This week in mobile history: look how far we’ve come

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The mobile world moves quickly – probably faster than just about any other industry in the world.

New devices are announced on what feels like a weekly basis; perpetual software updates are hitting for the hundreds of mobile devices; one-off press events are always happening; and while phones seem to have a longer life span than they did back in, say, 2010, they still become antiques in what feels like no time.

Back in September, I went on a nostalgia binge and did a throwback review for one of my favorite mobile devices of all time: the BlackBerry Curve 8330. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how far the industry has come in less than a decade – from phones that (barely) handled email to pocket-sized computers that are increasingly awesome for gaming, music, Web browsing, communication, and everything in-between.

So Michael had this idea that could bring back tiny bites of nostalgia for all, a look into the history of the mobile space. Below you will find many of the major happenings for May 25 through May 31 from 2009 forward.

 

2009

Windows Mobile Marketplace

For me, 2009 was a great year. It was the year I walked away from my job as a wireless sales associate and started writing about phones full-time. But man does looking back at some headlines from that year bring back some memories. This week five years ago, we were talking about how Internet Explorer on the Zune HD might foreshadow Windows Mobile 7 efforts. Microsoft hadn’t completely pulled the plug (at least officially) on Windows Mobile yet, and Windows Phone wasn’t even a thing. At the same time, it appeared HTC had tossed VGA panels for WVGA on its high-end devices.

Palm Eos, remember that? It was one of many devices rumored to launch in 2009. The Eos was rumored alongside other nostalgia-inducing phones like the HTC Diamond2, iPhone 3GS, HTC Lancaster (said to be running “Google mobile OS”), BlackBerry Gemini, Magnum, and Onyx, Nokia E71x, Samsung Jack, and many more.

Just days later, our own Brandon Miniman provided an unboxing and software tour of the HTC Touch Pro2.

 

May 27: Internet Explorer Mobile on Zune HD to foreshadow Windows Mobile 7 efforts

May 27: RIP, VGA

May 27: A host of devices rumored for launch

May 29: HTC Touch Pro2 unboxing

May 31: HTC Touch Pro2 software tour

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2010

real-mini

While 2009 was an important year for mobile, 2010 was when everything took off. Companies turned production up to 11 and sliced product life cycles in half. Motorola launched the first rugged, Android-powered PTT smartphone, the i1 for Nextel. Now, Nextel is gone and PTT is all but dead. Samsung’s original Galaxy S smartphone went on sale, Dell was just beginning to break into the smartphone arena with the Streak, and HTC hit a brick wall with its DROID Incredible handset, due to an AMOLED shortage, which we later learned was just Samsung playing coy and hindering a direct competitor.

It may be difficult to remember, but these were the days when BlackBerry handsets were still popular, and T-Mobile had just received the white Bold 9700 to sell on May 28, 2010. The U.S. government announced plans to invest a staggering $8 billion in upgrading GPS technology, and the FCC started looking into carrier overages for ways to fight bill shock.

Oh, and Microsoft announced its rather ambitious plans to sell 30 million Windows Phone 7 handsets by the end of 2011. It missed that mark by a fair margin.

 

May 25: Motorola i1 launched

May 27: Samsung Galaxy S Android phone up for pre-order on Amazon Germany

May 27: Dell Streak 5-inch tablet-smartphone hybrid announced

May 28: Verizon Wireless Droid Incredible shortage due to AMOLED production shortage

May 28: BlackBerry Bold 9700 in white launched on T-Mobile

May 28: US Gov. to invest $8 Billion in GPS upgrades

May 30: Microsoft announced plans to sell 30 million Windows Phone 7 devices by end of 2011

May 30: FCC looks into cell phone overages

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2011

missing-apps-windows-phone

Fast forward another year, and everything started to mature a great deal. The Windows Phone Marketplace, for instance, surpassed the 20,000 app threshold. Now called the Windows Phone Store, it’s home to over 250,000 apps.

T-Mobile halted all sales of the G2x, and many speculated it was due to the insurmountable software bugs that plagued the phone, but T-Mobile later claimed it was only due to very high demand. It then raised the price of the G2x. Some of you may recall that the G2x was easily one of the most problematic smartphones of T-Mobile’s history.

This week in 2011, Verizon got two new phones, the LG Revolution and Xperia Play from Sony, and the DROID X was treated to its Gingerbread update. Don’t get me started on Gingerbread.

Our own Brandon Miniman gave the HP Veer 4G the unboxing treatment and NVIDIA showed off the power of its Tegra 3 SoC with the famous Glowball demonstration app.

 

May 25: T-Mobile halts G2x sales; software bugs to blame?

May 26: Sony Xperia Play and LG Revolution launch on Verizon Wireless

May 27: T-Mobile increases G2x price due to inventory constraints

May 27: Droid X Gingerbread update going out tonight to volunteers

May 27: HP Veer 4G unboxing

May 29: Windows Phone Marketplace hits milestone of 20,000 apps

May 30: NVIDIA Glowball demo shows off more Tegra 3 “Kal-El” capabilities

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2012

007. Samsung Galaxy S III

Thinner is always better, right? That’s been the mentality from roughly 2012 forward, for some mobile OEMs. At CES 2012, Huawei claimed the title for the thinnest phone in the world – just 6.68mm thick. Oppo stole that crown this week two years ago with the Finder, just 6.65mm thick. LG also raised the bar with its 5-inch 1080p smartphone display – no phone attached.

Samsung finally launched its third-generation Galaxy S handset alongside Sony’s announcement of its two water-resistant handsets, the Xperia Go and Xperia Arco S. Meanwhile, Nokia unveiled one of the coolest Windows Phone handsets to date: the limited edition Batman Lumia 900.

On our editorial front, Adam Lein dove into the hacking scene on Windows Phone, which is practically non-existent these days, and Michael Fisher ranted about how his Verizon Galaxy Nexus was anything but … a Nexus.

 

May 28: Oppo Finder claims thinnest smartphone spot by a hair

May 28: Ready for 1080p smartphone screens? LG announces five-inch full HD display

May 28: More Galaxy S III delays: white model now also affected

May 28: Nokia reveals limited edition Batman Lumia 900

May 29: Samsung officially launches the Galaxy S III in 28 countries

May 30: Sony announces water resistant Xperia Go, Xperia Acro S

May 31: A look at the Windows Phone hacking scene

May 31: This ain’t no Nexus phone

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2013

play-edition-htc-one

Excuse the cliché, but for some reason, much of this seems like it was just yesterday. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini was made official alongside HTC’s Google Play edition One M7 and a U.S.-bound Xperia Z from Sony. Tim Cook confirmed iOS 7 would finally show its face at WWDC 2013, and HTC finally addressed its issues (read: misfortune) with component manufacturers.

While those bits of news still seem somewhat fresh, it’s hard to believe Waze was still up for grabs one year ago this week, and the white Nexus 4 was just announced.

 

May 28: Waze was still for sale

May 28: LG announced white Google Nexus 4

May 29: HTC talks strategic advantage of control over phone components

May 29: Tim Cook confirms iOS 7 coming at WWDC 2013

May 30: Samsung Galaxy S4 mini announced

May 30: Google Edition HTC One goes official: launches late June

May 30: Sony CEO confirms Xperia Z coming soon to US carrier

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Suffice it to say, this was a busy week in the history of tech. A lot of things are always going down, though, and we have plenty more nostalgic trips down memory lane that will likely hit you right in the feels. Stay tuned for those, and share your nostalgic stories from this week in history below!

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About The Author
Taylor Martin
Based out of Charlotte, NC, Taylor Martin started writing about technology in 2009 while working in wireless retail. He has used BlackBerry off and on for over seven years, Android for nearly four years, iOS for three years, and has experimented with both webOS and Windows Phone. Taylor has reviewed countless smartphones and tablets, and doesn't go anywhere without a couple gadgets in his pockets or "nerd bag." In his free time, Taylor enjoys playing disc golf with friends, rock climbing, and playing video games. He also enjoys the occasional hockey game, and would do unspeakable things for some salmon nigiri. For more on Taylor Martin, checkout his Pocketnow Insider edition.| Google+