101 top technology moments of 2008
23rd May 2008 | 15:10
...and we're barely half way through. Here's our pick of why '08s been a cracking year so far
The technology industry is always on the move and it's often hard to guess where it's going next. For example, back in 2007 we were totally unaware that these things would happen…
1. That you could turn the Nintendo Wii’s sensor bar into a cool headtracker.
2. That people would pay a whopping £70 for Nintendo's Wii Fit (which is basically an intelligent bathroom scale). And then get annoyed when it called them 'overweight'...
3. That Panasonic was hiding a 150-inch HD plasma at CES, eclipsing its own 103-inch set. Want one? It’ll cost you $150,000 (£75,705).
4. That Low energy light bulbs could be dangerous to your health. Apparently they can cause nausea, dizziness and migraines.
5. That Warner Bros would strike the killing blow in the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray war. The defeated Toshiba would throw in the tech-towel on the format two months later.
6. That the world's smallest video camera, the Japanese DVR-SP, weighs barely 18g and looks like a cigarette lighter.
7. That Sony's PlayStation 3 would make a comeback after being roundly criticised for being too expensive and for not having enough good games.
8. That Apple’s gorgeous MacBook Air would fit inside a manila envelope. Great ad; sadly, the MacBook Air didn’t turn out to be the great Mac ultra portable we were hoping for.
9. That 40-hour laptop batteries could be on the way. Magical nanotechnology developments promise a 10-fold increase in charge capacity and staying power.
10. That Windows 7 rumours showed up Vista for the old dog of an OS it obviously is.
We also didn’t know…
11. That 2008 would be the year when all the cool kids were talking about the ‘mobile Internet’ and how great it's going to be.
12. That thousands of people would still be showing their love for Windows XP. There was even a petition to stop Microsoft abandoning support for it.
13. That the MOD lost 69 laptops and 7 desktops.
14. That paedophiles are using sat-nav systems to store pornographic images.
15. That an average mobile phone SIM card can apparently withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees and still work.
16. That Qtrax’s sky-high promises of “free music” were too good to be true.
17. That Microsoft would make a $44 billion bid to own Yahoo’s ass. Big money, but (so far) Yahoo is playing hard to get.
18. That the term ‘cybersex’ would be defined as "computer-mediated sexual contact or technologically mediated intimacy". It seems people are getting jiggy in Second Life.
19. That Nvidia would snap up physics chip maker Ageia, best-known for its PhysX technology.
20. That frickin’ electron beams would promise massive hard drives in the near(ish) future. Come in ‘perpendicular recording’… your time is up
And who’d have predicted…
21. That Texas Instruments would be working on new processor technology that could draw its power from the heat of the human body.
22. That mobile phones could make you infertile. Jeez
23. That 44 per cent of the world's spam comes from Europe.
24. That I'm no longer a hard-core gamer. :-(
25. That 47 per cent of British men said they would give up sex for six months in exchange for a 50-inch plasma TV.
26. That Sony Ericsson would be working on its first Windows Mobile-powered phone – the Xperia X1.
27. That you can't ever really leave Facebook.
28. That Polaroid would kill off instant film, having reserved a plot in the tech-graveyard next to HD DVD.
29. That the 3G iPhone would arrive in mid-2008... in June to be exact... probably on the 9th or the 15th… screwing over 2G iPhone owners everywhere...
30. That balloons floating 100,000 feet in the stratosphere could be used to offer mobile phone reception for people living out in the sticks.
In 2007, we were unaware…
31. That Apple is planning some sort of cool Minority Report-style user interface.
32. That Intel was prepping six-core PC processors, codenamed 'Dunnington'. FYI: Dunnington, and the nearby village of Grimston apparently "nestle on a ridgeway which runs from the East Yorkshire Wolds to the city of York, England." More info at www.dunningtonhistory.org.uk.
33. That Sony had a self-charging digital camera in its R&D labs. Requires hand-power.
34. That the world's fastest Internet connection can transfer data at 16.4 terabits per second.
35. That Pioneer, who arguably makes the best plasma TVs, would actually stop making plasma TVs…
36. That you can get two years in the slammer for harassing your ex-girlfriend online. Take note everybody… beware the wrath of a woman e-scorned.
37. That Apple's iPhone SDK would potentially transform the iPhone into a tilting games machine that could rival the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.
38. That pacemakers could be hacked.
39. That Toshiba's investment in the doomed HD DVD format cost half a billion pounds! Or one week's sales of Grand Theft Auto IV.
And who knew…
41. That we'd already be talking about Ultra HD as a replacement for today’s 720p and 1080p HD formats.
42. That social networking on the Internet is now deemed to be bigger than porn. (But is it bigger than Star Trek?)
43. That, however you dress it up, the UMPC is still a crap idea.
44. There's never a good time to buy a new high-definition TV.
45. That you don't have to pay through the nose to get a good high-def TV. You can now pick up last year's £800-£1,000 models for £400-£500.
46. That Grand Theft Auto IV would make more money in a week than a Hollywood blockbuster does in a month.
47. That fashion branding is slowly creeping into technology – you’ve seen the Armani phone, right? There’s also an X Factor USB drive, a Ferrari laptop, a Dior phone, even a Levis phone…
48. That the world's first commercial 3DTV went on sale in Japan. The E465S TV from Hyundai is designed to work with 3D broadcasts from a Japanese cable TV broadcaster.
49. That we could control a video game using only the power of thought.
50. That you can buy light-emitting wallpaper. OK, so it’s £4,765 per roll but you might get a discount if you buy in bulk.
We were suprised...
51. That credit card fraud is a much bigger problem than we thought.
52. That consumers are increasingly abandoning big 5.1 surround systems for much simpler 2.1 setups.
53. That Sharp took its company name from one of its first ever products - the Ever-Ready Sharp propelling pencil.
54. That Britain's most useless gadget isn’t a foot spa or an old Soda Stream. It’s actually an electric nail file.
55. That people still don't give a stuff about Blu-ray.
56. That 460 million litres of foam were used in the shoot for Sony's recent camera ads.
57. That British Lollipop ladies are going to get video cameras to combat road rage.
58. The next-generation of mobile phones will use Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology and be capable of data speeds in excess of 300Mbit/s. Sony Ericsson has already demoed a prototype.
59. The UK's first ‘FibreCity’ is going to be Bournemouth. H2O Networks has installed fibre optic cables in the city’s sewer pipes to supply 100Mbit/s broadband and IPTV services.
60. That a ‘femtocell’ is a small mobile phone transmitter for your living room
Did you know (because we didn’t)…
61. That Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975.
62. That Houdini appeared alongside the first robot to appear in a film.
63. That an electronic device designed to deter sharks from surfers was eaten by a great white during a trial off South Africa.
64. That the Japanese have come up with an MP3 player that makes you more attractive to members of the opposite sex.
65. That MPs can claim the cost of their gadgets back on expenses and taxpayers foot the bill.
66. That DVDs can be bullet-proof.
67. That scientists have created a new type of onion that won't make you cry. Now that’s progress.
68. That face recognition on digital cameras has now evolved into smile recognition.
69. That software piracy in the UK has actually fallen. Armenia apparently has the most pirated software. The Business Software Alliance guesstimates that 93 per cent of software used in the country is pirated.
70. That Philips would even think about pulling out of the TV business.
You might not have realised…
71. That you could boost an iPhone's signal by using sticky tape.
72. That Windows proved to be more secure than OS X on a MacBook Air.
73. That the iPhone would start off as an Apple concept known as the 'Safari pad'.
74. That the BBC iPlayer would be available on the iPhone, Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3... but not the Xbox 360.
75. That the Beatles still wouldn't be available on iTunes.
76. That Bill Gates would make a rib-tickling exit from Microsoft. We're going to miss him.
77. That Microsoft would cut music fans off from songs they'd legally paid for.
78. That Microsoft's profits could actually fall. By 11 per cent, to be exact.
79. That digital radio (DAB) would be doing so badly.
80. That Carbon Nanotubes are as dangerous as asbestos and could cause lung cancer.
We had no idea…
81. That friendly little laptop-seller Rock would go to the wall this year (or spookily have its assets bought up by a company called 'Stone').
82. That everybody would be obsessed by small laptops running Linux in 2008.
83. That we'd ever hear the name 'Gizmondo' again. Don't bring it back. Please.
84. That Cubans weren’t allowed to buy PCs.
85. That AOL would shell out $850 million to buy social networking site Bebo.
86. That Evian could be powering mobile phones by 2010. Samsung has developed a prototype that breaks down water into hydrogen and oxygen, which subsequently react to create electricity.
87. That toxic chemicals in your games console could make your balls shrivel up.
88. That mobile manufacturers wouldn't be able launch a smartphone that was good enough to beat Apple’s iPhone.
89. That I'd still have an old TiVo under the bed. I really should sell it.
90. That the Wireless N standard still wouldn't be ratified.
And we really couldn’t have guessed…
91. That BT Vision would only have 214,000 customers by now.
92. That there was a National Work at Home Daythis year (and I missed it)
93. That if you take the bus from Nottingham to Derby (or vice versa) there’s a chance that you can get free Wi-Fi.
94. That Solid State disk drives would be so bloody expensive. Adding a 64GB SSD to Apple’s MacBook Air will cost you almost as much as buying the laptop itself.
95. That the average UK broadband speed would still be under 3Mb.
96. That somebody would build a robot that could solve any standard Rubik's cube in 35 seconds flat.
97. That ‘haptics’ might just be the next big thing in phone interaction. You touch your phone, your phone touches you back…
98. That nearly 80 million fake DVDs were bought in Britain last year.
99. That if your laptop performance is sluggish and it regularly blue-screens, it's a good indication that your hard drive is about to die.
100. That you can actually buy a rocket-powered helicopter backpack.
101. That there is such a thing as a "slow news day" after all...