A nostalgic look back at the hottest tech the year the first iPhone appeared – CNET

In 2007, Netflix streaming was just starting out, flip phones were king, and then iPhones arrived and changed everything.
It’s hard to overstate how significant 2007 was in tech history. Facebook and Twitter reached new benchmarks, and Steve Jobs’ Apple blew the doors off with the introduction of the iPhone.
Let’s rewind and review a remarkable year from a tech perspective.
The top-selling game system hit stores in late 2006, but it took until 2007 for game developers to come “to grips with the powerful new hardware” of the PlayStation, as well as the Xbox 360. The good news is that, when they did realize the potential of the program, we got the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted. Today, it’s all about the PS5if you can find one.
In 2000, Americans were sending an average of 35 text messages a month. By the close of 2007, the number was up to 218, and for the first time we were sending more texts (with the help of a BlackBerry Curve‘s QWERTY keyboard, possibly) than making phone calls. In 2022, we bid BlackBerry adieu, but texting remains an integral mode of communication.
There’s a reason you and your significant other never say you’re going to “Movielink and chill.” That’s because in 2007, Netflix moved into the “embryonic world of internet movie distribution,” and showed competitors how “films [and] TV shows can be viewed instantly.”
CNET’s only reservation at the time was whether the service could “re-create the feeling you get finding those red [DVD] envelopes in the mail.”
On Jan. 9, 2007, at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a “magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” The hype was real. The iPhone was more than a $500-$600 phone that “plays iTunes and surfs the web.” It was a digital revolution in 4.8 ounces.
The second-generation version of Honda’s Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility robot (or Asimo) was a star of CES 2007. The humanoid with the “cute appearance” kicked a football, ran and boogied.
Designed to help people with mobility issues, the new Asimo was described by CNET as “an impressive accomplishment [with] a long way to go before it’s ready for commercial sale.”
In a big year for gaming, the “arguably best new game of the year” was this sci-fi first-person shooter classic. “Every level is perfectly paced and balanced and graced with soaring architectural compositions,” raved Time.
Just three years after it was hatched in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room, and one year after it moved beyond college and high-school campuses, the social network “[came] into its own” and was valued at more than $1 billion (it would eventually hit $1 trillion by 2021). All that, plus you could still “poke” your friends.
The big innovation in the 2007 version of Apple’s Core 2 Duo model wasn’t so much the hardware as the color, or lack thereof. Nothing said cool more than this MacBook in all white. By 2021, the color had returned to Apple’s aesthetic, with a new line of rainbow iMacs.
Before a certain Apple device arrived, this “ubiquitous” flip-phone line, with 130 million sold, was the ultimate in cellphone luxury. It was wanted and desired — and came in hot pink. “This phone was so stylish it was worth extra overtime,” Digital Trends said. Motorola’s Razr phone was rereleased as a foldable phone in 2019 to much fanfare.
Only 10 months after the debut of the iPhone, Google and tech giants such as T-Mobile and Motorola announced an open-source platform for mobile devices. The first Android-equipped phones appeared in 2008. By 2016, the operating system dominated 82 percent of all new smartphones sold. Android continues to dominate in 2022 — these are the best Android phones you can buy now.
Launched in 2006, the 140-character-limiting social media site “blew up” at the 2007 SXSW Interactive Festival, hitting 60,000 messages (not yet called tweets) a day. Dodgeball didn’t know what hit it.
“Twitter is winning the SXSWi battle,” CNET said.
The N95 “promises to revolutionize the market” according to CNET’s 2007 review. Its “cutting-edge 5-megapixel camera” helped win it the nod over Apple’s game changer. At about $750, it was also more expensive than the iPhone.
Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos unveiled his company’s flagship e-reader in November 2007. The first-generation device cost $399, weighed about 10 ounces and stored up to 200 books, more than twice as many as the Sony PRS-500, which debuted in 2006.
A year after “Who Killed the Electric Car?” documented the demise of the green auto in the 1990s, General Motors became the first US automaker to preview a plug-in hybrid. The Volt made its commercial debut in 2011 en route to becoming the top-selling plug-in car. EVs are still a hot topic in 2022.
With its iPhone blowing minds and budgets, Apple returned in September 2007 with an iPhone-esque look (and price) for its MP3 player. The iPod Touch added Wi-Fi capability to the line’s bag of tricks. It originally sold for $399 (roughly £320 or AU$520). You can still buy an iPod today, believe it or not.
With Hulu still in development and Netflix streaming only getting started, Joost was the leader in the “internet TV” space. In 2007, it had 1 million beta testers for its “episodes of CSIold G.I. Joe cartoons… [and] the NHL playoffs.” By 2009, it had been beaten at its game by Hulu and by growing “too big, too fast.”
2007 was the year the cathode ray tube — the boxy TV that had been the TV set since forever — got kicked to the curb in favor of the sleek LCD. Sales of the latter outpaced the former for the first time.
With 185 million registered users, the power of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. behind it and a new “scripted web series” (Roommates), MySpace was first among all social networks… or at least it was, until Facebook and Twitter left it behind and even Tom, one of your original “top 8” friends, left the company.
Even in a remarkable tech year like 2007, there were stumbles. Exhibit A: This 7 Studios game that was published three years after the Jon Heder movie became a cult hit.
It wasn’t just the timing that was off: “[T]he developers cobbled together a collection of minigames that seem like they were cribbed from the most mediocre cell-phone games imaginable,” GameSpot said.
In October 2007, the Grammy-winning band digitally released its seventh album, “In Rainbows,” and asked fans to pay what they thought it was worth (from zero up to “about $212”). The then-radical pricing experiment ended two months later, when the album was issued on CD, but by then you were probably already listening to it via your iHome docking station.
The wow starts now,” the TV commercial said. But the truth was, Vista was a delay-plagued operating system when it hit stores in January 2007. It was on the road to “insignificance” just two years later with the advent of Windows 7. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called Vista his biggest corporate regret. Today, PC users are upgrading to Windows 11.

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