Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
The Technology Nobody Wanted
The President of the USA phoned the President of AT&T using a video-phone – in 1927.
The technology languished, unexploited until, over 30 years later, AT&T decided to make and market a videophone called Picturephone.
It was demo-ed at the New York World’s Fair of 1964 and trialled by 700 people who were asked afterwards for their opinion.
Half of the 700 said it was important to see the person on the other end of the line, but half said it wasn’t important.
In 1967 AT&T prepared a marketing plsn for Picturephone.
In 1969 AT&T’s annual report stated: ‘With perhaps one million sets in use, Picturephone may be a billion-dollar business by 1980.’
In April 1972 lack of demand for Picturephone persuaded AT&T to discontinue production.Tags: AT&T, Picturephone