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Today, most people who listen to AM/FM terrestrial radio do so in
their automobiles, or may even use satellite radio systems like
SiriusXM. Some folks listen to radio programming which is simulcast
over Internet audio streams. Still, as a whole, portable music
listening has largely become the domain of MP3 player devices like the
iPod and iPhone.
However, back in the day, if you wanted to hear music on the go, from
the mid-1950s onward (and heavily popularized in the 1960s) people
used small, portable radios that were made possible by the transistor,
an electronic component which was invented in 1947 by the good folks
at Bell Labs.
The small, eraser-head sized, solid state transistors used in these
portable radios were preceded by Vacuum Tubes, which were huge (think
lightbulb sized) generated tons of heat, burned out fairly quickly,
and made mobile technology extremely impractical.
As transistors became more and more miniaturized, radios and consumer
electronics as a whole became smaller and smaller. Eventually, during
the late 1960s and early 1970s, the use of hundreds of thousands of
extremely tiny transistors using specialized lithographic processes on
silicon wafers at companies like Intel, MOS and Zilog would give birth
to the semiconductor industry and the personal computer.
The tiny transistor, first used in portable radios, has made all
virtually all technology popularized in the late 20th century onward
possible. But good luck finding people listening to portable
transistor radios nowadays.