Mobile technology

A brief history of the mobile app


12 May 2019

A brief history of mobile apps

Battered or scratched, shiny or new, here at Ding we just love the mobile phone. Since launching our amazing new app for iOS and Android we thought we’d write a little article on the history of mobile phone apps, taking you down memory lane and revealing some fascinating facts.

It’s impossible to discuss the history of mobile apps without first looking at the mobile phone. The first hand-held mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell and Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing around 4.4 pounds (2 kg).

In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first commercially sold mobile phone and would of set you back a cool $3,995 ($9460 in present-day money), yikes!

Since then, technology has moved at an astonishing rate including features on phones we would never have thought possible like controlling the temperature of house while you’re out or monitoring your heart rate and blood pressure, all through mobile apps of course!

Fun facts about early mobile phones:

  • You could only call a few people a day in your area due to network range issues

  • Because of the terrible battery life you could only makes calls for 30 minutes a day and had to charge your mobile phone for 10 hours.

  • The phones weighed around 2kg and you couldn’t even leave a message. It certainly wouldn’t have anything as interesting on it as an app!


Fast-forward a few years to when phones weren’t the size of a large cavity block...

We would like to introduce one of the first “apps” created to entertain (or waste time whichever you prefer), the game snake, introduced in 1998 as a standard pre-loaded game on Nokia phones, this became a global sensation.

Snake was a game where you controlled a line of dots that, with imagination, looked like a snake. As you turned the snake left or right in a small square screen you tried to eat little squares. These squares would then make you longer with the goal being to not let your front end touch anywhere else on your body.

Jump forward even more, to today’s smart phones and snake seems archaic in comparison. For example just last year some of the most popular apps were: Candycrush (time wasting games are still going strong apparently), Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Minecraft, Pandora, Netflix, and Facebook. Vastly different in all ways to Snake!

But it was in 2007 that saw the real birth of today’s more recognisable mobile apps when the launch of the first iPhone appeared. The iPhone changed everything and became an instant hit all over the world. Now we had a new way to access our phones, through touch screen use which apps dominated.

So what makes mobile apps so popular?

Well for one, most people have smart phones now so apps are easy to access and simply make your life so much better as a result. As the saying goes, there’s an app for that, and its true! There are literally millions of mobile apps now. There are apps for social networks, banking, travel, health, fitness, news, calendars, games, you name it, there is sure to be an app there for it.

Fun facts about mobile apps:

  • The Apple App store adds about 20,000 apps every month!  

  • 87% of app downloaders have used deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon or Living Social. Nielsen

  • In June 2011, the number of U.S. wireless subscriber connections surpassed the U.S. population. CTIA


So where does Ding come in?

Well we of course have an app too! We just released our new and improved version on Android and iOS platforms. We know that mobile phones are the main way people stay connected no matter how far apart which makes your phone very important to you and if your phone is important to you then it’s important to us because we want to help connect people all over the world. The Ding mobile app will make sending top-up much easier, faster and more secure so you can send a top-up wherever you are, whenever you want!


Try it for yourself and see – Download it for FREE

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