Since the 1990s, hybrid imaging by means of software and hardware image fusion alike allows the intrinsic combination of functional and anatomical image information. This review summarises in three parts the state-of-the-art of dual-technique imaging, with a focus on clinical applications. We will attempt to highlight selected areas of potential improvement of combined imaging technologies and new applications. In this first part, we briefly review the origins of hybrid imaging and comment on the status and future development of single photon emission tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT). In short, we could predict that, within 10 years, we may see all existing dual-technique imaging systems, including SPECT/CT, in clinical routine use worldwide. SPECT/CT, in particular, may evolve into a whole-body imaging technique with supplementary use in dosimetry applications.