The 50 Best Tech Products of All Time

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Picked by PCWorld's Editors

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Best Tech Products Numbers 11 to 15

11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994)

Adobe Photoshop 3.0
infographic: Courtesy of GUIdebook: Graphical User Interface Gallery
Photoshop has been a killer app since its introduction on the Mac in 1988, but it wasn't until years later that this watershed graphics tool became a must-have for design professionals. That adoption began in earnest with
Photoshop 3.0 and the introduction of layers, which allowed designers to play with images and effects on multiple levels, one atop another, rather than in a single flat dimension. This technology opened the door for image manipulation on a much grander scale than had been possible before--and it's also why you'll never be able to trust a photograph again.

Adobe's most recent versions, Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop CS3 carry on the original software's tradition and remain the standard for the field.

12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)

IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
For many years, only one name mattered when it came to laptops, and that was IBM. With every ThinkPad release, IBM continued to amaze the market, each system outshining its predecessor with a lighter weight, more power, or a larger screen than had previously been thought possible. The 701C, for example, offered an expanding, full-size "butterfly" keyboard that was so innovative it ended up on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The machine that started it all, however, was the 700C, which weighed less than 6 pounds, had a huge-for-its-time 10.4-inch color TFT display, and featured the first-ever pointing stick. Although the laptop is now owned by Chinese company Lenovo, ThinkPads like the R60 are still coveted status symbols in the business community.

13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977)

Atari VCS/2600 (1977)
Photograph: Rick Rizner
You can't underestimate the importance of the original Atari, which made home gaming what it is today.
All modern game consoles owe some part of their heritage to this machine of simple design (not to mention awesome wood-grain paneling). The VCS (later renamed the 2600) was a cool curiosity (until Space Invaders arrived in 1980), with sales hitting 8 million units in 1982 alone. The 2600 eventually sold about 40 million units, and paved the way for all manner of competitors and imitators. Along with the original Pong, it remains the only truly important product that Atari ever released.

14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)

Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)
Photograph: Courtesy of Wikipedia
Two years after the release of the first Macintosh computer, Apple finally hit its stride with the venerable
Mac Plus, which corrected several defects of the original Mac and became one of the company's most-loved (and used) products. The stylish all-in-one box featured a Motorola 68000 processor, a built-in 9-inch monochrome display, and a 3.5-inch floppy drive. Chief among its innovations was a SCSI port so you could attach an external hard drive, and 1MB of RAM, which was upgradable to 4MB. Computer as fashion status symbol? Today's iMacs have style to spare, but the Mac Plus is where it all started.

While the original Mac Plus sold for a whopping $2600, today you can get one for less than $100 on eBay.

15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000)

RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000)
Photograph: Courtesy of Research In Motion
When RIM introduced the original
BlackBerry 850, the company realized its genius idea of turning the standard two-way pager into something a little more full-featured. The 850 was able to send and receive e-mail--which you could type with your thumbs on its tiny QWERTY keyboard, though the six- or eight-line display left little room for navigating through messages.

Enter the BlackBerry 857, which was basically the same device but which offered up to 20 lines of text. The oblong form factor also got designers thinking that the BlackBerry might not make such a bad cell phone. RIM's first combination e-mail/phone device arrived two years later, and the 857's design still influences the look of many current smart phones, and its heritage can clearly be seen in today's BlackBerry 8700c.

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