10 tech facts your mates don't know

Become an instant tech trivia mastermind

The next time the conversation lulls around the dinner table or at any social gathering, what you really need is a well-chosen tech-related fact to wow your audience with (and consolidate your status as something of a tech expert). Well, we're here to help.

From the first smartphones to the most powerful computers on Earth, this list of interesting tech facts should keep you going for the foreseeable future: and they should also give you a better understanding of the gadgets and devices you make use of every day.

1. The first iPhone didn't have an App Store

Original iPhone

A smartphone without apps such as Facebook and Snapchat may seem unthinkable now, but the first iPhone (launched in 2007) didn't offer an App Store - all the apps installed on the device were Apple's own. The next year, the iOS App Store was launched alongside the iPhone 3G; the Android Market followed later on in 2008 and the rest is history. There are now some 1.4 million apps available for the iPhone.

2. We only keep 1 in 10 of the apps we try

Speaking of mobile phone app stores, it's tough out there for developers: analysts estimate that around 80-90 percent of the apps installed on smartphones are eventually deleted in the long term, which means we only stick with around 1 in 10 of them. When you're up against users who are that fickle, it's no wonder that the big hitters in the app world attract an awful lot of investment.

3. 205 billion emails are sent every day

According to the best estimates we have, around 205 billion emails are sent and received every single day across the world. Email has of course helped to revolutionise the way we communicate - enabling us to send messages from one side of the planet to the other, instantly and for free - but sending emails has now become so convenient and widespread that managing our inboxes effectively is an increasingly difficult challenge.

4. Apple and Microsoft were once partners

There's not much love lost between Apple and Microsoft nowadays - Microsoft's appearance at the iPad Pro launch notwithstanding - but the two companies have worked very closely together in the past. When the first Apple computers were being developed in the early 1980s, Microsoft was working on several important programs for them. Only when the two companies began producing their own graphical operating systems (now Mac OS and Windows) did the rivalry truly begin.

5. Digital music sales have only just overtaken physical music sales

The iPod has been with us since 2001 and Spotify launched back in 2008, but it was only last year that revenue from digital download sales and subscriptions overtook revenue from physical music formats like CDs and vinyl ($6.85 billion versus $6.82 billion in case you were wondering). Overall, the music industry as a whole is raking in about 38 percent of the money it was making back in the heady days of 1999.

6. Amazon chose its name because "A" is early in the alphabet

The story of online retailer Amazon is well worth looking into in full, but here's a bit of trivia for you: founder Jeff Bezos chose the name because at the time Yahoo listed its search results in alphabetical order. The company's original moniker was Cadabra (as in "abracadabra") but apparently this was too close to "cadaver" and so the switch was made. It just goes to show what a difference a name can make.

7. The first web browser was called WorldWideWeb

WorldWideWeb browser

Trying to define the birth of the internet is difficult because it depends exactly what you mean by the term, but what we think of as the modern web - accessing pages through a browser - was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, and he wrote the first web browser too. It was called WorldWideWeb (later Nexus) and it originally launched images files in separate windows. It enabled pages to be edited as well as viewed.

8. The most powerful computer in the world is in China

The Tianhe-2 (or TH-2), located in the National Supercomputer Centre in Guangzhou, China, is currently the most powerful computer in the world. Developed by a team of 1,300 scientists and engineers, it's capable of performing 33.86 quadrillion floating point operations every single second - that makes it about 5,000 times more powerful than the best consumer laptop you could configure. Despite its impressive performance, it's very difficult to write software for.

9. 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

Life isn't easy when you're the biggest and most well-known video sharing site in the world. A Google spokesperson has confirmed that YouTube's servers have to cope with the demands of 300 hours of video being uploaded every single minute from across the globe. That demands a lot of storage space and processing power, but the question is, when are we ever going to get around to watching it all?

10. The iPhone makes a lot of money

Apple Store

Most people know the iPhone is hugely successful, but do you (and your friends) know just how successful? For the last three months that we have figures for, revenue from the handset reached $51.5 billion, just from iPhones - compare that with the entire revenues of Google ($18.78 million), Microsoft ($20.4 billion) and Facebook ($4.5 billion) and you start to see what a money spinner the iPhone really is.

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David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.