What we now know as 808 drums (or simply called 808), are the basically coming from Roland TR-808 Drums rhythm sequencer machines manufactured in 1980 and unfortunately they stopped manufacturing this awesome tool by 1983. The TR-808 machines are known as some of the earliest drums machines in electronic music. At 1984 onwards, Roland Corporation started manufacturing 909 Drum Machines as replacement of 808 machines.
But they still are being used by thousands of producers either as the machine itself (which is not accessible for everyone easily as it was being produced only for 3 years) or in forms of sampled sounds in newer drum machines or softwares.
The signature sound of 808 is those boomy kick basses with a long decay and sharp, almost high pitch and quick snare hits and claps. Of course the other elements of the 808 machines, suck as the high pitch hats, modified toms and very electronic sounding congas are as important as the signature sounds! The filling and wide sound of these machines still are perfect for electronic music and we still can hear them in majority of hit songs specially in hip hop, pop and trap music.