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Though it’s hard to imagine, there was a time when people had to survive without apps.

Today, apps are commonplace. They’ve become an ingrained, and nearly essential, aspect of our everyday lives, facilitating normal processes and making our days more efficient. However, as hard as it is to imagine, there was once a time when humans actually had to tackle tasks manually, drudging through their days slowly and inefficiently. Here’s a glimpse into the history of app development and where the magic all began.

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When Did App Development Begin?

It was in the 1970s that data management systems began evolving, greatly enhancing the productivity of programming and application management. It wasn’t until 1983 that the first true, portable cellphone arrived on the market, which was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x. Although there were mobile phones that predated this phone, they were large, clumsy, and far from portable. The iPhone was first unleashed in June of 2007. By 2008, 139 million smartphones had been sold worldwide. Fast forward to today, and nearly 2 billion people across the globe rely on smartphone technology.

The Evolution of Apps

Since the beginning of computers and mobile phones, apps in some form or another have existed. Whether to increase the agility of programming, store data, or facilitate computer processes, apps form the very essence of how we utilise technology. Over the years, app developers have gotten better at producing useful and accessible apps for cellphone and desktop users, now offering over three million different apps between Android and the Apple Store combined.

The Best Apps of 2008

Though apps existed before 2008, they primarily supported the basic functions of computing. The mobile apps we know of today didn’t begin to take root until after the iPhone had launched. Here are some of the top apps of 2008, which seem almost archaic when compared to apps of today.

1. PhoneSaber: Though serving no essential purpose, PhoneSaber was primarily an app to promote bragging rights among friends. Anytime you’d wave your iPhone around, the phone would make a “voom” sound, similar to that of a lightsaber. It provided people a way to show off their new technology and boast to those around them about their cutting-edge phones.

2. NetNewsWire: This app was an original news aggregator that enabled people to keep up with the sites and authors they were fondest of. Though the app still exists today, it’s no longer that popular. It still relies on outdated methods and much newer and better apps, like Reeder, have come to replace it.

3. The New York Times app: The New York Times app is a great example of how far apps have come in just 8 years. Although their app still provides the same essential functions as before, it no longer requires Wi-Fi to operate. In fact, perhaps one of the greatest advancements in mobile app development is the ability to operate independently of Wi-Fi connection.

Apps have changed considerably over the years, starting as basic applications to facilitate programming and evolving into an endless array of shopping, games, music, and news all within the palm of your hand. App developers continue to innovate new ways to solve problems, increase the availability of knowledge, and connect businesses to consumers. 

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Simon Lee

Simon Lee

Founder and CEO of Glance. Simon has a wealth of development and management experience in mobile technologies and is an innovator and new technology evangelist.