#10yearchallenge: This is what flagship smartphones looked like 10 years ago

Smartphone #10yearchallenge: Here's how phones a decade ago look next to their modern successors
In the spirit of the trendy #10yearchallenge which might or might not be used by Facebook in training its in-house AI project, we decided to take a look back and explore what the mobile industry looked like 10 years ago. We really shouldn't forget our roots. If anything, the mobile industry has recently proved that history repeats itself by reinventing the slider phone and sort of about to "reimagine" the flip phone by coming up with foldable devices.

Technically speaking, no major manufacturer has yet released their offering in 2019, but we'd still compare their decade-old phones with the current best devices they have on the shelves.

Let's take a look back at the brands and manufacturers that were considered the ultimate Crème de la crème back in 2009, in a time when Farmville ruled over a Facebook that was still cool with the kids, Barack Obama took office for the first time, and "Tik Tok" was merely a single by Kesha.


In 2009, Apple was really struggling to introduce any meaningful upgrade to the original iPhone released two years prior. For all its worth, that "S" at the end stood for little more than an incremental upgrade, a tradition that would subsequently catch up with Apple and accentuate the minor yearly  refreshes of its iPhone releases. Aside from little to no changes in the exterior, the software of the iPhone 3GS wasn't really cutting it at the time, too, with webOS, Symbian, Android, and WIndows Mobile really giving Apple's software team a run for the money. 


That's right, basically the Galaxy lineup turns 10 this year as the Godfather of Samsung's smartphone family was announced and released a decade ago. Similarly to its multiple flagship offspring over the years, the original Galaxy had an AMOLED display that was spanning across 3.5 inches, a rather standard flagship screen size at the time. There was also a 5MP camera and some rather humble hardware that struggled in some situations. The Galaxy i7500 was Samsung's first phone to run a relatively new but very promising operating system you might've heard of. It was called Android. 

10 years later, the Galaxy lineup has blossomed into one of the the leading families of Android phones. 2019 is also shaping up to be a rather eventful year for Samsung, which is announcing its 


No way around that, the HTC Hero was undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best Android phone at the time. Aside from the intriguing curved design and the odd trackball that actually worked wonders in the early days of Android, the HTC Hero also stands out with its anti-scratch, anti-smudge teflon coating that actually turned out to be an excellent choice on HTC's part. Fast forward a decade ahead and HTC is in quite the dire straits as it's been struggling to remain a competitive force on the smartphone market. 

While HTC has not released its 2019 flagship yet, the best device in its current portfolio is the U12+; here's to hoping its successor has all the bells and whistles to be competitive.


10 years ago, Sony was still known as Sony Ericsson and hadn't shown any interest into Android yet. That's why most of its phones at the time came with either Sony's proprietary smartphone system (OSE), Windows Mobile, or even Symbian S60. 10 years ago, the Xperia X2 was announced with Windows Mobile powering the show, a great 3.2-inch display, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and one of the best cameras on a Windows Mobile-powered device at the time.

In 2019, Sony is expected to step up its game with a slew of smartphones, with the Xperia XZ4 being the most anticipated one right now. Currently however, the Xperia XZ3 is definitely the best device the Japanese manufacturer has in the lineup.


Remember the LG enV Touch? Sure you do. Released 10 years ago, this slider phone was one of the bigger competitors of Apple's iPhone lineup and one of the most popular devices on Verizon in 2009. With two 3-inch displays, neat appearance, improved user interface and music player, a 3MP autofocusing camera, document viewer, excellent call quality and reception, the LG enV Touch was quite possibly one of the highlights of the mobile space in 2009.

A decade later, the best phone LG has in its portfolio at the time of writing is the LG V40, a sleek and mostly-underrated flagship that was left in the shadows of others.


How can we forget the OG Droid, the Motorola Droid, the first device to come with Android 2.0 and Google Maps navigation on deck! The slider had excellent ergonomics, display, call quality, reception, and overall attention to detail, which were more than enough to make it a household name. Sure, it had its fair share of issues, namely a teeny-tiny keyboard and not-so-great battery life, but overall, the OG Droid was a trooper.

A decade in the future and Motorola is still heavily-invested in Android, with the Z3 being the crown jewel in its current lineup. We are excited to see what the company hasin store for us!


With excellent performance, admirable multitasking in a time when that was still a rather exotic word for smartphones, superb browsing experience, and a great screen, the Nokia N900 was quite possibly the best smartphone in Nokia's rather eventful year of 2009. Only the rather limited number of Symbian applications could have been cited as a major downside of the N900, and still this didn't prevent it from being an excellent overall performer. A classic phone from a classic manufacturer.

In 2019, Nokia should probably finally release that anticipated Nokia N9 flagship which has been in the cards for more than a year now. Until this happens, however, the current best device in Nokia's current portfolio is the Nokia 8 Sirocco. 
Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless