Manufacturers, we want to bring back the spectacular transparent technology of the 90s

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Nothing brought with its headphones and its first phone, about to start its sales, an aesthetic marked by the transparent physical design. Nothing will consolidate itself as a successful brand or it will fall by the wayside, but at its launch a certain daring must be recognized for its design: compared to phones that are very difficult to differentiate because they have all been reduced to very similar glass rectangles, and headphones that essentially copy the aesthetics of the AirPods, seeing a manufacturer come up with a convincing proposal to carve out its own identity is as refreshing as a glass of Coca-Cola filled to the brim with ice in the middle of the desert.

That aesthetic marked by transparent designs, that reveal the circuitry inside, had its heyday in the technology of the 1990s and early 2000s. Technological evolution continued in other directions and, while we hope that Nothing spreads the spirit of translucent cases to other brands, let’s see a tour of all that generation of products that shared leave see its guts through its structure.

Nintendo consoles

Nintendo was possibly the manufacturer that best capitalized on this trend. With transparent design launched the game boy in several of its generations. Perhaps the most spectacular, due to its restrained size and the visible green plate, combined with the black of the crosshead and the dark pink of the buttons, was the Pocket Lite.

Game Boy Pocket Lite

The model that premiered the color on the screen of the Game Boy, already at the end of the century, had in the translucent purple color surely the most famous style of its generation.


Special mention for the spectacular green variant, known as “Extreme Green”.

Gbc Extreme Green

Nintendo’s first portable console in the new century, the gameboyadvance, It also had some colors in a translucent version that revealed part of its internal circuitry, especially on its back. Here, the translucent purple.


And a not very remembered console was the simple one pokemon mini, with very basic mini-games at less than half the size and price of the Game Boy.


Beyond the portables, Nintendo also found in the Nintendo 64 the perfect console to try launching many translucent models, in various base colors.


N64 3

The Nintendo Switch in comparison is a modest console that only goes haywire when a Joy-Con is painted in each color.

PlayStation, Xbox and Dreamcast

Although they did not make big bets in this regard, we could also see some transparent winks in this generation.

Sega’s ill-fated console, with Nintendo 64-style controls: a base color and a translucent finish, which suited a console with as much personality as the Dreamcast.

dream cast

dream cast 2

PlayStation controls experienced similar processes, betting on the fully transparent model, although by third parties rather than Sony itself.

ps2 world

As a curiosity, this was the cover of Joypad, an Italian magazine about video games, in its first issue, January 2000. 4,900 Italian lira at the time, nostalgia in abundance for its owner for decades.

Image: Zhelanie.

The first generation of the Xbox also had this mode, it was known as “Crystal Edition”.

xbox cr

The pre-iPhone Apple

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, with Steve Jobs recently returning to the company and having to make drastic decisions to avoid bankruptcy, Apple opted for transparent and translucent touches in some of its products.

Perhaps one of the most iconic was the iMac G3, which revealed the inside of its huge tube screen. The time.

Imac G3

A side view…

Imac G3 3

…and the other side.

Imac G3 2

A special mention goes to the Power Mac G4 Cube, a short-lived computer that is still remembered for its design almost twenty years later.


Its transparent casing did not have the same sense of transparency as it had the intermediate opaque plate, but the gesture of “removing” the computer as such from its interior did allow the circuitry to be shown in all its splendor. It’s something.


A look at the complete setup, with the speakers, monitor, and peripherals sharing transparent design touches.


And more

Apart from the electronics that generated fans, there are also smaller products that we have hardly seen again. Many homes in the late 1990s and early 2000s also had a transparent or translucent landline phone. One like this one from Unisonic.

Landline 2

There was also Discman transparent.


And let’s not forget the king of music with transparent design.


Or the transparent chambers, some disposable, others perennial.


This was hardly seen in our latitudes and it was something before everything shown before, but blessed was the time when someone thought that a television could also be transparent in a time of black monopoly.


There have never been so many mobile console games.  And this is just the beginning


In 2022, certain transparent accessories are still being manufactured, mainly by third parties, although the Switch Pro Controller maintains a translucent appearance. Those third parties are the ones who do completely transparent Joy-Con that feel death to the Nintendo console.

There are certain symptoms of interest in recovering this aesthetic. For example, there is no year in which they do not appear wallpapers that emulate the interior of each iPhone, to simulate transparency.

Cleanshot 2022 07 06 At 18 00 29 2x

The Nothing ear (1) remains one of the devices that has captured the most immediate attention, especially from the public most usually interested in technology.

nothing ear 1

Maybe we can dream of a revival of transparent and translucent technology. It is often said that nostalgia follows cycles of twenty years from when something goes out of style until you start to miss it. Will the twenties be the ones of a return to technology whose design is not boring, but crazy?

Nothing brought with its headphones and its first phone, about to start its sales, an aesthetic marked by the transparent…

Nothing brought with its headphones and its first phone, about to start its sales, an aesthetic marked by the transparent…

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