go ahead, let us know what your favorite Carmen Sandiego memory is. Personally, Carmen taught me what the meaning of spelunking is… to explore caves of course.

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets — and in this case software — of yesterday and yesteryear

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Throwback Thursday: The Oregon Trail

By on July 8, 2010 at 1:45 PM.

Throwback Thursday: The Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail

Ah yes, The Oregon Trail. Remember how pissed you used to get when your bloody oxen would drown after you decided to ford the river? Even though your classmate told you to add mileage to the trip and just go around the river!? Man, that was frustrating. Originally developed by three Minnesota teachers in 1971, The Oregon Trail’s intended purpose was to help grade school students understand the hardships of the early American settlers in the 19th century. After being bought out and further developed, the game really hit its stride in the mid-80’s and early-90’s when it was adapted to further leverage the technological breakthrough that was “the computer mouse.”

In order to successfully navigate The Trail you had to avoid: broken legs, drowning, measles, snakebites, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, exhaustion, and diarrhea, all while keeping your trail-mates fed and healthy. As we all know, a classic never dies, and updated versions of The Oregon Trail have been released as recently as 2009. Don’t be shy, let us know how good your hunting skills were (we know you were a good shot and never missed a speedy squirrel or mouse) or how much cash you managed to horde while battling The Trail.

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets — and in this case software — of yesterday and yesteryear.

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