Special Report

How Technology Has Changed the World Since 2010

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16. Alternative to iPhones

The first iPhone, launched in 2007, was not the first smartphone, but it revolutionized the cellphone market. Since then, Apple and other tech companies — Samsung, Huawei, Google, Sony, HTC, LG, Microsoft — have introduced many versions of smartphones, with each advanced version one offering more and more features. With the features, apps also evolved and related services, from paying for services with your phone to mapping the fastest route.

Today, the world is basically at our fingertips. The smartphone has become so popular as a device that in the U.S. alone, more than 265 million Amercians are estimated to own one — that’s about 81% of the U.S. population.

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17. Crowdsource funding

Crowdsourcing has been around in one form or another since the 18th century. (The word “crowdsourcing,” a combination of “crowd” and “outsourcing,” was first used in 2006). But what made it extremely popular and a common way for people to raise money for their creative projects was Kickstarter, which launched in April 2009. Since then, more than $4.5 billion have been invested in successful projects. Now, there are more than a dozen crowdsourcing platforms for product or project realization.

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18. E-readers are affordable

The Kindle was not the first e-reader. They have been around since at least a decade prior. But Amazon, with its first Kindle released in 2007, helped start what CNN Money described as the Age of E-Book. At first, the device cost $399, hardly affordable for the masses. Now, however, they go for less than $90, and $60 if you buy the basic version.

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19. Multi-use rockets

It used to be that when a rocket, or anything, was launched into space, it could not be used again. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, made history in 2017 with the launch of the first ever recycled rocket. SpaceX’s biggest competitor, Blue Origin, owned by another billionaire, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is also developing reusable launch vehicles that will eventually be able to carry people and satellites for the government or private citizens.

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20. Solar roofs

Tesla, another company co-founded by Elon Musk, developed entire roofs made of solar panels. The roofs are an integrated electricity-generating structure that will help power homes and cars. They haven’t been a hit in the United States so far, but the company has been exporting solar roofs abroad, according to Reuters.