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Think you know Samsung's first smartwatch and laptop? You don't (pictures)

Housed in Samsung's sprawling South Korean headquarters are startling reminders of our gadget past. Check out old-school marvels like its first-ever smartwatch and a laptop with a music player.

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Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 18 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Kickin' it old-school with Samsung gear

Think that Samsung's first smartwatch arrived in 2013? Think again. Fourteen years before the Galaxy Gear, Samsung's SPH-WP10 Watch Phone came out in 1999 under the sub-brand Anycall.

The Samsung Innovation Museum in Suwon, South Korea is filled with such decades-spanning marvels.

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1911: The year of the washing machine

All it takes is an armload of hand-wash laundry to appreciate the liberating qualities of an appliance as pervasive as the washing machine.

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Maytag's moment

In 1911, the Maytag Electric Motor Washing Machine must have seemed quite the advancement, though it looks positively manual to modern eyes.

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The Walkie-Talkie

When it came out in 1943, Motorola's Walkie-Talkie SCR-300 was less about the workplace than it was about the war effort. The US Army commissioned this mammoth two-way radio to use during the Second World War.

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Handy-Talkie

Made by Motorola in 1940, the Handy-Talkie SCR-536 (right) was a portable AM radio transceiver light enough to fit in your hand. It, too, was used widely in the Second World War.

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I want my MTV

1927 may have been the birth of the television set, but this Motorola TV set from 1950 is a direct channel down memory lane. Using vacuum tubes to control current, the TV's two front-side buttons control contrast and brightness as well as volume and changing stations.

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Portable transistor TV

Less bulky and more power-efficient than the vacuum tube television, transistor TVs like this 1960 specimen from Sony didn't need to warm up before you tuned in.

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It's a 'mobile' phone, alright

Would you pay $3,500 for this briefcase phone? That's the price tag for this IMTS-enabled (Improved Mobile Telephone Service) doozy from the 1960s.

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The big chill

Samsung is a huge maker of home appliances today, but it got its start with refrigerators in 1974 with this unit, which included auto-defrosting.

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Remember these?

Samsung's first phone with electronic keys made its debut in 1984.

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Now in technicolor

Korea's first color TV arrived in 1977. The Samsung Econo Color TV had a CRT screen and became a major export item in the '80s.

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The PC of your dreams?

Can a personal computer get any better than this gem from the 1980s?

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Right on!

Probably not. For starters, this rig uses an integrated cassette player as its data drive.

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It's a bird...it's a plane...

...it's a laptop. Yes, a laptop. Never mind that 1987's dimensions would overflow your lap and crush your limbs, Samsung's first portable effort (a first for Korea, too) was the precursor of more refined personal electronics to come.

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Microwave TV?

What's better than watching kernels of corn pop? Watching TV while standing in front of a device spewing electromagnetic radiation! In 1983, this microwave oven also served the morning news on a 5-inch screen.

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Back to the watch

The 1999 Watch Phone is lighter than you might think. At 1.4 ounces (or 39 grams), it's nearly an ounce lighter than the Samsung Gear S watch, which weighs 2.3 ounces (66 grams).

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Ready to receive

You can easily see that nub of antenna on top, a telltale sign that this is a watch-shaped-phone...or maybe it's a phone-shaped watch?

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Party like it's 1999

On the left, Samsung's most recent smartwatch, the Samsung Gear S, snuggles up close to the company's first design.

Hungry for even more behind-the-scenes looks at Samsung's headquarters? Check out more stories here.

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