The 50 Best Tech Products of All Time
Best Tech Products Numbers 16 to 20
16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999)
Arguments about the best video card of all time can quickly degenerate into schoolyard shoving matches, but few will dispute that 3dfx's Voodoo3 cards were some of the most important ones ever made. Most notably, they had a virtual monopoly at the time on games that used multiple texturing, including Quake 3, and 3dfx even created a custom API called Glide for developers to use when coding games. The Voodoo3 was a huge success, but 3dfx was soon on the ropes. Glide faded from use, follow-up products were disastrous, and the company burned so much cash that it was nearly dead (its corpse picked over by nVidia) a year later.
17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
Early digital cameras weren't much to look at: They were large, clunky, and utterly lacking in aesthetics. But the original Digital Elph changed all that. Clad in stainless steel and almost impossibly small, Canon's S100 showed how sophisticated a pocket camera could look. Yet it didn't compromise on features, offering a 2.1-megapixel CCD, a 2x optical zoom lens, and autofocus. Today, digicams continue to take design cues from the Elph; Canon's pocket cameras and its current Elph model, the PowerShot SD630, still maintain the overall look of the original model.
18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996)
The Palm Pilot 1000 wasn't the first PDA, but it was the first one that mattered. Having taken a cue from the rapidly declining fortunes of the Apple Newton, Palm set out to design a portable personal digital assistant that focused first and foremost on pocketability. The original model was so influential that the name "Palm Pilot" has stuck with the series, even though the "Pilot" part was banished in 1998. Numerous aspects of the original Palm operating system, including its iconic layout, can still be found on contemporary Treos.
19. id Software Doom (1993)
If anti-video-game-violence crusader Jack Thompson is right, most of society's ills can probably be traced back to the watershed video game Doom, which launched the first-person-shooter genre into the stratosphere. A shareware offering, Doom spread rapidly upon release, and gamers thrilled to its (now primitive) 3D graphics and mod capabilities, which let you take on the role of designer and create your own levels. Purists may argue that we should have selected id's Wolfenstein 3D instead; but unlike Doom, it didn't let you wield a chainsaw--possibly the most iconic FPS weapon of all time. Take that, Martian demons! PC versions of Doom certainly live on, but today console and handheld versions are more common.
20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995)
Yes, we know that plenty of Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 98 SE, and Windows 2000 fans exist, but Windows 95 first brought us long file names, legitimate multitasking, and a dramatically improved GUI, which arguably represents the brief and final moment in time that Windows actually looked better than a Mac.