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 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. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how far the industry has come over the years – 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 we had this idea that could bring back tiny nibbles of nostalgia for all, a look into the history of the mobile space. Below you will find many of the major happenings for week 43 from 2001 and forward.



Recognizing that a soldier’s job is a tough one is important, and any tool that can make that awful, hellish job easier must be welcome. We marveled back in 2001 that soldiers, overseas and on the front lines, were making prolific use of handheld PCs. Today, this is even moreso that case. It’s just interesting to look back at how long the military has been using this kind of technology. Whether it was for Freecell, or infiltration…well, that’s probably classified. But the fact that the military was already on board this train from as far back as then really does speak well to its adoption of modern technology. Gotta give ’em their props for that.

October 23, 2001 – In a time of war, what is a man’s best friend? – A handheld computer… 



Ahh Napster. The evil, revolutionary music service that scared the music industry so much, they had to start ordering medium-sized Jacuzzis. You know, just in case this thing blew up. Well, it turns out “the man” was able to keep us all down. Long enough for YouTube to come around anyway. Anyway, I digress. This was Napster’s attempt at “going legit” and we don’t talk about Napster today, so I guess that demonstrates how successful it was.

All the same, Napster is one of those services that really pushed the boundaries of what was possible with the internet back then. Suddenly, there was this new and wildly popular tech that the rest of the world had to react to. Personally, I think the wrong side won, but at least it was a battle that was fought.

October 20, 2003 – Napster 2 will debut Oct 29th



The desire to make one’s own smartphone has been persistent for some time. This probably harkens back to the time when we could build our own computers. It was often cheaper and always more fun. We could pick out the pieces we wanted, put them all into a box, and bang, we had our own custom-built rig that could stand up to anything. Which was great when our computers were gigantic boxes that sat on our desk, and components had a little wiggle room.

Phones don’t have that kind of luxury, but one company tried it. No, I’m not talking about project Ara. Compulab offered a chip, radios and screens, in a build your own box kind of setup, but for phones. It’s a really intriguing, if completely ridiculous concept. Read on for more details below.

Finally, I came across this article written by Adam Lein opposing a different article predicting the demise of Windows Mobile. Turns out some of the predictions were off a bit, but overall, some very valid conclusions are drawn. Windows Mobile is in fact no longer around in its current form, but Windows 10 Mobile is still here. Two new flagships came out just a couple of weeks ago.

So while Windows Mobile in the form in which it existed in 2007 did in fact die, it is still around today, mostly because Microsoft itself won’t allow it to die. Not a bad thing by any means, but more than that, the article gives us insight into not only the mobile industry, but other industries as well and the preponderance of threes in various industries. It’s worth a look.

October 23, 2007 – Not Happy with HTC? Make Your Own Smartphone!

October 24, 2008 – Cringely’s Wrong, Windows Mobile Will Not Die

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