Engadget earlier in the week posted an entry under the title 'Ten Gadgets that Defined the Decade', you can read it here. So I was curious to see what I thought were the gadgets and technologies that I thought were game changing devices.
So in alphabetical order:
Like most on the list there were mp3 players around before the iPod, however it was the iPod that really cracked the market. The iPod really taught the manufacturers what actually needed to be done to make the mp3 player successful and work well. It is debatable whether this device is the best mp3 player around at the moment, however it certainly created lots of competition!
The iPhone taught the lesson of conversion; putting several devices in to one and doing it well behind a touch screen. Without the iPhone we wouldn't devices such as the Palm Pre or the firmware of Google's Android. In addition we have seen a huge increase of touch screen devices, which have been a mixed blessing! The iPhone is the reason we have the perfect pairing of Android and HTC!
Those who are observational will point out that 4oD came first, however it was BBC's iPlayer that really got it sussed! Originally out for just Windows Xp, however now expanded beyond just the landscape of basic computers on to various mobile devices and even onto games consoles. What iPlayer did was made the Beeb's content freely available in a online format, 4oD, ITV Player, Hulu and other online services have based their services on iPlayer. However that aside looking into the future Internet Protocol TV with the delivery of live broadcasts and on demand TV iPlayer and such like have a big future.
Love it or hate it the iTunes music store really has made a difference both to users and to the music industry. Before the store music downloads were typically illegally done through programs such as Napster, Kazaa or LimeWire. Now with a legal method users have even been given control over music charts with downloads playing a huge part in the weekly top 40 charts.
While Amazon's Kindle hasn't taken off hugely in the UK it has been a huge success in the US creating a new medium of eBooks. With Amazon's huge database of eBooks online, Whispernet and their expansion to other devices such as the iPhone it has created a service to aim for by the competition. Sony's eBook reader has been latched onto by Waterstones and has been forced to step up the mark with the release of the Kindle in the UK.
Linux (The Popularisation of...)
Linux is not a new idea, not be a long shot, and certainly it isn't a creation of this decade, however it is the popularisation of Linux in consumer devises, et al that has transformed the technology of this decade. Almost everything from modern TVs and mobile phones to media players and GPS devices run a basic cut down form of Linux to run many of the key features. This makes Linux the dominant operating system.
Multicore processors have changed the way that users can use their computers, with just a single core processing several tasks at a time, or processing one huge task such as video rendering, took ages. With the expansion to multiple cores within a processor computers are now able to process multiple tasks such as video and photo editing simultaneously.
Normally I would laugh at anyone who said that MySpace deserved anything when you have much more exciting things such as Facebook or Twitter, however it was MySpace that really took off and created real social networking that people used. In turn the idea of social networking is a key part of what we now know as web 2.0 which has radically transformed the web.
USB Memory Stick
Any thing that killed the floppy disc deserves an award, so it gets a place on my list of tech of the decade! I found my first memory stick a couple of weeks ago; 8Mb, now you can get 128Gb at the same physical size, I have hard drives smaller than that! I'll actually broaden out the place to flash memory which has allowed technologies to memory cards, solid state drives and all the application that comes with it; cameras, laptops, phones, etc
Nintendo created something special when the Wii was released, no it wasn't the hard core gamer console that we expected from Sony or Microsoft, however what they did was create a console that allowed people who are not gamers to enjoy it, in addition to that they created a console with a radically new way of controlling the game.