10 tech trends to look out for in 2010
3rd Dec 2009 | 13:08
3D, cloud email, LED, super smartphones and more
1-5: LED, iPhone apps and life monitoring
In the future, your mouse will cook you breakfast, computers will float in the sky and the world will be a generally more peaceful place.
Until then, here are a few interesting advancements that we reckon will shape technology during 2010.
1. LED makes a big impact on the LCD market
Ask anyone who has seen an LED display - such as the Sharp LE700 AQUOS LED LCD series - and they will swear by them: higher contrast of 2M:1, crisper visuals, lower power usage. LED displays still use LCD technology but use a different kind of backlight for a noticeably brighter screen. Sizes range from 32-inch to 52-inch and (at least with the Sharp) only cost a small premium more than older LCDs.
2. Making an app will get easier
Everyone knows Apple has a goldmine with the iPhone - over 100,000 apps and counting. Making these apps is not rocket science, but it's also not as easy as pouring a glass of milk. Next year, several companies will capitalize on the market by offering tools that make it easy to create apps. One company - DoApps already provides a way to make a news applet.
3. Internet appliances become common
The TwitterPeek may be a disaster (too slow, too weird) but internet appliances that run their own custom apps - think the Chumby on steroids - will become ubiquitous. Several companies, including Logitech and Sonos, already have apps for devices like the Squeezebox Radio and the WikiReader (while not strictly an internet-connected device) taps into the power of the Web.
4. Your iPhone connects to everything
We already mentioned that the iPhone rules the universe. (Android and BlackBerry users, we love you too). Now it will extend its reach even further - devices such as the Sonos already come with an iPhone app for controlling music while the Line 6 app enables you to control your guitar. We'll see a lot more of these.
5. Monitor your life, even when you sleep
Monitoring is usually the purview of nefarious corporate goons who track web usage and emails. The Nike Plus (included free with the iPhone 3GS) proved that it was OK to share intimate details (such as where you ran and for how long) while there's Google Latitude and other location based apps. Next year, more gadgets will expose your life to the world. For example, the Zeo lets you share sleep patterns.
6-10: Cloud email, 3D and home security
6. Cloud email really takes off
Microsoft released Exchange Online over a year ago, but companies are finally taking the bait: cloud email costs much less than on-premise email, is far easier to configure, and some of them (most notably IBM iNotes) use state-of-the-art encryption.
7. 3D goes mainstream in the home - finally
We've been writing about 3D in the home for years - but most of the 3D monitors and goggles leave you dizzy, sick, or just confused by reality. Nvidia has hit a home run with the 3D Vision and none too soon: theatrical movies like Toy Story 3D and Avatar will be major 3D extravaganzas when they comes out on Blu-Ray next year. 3D Vision is easy to configure, and works well with many current 3D games on the PC. And then there's also 3D TV - Sky is set to launch a channel in the UK next year.
8. Open source alternatives finally mature
Have you jumped on the Linux bandwagon yet? It is the one that has the newly rotated tyres and the "Microsoft sucks" logo on the bumper. The good news if you switch is that there are now more powerful alternatives to the big name commercial wares, including Scribus, RhythmBox, and Inkscape. These products (unlike OpenOffice) are actually easier to use and in many cases more powerful.
9. Major desktop apps arrive on smartphones
Here's an emerging trend we can get behind. While the first wave of smartphone apps over the past two years were cool and innovative, the major software developers were a bit timid about the platform. Not anymore; Autodesk has released SketchBook Mobile for iPhone, Adobe popped Photoshop for Android and the iPhone, and FileMaker has released the Bento 3 database client. More on the way soon.
10. DIY home security goes legit
The home security market falls into two camps: the real monitoring services and the DIY kits form companies like D-Link. The Archerfish Solo is a hybrid because it has industrial-strength tech, recognizing the difference between a delivery person or an intruder, for example. What comes next? A holographic security guard?
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