At its height in the mid-1990s, French citizens owned about 9 million Minitel devices -- the first widely available screen-keyboard combination in any country. Minitel allowed some 25 million users to regularly connect to more than 23,000 services, including being able to make train reservations, check stock prices, monitor bank balances, and chat with other users.
First available in 1982, Minitel was initially little more than an electronic yellow pages, but other services quickly followed, with users being charged per minute on their phone bills. The service was ultimately overshadowed by the Internet, and Minitel was finally discontinued in 2012.
An online pioneer: