1999: RIM BlackBerry
With its tiny monochrome display and QWERTY keyboard, Research in Motion's BlackBerry looked and acted like a two-way pager (kids, that means texting machine). But it also packed PDA functions and one killer app -- email forwarded direct to your hand. In 2003, the BlackBerry line evolved into a smartphone form, with a larger color screen and such features as quad-band cell communication, SMS texting and Web browsing.
From the outset, the BlackBerry rocketed into the collective consciousness, especially among corporate types. Nothing seemed more addictive than its combination of personal organization and communication: The worst punishment an executive could suffer in the early 2000s was to have his CrackBerry confiscated.