As the count down begins to welcome yet another new year, it’s time to make some cool lists to bid goodbye to 2010. This year has been an awesome year for tech; we’ve seen the launch of some incredible gadgets and the development of a number of new trends, like 3D home entertainment, tablet devices, and, of course, motion control gaming. As 2010 draws to a close, we’ve rounded up the top 5 most popular and some of the biggest tech news stories of the year 2010.
1. Apple Takes Curtains off “The iPad”
Apple made its first tablet computer way back in 1993, but the Newton MessagePad 100 was way ahead of its time. Turns out, 2010 was the year of the tablet. Criticized by some for being a content consumption device that doesn’t allow for the easy creation of new material, the iPad, regardless of critical reception, was a hit with consumers, selling 300,000 units on the first day it was released in April. The device has since been rolled out in several new countries and seems to be a hit with consumers everywhere. While other tablet computers have been released by competing companies, the iPad controls a huge majority of the market.
2. WikiLeaks Fallout: Releases Sensitive Government Documents and Gets Into Trouble (and Controversy)
In 2010, WikiLeaks made manifest the idea that technology had enabled all information to be spread quickly and widely, even if it’s labeled secret by a government. WikiLeaks released three sets of information about American action abroad. Earlier in the year, they made huge caches of documents about Iraq and Afghanistan wars public. Then, beginning last month, the organization began releasing State Department diplomatic cables, leading to calls for Assange’s arrest in the United States. The aftermath of Cablegate led to the first publicly viewable infowar.
3. Microsoft Rolls Out Kinect: Gaming Fans Rejoice
Developed over years by Microsoft, the Kinect, a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience,” was selling faster than the iPad after being released in early November. A series of sensors built into a top-of-the-set device watches your every move and translates them into the movements of an on-screen avatar. Awed by the device, Slate’s culture team dedicated a considerable amount of time to discussing it on one of their weekly podcasts. They came to the conclusion that we’re only just beginning to see the applications for this, which they anticipate will influence a lot more than just how we play games. So huge was the hype that Matt Cutts, a famous Google Engineer announced cash prize for the person who comes up with the best Microsoft Kinect hack!
4. Online Privacy Concerns Escalate: Problem Deepens As Facebook’s Privacy Issue Gets Worse
In the Internet’s early days, the joke was that no one knew your were a dog. In the web’s current, advertising-driven era, we’re all aware that companies know a lot more than our species. From Facebook’s privacy flaps to the Wall Street Journal’s What They Know series of investigations, 2010 feels like a tipping point after which we’ll be forced to confront the reality that our online perambulations leave valuable commercial traces. For years, relevance has been the rallying cry for Internet companies, but that good often comes into direct conflict with privacy. Next year, we expect new compromises to emerge -be they technological, regulatory, or a little bit of both.
5. Netflix Rises and Dominates Web Traffic
It was established in 1997 and launched its DVD-by-mail subscription service two years later in 1999, but it was always called Netflix for a reason. CEO Reed Hastings wanted to offer television shows and movies through the Internet. By offering cheap Internet video streaming through both Windows and Mac computers as well as other Internet-compatible devices (smartphones, tablet computers), Netflix has built up a customer base in excess of 10 million. In October, it was reported that Netflix was responsible for 20 percent of all Internet traffic during peak hours. Compared that to YouTube’s 9.85 percent share and we have a clear winner.