October 1, 2023

oct 1, 2003 - Rise of Smartphones


In the early 21st Century, the most used and easiest ways to communicate were via cellular telephones or through the World Wide Web - the latter of which had grown to 587 million users by the end of 2002. Since the mid-1990s, a number of companies had also developed "smartphones" that could not only make phone calls but also had limited access to the Web. From around 2003, companies like Microsoft and BlackBerry released commercially successful devices that could make phone calls, send emails and text messages, play games, and browse the Internet. Many of these early models, however, were expensive and used mainly by business professionals, as well as having a small physical keyboard on which to type.

It was then in 2007 that the company Apple first developed their version of a smartphone, called the iPhone. This iPhone entered the market on 29th June 2007 and completely changed the smartphone industry. Rather than a physical keyboard, the iPhone featured a large touch screen interface with a much higher resolution than any phone before it. The iPhone was also the first smartphone to have original software that wasn't just adapted from previous mobile computers. The screen featured multi-touch which meant people could use two fingers to navigate the phone, and the web browser made it far easier to use the Internet than previous browsers had.

After 2007, the iPhone set the standard model that all future smartphones would use. The next few years saw other companies like Google, Samsung, and Huawei, develop smartphones that could all support a variety of complex programs, called "apps". As technology developed, millions of people began using smartphones every day for communication, Web browsing, calculating, photography, banking, gaming, and much more.

Such easy access to the Internet also meant a rise in people using the World Wide Web, with over 1,574 million people using the service by 2008. The advent of smartphones also saw a rise in social media, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit, becoming enormous platforms whereby people could share more of their lives than ever before with friends, family, and strangers. This contributed to towards the development of "Internet culture" - an entire online society marked by viral trends, Internet celebrities, and memes.

In the end, smartphones would become as necessary to people in the 21st Century as the automobile had become in the 20th Century, and social media would start to overtake television and the press in its influential effect on people's opinions, both for the better and the worse.

Added to timeline:

2 months ago
History of Human Civilization
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