10 years ago in tech: This is what caused a buzz in 2009

In the tech world, 10 years is a very long time, with technology experts and futurists predicting even more exponential growth in the capabilities of technology as the years go on.

Just looking at this list of the biggest tech news of 2009 will make the almost inevitable improvement of technology abundantly clear.

1. Netbooks

Before tablets became as popular as they are today, and before the immense computing capabilities of modern-day mobile phones, netbooks wore the crown, and 2009 was their year. These smaller, low-power and low-priced PCs were all the rage a decade ago, with many a consumer opting to spend their money on a netbook, rather than on a traditional laptop. In fact, close to a quarter of PC sales in Europe consisted of netbooks in 2009.

2. Snow Leopard and Windows 7

Computer operating systems seem to now be upgraded more often than ever, but in 2009, two operating systems had chins wagging. Windows 7 provided a faster, slimmer and more streamlined version of the operating system than its predecessor, the hugely unpopular Windows Vista, while Mac’s Snow Leopard OS also cut the fat and, rather counter intuitively, left users with more available hard drive space after the upgrade. Since 2009, we’ve seen two Windows operating systems come and go (the third and latest upgrade being Windows 10, released in 2015) while Apple (macOS 10.14 Mojave is the company’s latest software upgrade) has released eight upgrades to its OS.

3. The rise of the app store

The popularity of downloading apps specifically made for certain handsets took off in 2009, and there weren’t just two supreme rulers of the app store domain a decade ago. The Apple App Store was officially launched in 2008, and its sizable offering of mobile apps for the iPhone lit a fire under rival mobile competitors. The Google Play Store, then called Google Marketplace, saw a large expansion in its offering of apps in 2009, with BlackBerry, Samsung and Nokia all launching their own app stores in response to the rise in popularity among users.

4. Android OS becomes a thing

Released in 2008 on the Google G1 mobile phone, Android took off in 2009, thanks to its use in mobile phones created by other manufacturers. Suddenly Android was also being used as the operating systems for e-readers and tablets, too, and its destiny as Apple’s main rival in the world of OS was sealed.

5. Mobile navigation goes mainstream

Adapt or die, states the adage, and the most popular GPS companies probably rue their decision to not jump on the mobile bandwagon in the late naughties. Apple was the first to include turn-by-turn navigation on its mobile phones, and Android soon followed suit. Says an article in Popular Mechanics: “While it’s too early to declare the stand-alone automotive GPS systems obsolete, the burden is on traditional GPS-makers to find new ways of staying relevant.” Perhaps not obsolete, but certainly not as exclusive, competitive or relevant as they used to be, it’s safe to say.

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