Introducing DT10, our look back at a decade of tech, and into the future

When calendars turned over at the beginning of 2006, there was no Tesla, Tinder, or Twitter. Hell, there wasn’t even an iPhone yet. And Digital Trends was just an idea rattling around the heads of a couple of ordinary geeky guys from Oregon.

Ask them why they did it and you’ll get the most honest answer you’ll ever get from a businessman.

“We loved gadgets,” co-founder Ian Bell says. “Why wouldn’t we start a tech site?”

“Ian and I met at a mutual friend’s wedding in the buffet line to get food,” says Dan Gaul, co-founder of Digital Trends. “He was talking to a guy about a phone [the guy] had that wasn’t even on the market yet. Ian said, ‘Man I’d love to get my hands on cool stuff like that.’ I said I’d build the website if you get the products.” So the pair scrimped and saved and eventually rented a small office above a Swedish furniture store in Lake Oswego, Oregon, before launching a blog on this new service called “WordPress” that everyone was talking about.

Digital Trend Site Design Timeline
Digital Trends’ design evolved from distinctively dark in early years, to the brighter modern look we have today.
Digital Trends’ design evolved from distinctively dark in early years, to the brighter modern look we have today.

Today, DigitalTrends.com gets 25 million unique visitors a month, and recently crossed a new threshold: The site dished out 90 million page views in June. Along the way, it built a video arm that serves up millions of views each month, added a sister site – The Manual, the Essential Guide for Men – and a Spanish-language version, and has expanded tremendously.

“…and the tech world that Digital Trends seeks to explain exploded around us.”

It was a long climb for a couple of guys from Oregon, explains Nick Mokey, employee number one and current Managing Editor.

“I showed up the first day wearing a tie and almost got laughed out of the office,” Mokey jokes. Yet the site thrived, and the tech world that Digital Trends seeks to explain exploded around us. The iPhone was born. The smartphone revolution gripped the planet. Cars and clothes and kitchen appliances all got smarter. Twitter was born, went public, grew, shrank, annoyed us, and reminded us why we love the Internet.

It was a remarkable 10 years. Geniuses emerged; our heroes passed away. Footballs were thrown, deflated or otherwise (we love you, Tom). Tiger Woods dazzled and disgusted us. They came up with something called a “cronut.”

Meanwhile, DT grew and expanded. We hailed the death of the Zune. We took the first steps to uncover the real cost of Obamacare’s website, healthcare.gov. We spoke to Jesse Jackson, who warned us of the Digital Divide. We explored the underground world of vaping – and maybe took a puff or two (sorry, Bill: We inhaled).

And along the way, oh, how technology thrived.

“It’s been amazing to watch,” explains Nathan Bell, Ian’s brother and employee No. 2. “It used to be, you were either into technology or you weren’t. Now there’s tech in my car, my gym bag, my watch …”

The world ahead will be even wilder. In the next decade, we’ll discard our driver’s licenses in favor of cars that do the driving for us. We’ll embrace biohacking and the art of human augmentation. And maybe even find a way to slow the aging process. We’ll go from dating online to finding the perfect mate through genetics … well, maybe we will.

portland-downtown-mt-hood
Perched in the US Bancorp Tower at left, DT’s current office boast a commanding view of Mount Hood.
Perched in the US Bancorp Tower at left, DT’s current offices boast a commanding view of Mount Hood.

To celebrate this dynamic decade, Digital Trends is proud to unveil the DT10. Over the next few months, we’re going to take a look at the world around us, examining how it’s changed over the past 10 — and thinking about where it’s going. And not just the small stuff. We’re looking at the big topics: Biology. Dating. Cars. Space travel. Sports. Clothing. Music, and more.

We’ve spent the past few months interviewing leading experts in their field to find out firsthand how life has changed over the years – and to learn where scientists, businessmen, researchers, and thought leaders think the path will take us in the next decade. Visit www.dt10.com for the entire series, starting today and running through the end of the year.

From 2006 to 2026, here’s where tech has been, where it brought us, and the crazy places it’s about to take us.

Gaming

How skillful translations helped these Japanese video games gain global appeal

Thanks to their translators, some Japanese games are seeing greater success abroad than at home, teaching players about Japan and its culture in the process.
Podcasts

The Future of Mobile Devices: 5G, Foldable, AR, and more

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Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Home Theater

Reasons not to mount a TV over your fireplace (and other helpful tips)

Mounting a TV above your fireplace may be popular and it might even seem appealing, but we have some concerns. We've got a list of reasons why placing your digital picture machine over a fire should be avoided, if at all possible.
Product Review

Razer just made our favorite gaming laptop even more powerful than before

The Razer Blade, our favorite gaming laptop, is now more powerful than ever before. That’s thanks to the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards inside. Do they help Razer retain its edge over the competition?
Gaming

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.
Gaming

Bringing realism to VR is complex, but these developers found a way in holograms

Making virtual reality feel real is the hardest job of all VR developers. For Awake: Episode One, StartVR used volumetric recording, rather than motion capture, to bring its characters to life like never before.
Cars

Mazda Hot Lap Challenge winner to test drive in MX-5 Cup car

Mazda Motorsports and iRacing partnered to find undiscovered talent in the gaming world. Now there’s a winner who has earned a test day in a Global MX-5 Cup car, and a new chance to win in 2019.
Mobile

Schubert left Symphony No. 8 unfinished. A smartphone’s A.I. just completed it

We all know computers can be used to make music, but can artificial intelligence be used to not only generate music, but complete one of the most famous unfinished symphonies of all time? Huawei has used its A.I. to find out.
Home Theater

From live VR to the stadium beer line, 5G will revolutionize how we watch sports

As 5G prepares to roll out across the U.S., nearly every experience will benefit, including sports. Instant mobile access to blazing-fast internet will change the way we experience our favorite sports, both in the stadium and at home.
Emerging Tech

The next big challenge for Google’s A.I. is a card game you’ve never heard of

DeepMind, the Alphabet-owned deep learning company, thinks the next big challenge in A.I. is mastering a cooperative card game about fireworks, called Hanabi. Here's why it's so tough.
Health & Fitness

My niece lost her hearing. This is a story about how technology brought it back

For people with profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can restore sound. We explore what the procedure entails, how the system works, and take a look at the latest developments from Australian company Cochlear.
Computing

The web has grown up, but browsers haven’t. It’s time for a reboot

The web has changed a lot over the years, and so has the way we use it. The thing that hasn’t changed? The web browser, the tool every one of us depends on. Here's why it's well past time for new ideas.
Emerging Tech

Does a steam-powered spacecraft hold the key to exploring the solar system?

A newly developed spacecraft prototype capable of using steam as a propellent may help the first miners survey potential dig sites and identify space rocks best fit for mining missions. Future versions may be fitted with sensors, allowing…