Friday, December 19, 2014

Where Are They Now? Monochrome Displays

What they were: The black-and-white CRT that most businesses and many homes used with computers from the 1970s through the late 1980s -- and they worked just fine, since most DOS applications made little use of color, and early Macs didn’t support it at all.

What happened: Graphical user interfaces, multimedia and games made universal use of color inevitable, but it took a long time before it truly conquered computing. Well into the 1990s, lots of folks who wouldn’t dream of using a black-and-white display with a desktop PC still toted monochrome notebooks. But today, even a $200 netbook has a perfectly respectable color display.

Current whereabouts: You don’t want a monochrome display. But if you did, you wouldn’t have trouble finding one. They’re still out there in large quantities, being used for electronic cash registers and other unglamorous but important text-based applications. And hey, monochrome is making its own unexpected sort of comeback: My Kindle 2 e-book reader has an E-Ink screen that does 16 shades of gray, and nothing else.

SOURCE: 'Where Are They Now? 25 Computer Products That Refuse to Die' by Harry McCracken.

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