Decade in Review: What the Smartphone Has Wrought

When the first Apple iPhone hit the market in 2007, not everyone was convinced it would supplant the flip-phone. When Google’s Android software system arrived a year later, the Blackberry still seemed to have bright future.

But with the iPhone 4 in 2010, featuring a high-resolution display, sleek design and front-facing camera, our collective fate was sealed. Here are 10 ways the smartphone has made its mark over the decade.

Today some 5 billion smartphones are in use around the world, according to Canalysis Research. The total number of internet subscriptions has soared to 7.2 billion globally from 1.3 billion in 2010, the vast majority of them mobile subscriptions, International Telecommunications Union data shows. The explosion in connectivity has been especially dramatic in the developing world, where there are now more mobile connections than people.

Apple Inc, once a niche computer company, is now one of the world’s most valuable companies thanks to the iPhone. The five largest Fortune 500 technology companies – Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook – currently boast a market cap of $4.7 trillion, compared with about $800 billion for the top five in 2010. Not all of that is due to the smartphone, of course, but the mobile-related technologies and services accounted for nearly $4 trillion in economic activity in 2018, according to trade group GSMA.

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