As we start off a new year, it’s always fun to look back on the previous year and how far you’ve come. As a tech-based company, it is especially interesting to see the progression of our developments. However, it’s not just us! Smartphone apps everywhere are under constant expansion and change, so much so it’s nearly impossible to keep up with. But, do you remember the days before apps? Believe it or not, there was once a time when we survived without turning to our phones for all sources of information, entertainment and communication. Let’s take a little flip back in time to see how we ended up in the world of apps just like Eden!
It was 1994. Forest Gump had taken the movie theater box office by storm, the music world was mourning the loss of Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain and Netscape Navigator had just launched on PCs across America. Enter the first smartphone. Well, an early variation of what we now call a smartphone. It was IMB’s Simon that was released and at the time was the top of the tech pyramid. Offering features such as an address book, a calculator, a calendar and a notepad, this was the first glimpse at what we were capable of integrating into our technology devices.
While the tech market remained rather slow-paced for a while following Simon, in 2002, RIM, owner of Blackberry, came in with torches blazing to introduce to world to wireless email and online communication via cellular devices. While the term ‘app” still hadn’t been invented, Blackberrys quickly became the leading name in technology, especially for the business world. However, as they started slipping into the pockets for more and more people, they also added the ever-popular “snake game” and a ringtone editor, which turned each person’s phone into their own personalized little “palm pilot”, as they were once referred to as.
While Apple was till clinging to the tech world with an iron fist with their revolutionary iPods, and famous rainbow commercials, only 5 short years later was the realize of the first ever iPhone. Hard to imagine that was only in 2007, isn’t it? The iPhone was the first ever “appeal to everyone” smartphone that landed in the hands of everyone from business owners to university students. The battle for the top spot between Apple and RIM was a constant back and forth, one always slightly topping the other and back. Apple integrated iTunes into their phone, but then RIM came back swinging with Blackberry messenger, a prelude to Apple’s iMessage.
Alas, in 2008, Apple had created the iPhone 3 and it became the first phone to allow third party app downloads from the internet. Believe it or not, this was actually the first official use of the term “app”, as Apple launched their app store, offering over 500 downloadable app, with less than 10% of them being free! Within one week, over 10 million downloads went through the app store, and by 2010, “app” had been voted Word of the Year. The revolution had kicked off, and the tech world as we knew it would never be the same.
Obviously, Google had to get in on the action and joined forces with all non-Apple phone developers to launch 2012’s “Google Play”, an app store for Androids. By this time, apps were huge. In fact, Draw Something had 1 million users within its first 9 days, a feat that took Facebook almost a year to hit. Following in the later months was Candy Crush and Angry Birds, who to this day, hold the to spots for most downloads. In fact, Angry Birds is reported to have 2 billion users, yes billion. But wait, what about social media?
This was around the time tech companies started to introduce handheld access to the entire world’s private lives with Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. The introduction of device-based social media has completely changed the way we use our phones and how we function as a society. So what more could we do?
Well, we continued to expand and we left the palm of people’s hands. With the invention of smartwatches and devices such as Google Home and Nest, technology has now integrated the apps we seem to be unable to live without and added them to nearly everything we do. Ordering a pizza, announcing a new baby, even adjusting your thermostat is all now done from apps we have in our hand at all times. Not to mention, we all now have access to nearly every piece of information on the internet with nothing but a data plan. Wild to think about, isn’t it?
So where do we go from here? How much more will the leaders of the tech world be able to incorporate into our smartphones, or how much more will our beloved devices become a part of us? There is no telling the limitations of technology and how we will use them in our everyday lives, but as the now infamous App Store commercial once said, there’s an app for that!