No one can deny that 2010 was a turbulent time for technology. From next-gen gaming concepts and tablets to the milestone half-billion Facebook users and insane growth rate of real-time information network Twitter, and everything in between. Recently, CNN broke down what it believes were the top 10 tech stories and trends from this crazy year (in no particular order). We agree with them, and break them down in our own style:
1. Check-in cha-ching. Still an infant idea in 2009, this year saw location-based games, apps, and services explode. Everybody and their dog checks in at locations to tap into coupons, and rewards, win game, meet with friends, or just keep their social network updated. This trend is apt to rise in popularity through 2011.
2. Tablet takeover. iPad paving the way, the tablet market is now a frenzied mass of hungry consumers yearning to get their hands on these devices that, one year prior, most didn't think they needed. But thanks to the magic of Apple marketing, a new product thrives in the competitive mobile computing space. 2011 will this trend grow even larger, as potent competitors like the Blackberry Playbook enter the battlefield.
3. Making motions. Video game controllers are so 2009. Nintendo's Wii paving the way like the iPad did for tablets, Sony's PS3 launched Move and Microsoft's XBOX launched Kinect—the former like the Wii, with motion-sensing, untraditional controllers, and the latter with no controllers at all. As these technologies refine themselves, popularity grows. Who'd have thunk people wanted to stand and move while gaming? Isn't that for sports? This is yet another trend just beginning.
4. Facebook's famous. Okay, so it's been famous pretty much since its controversial inception back in 2004. But it reached an absolutely incredible milestone this year: half of one billion active, registered users. That's 500,000,000 people using Facebook every month—and growing by tens of millions weekly. Earlier this year, students rallied in a Quit Facebook Day campaign; 30,000 people quit the social network, but 30,000,000 joined the same month. The book about Facebook was a best-seller; the movie about it a blockbuster; the site's traffic now exceeds Google's. The future of Facebook is terrifically bright. What year will see the history-making one billion user mark?
5. Apps are awesome. Either you make apps, or you download apps. Constantly. Nobody is unaware of what apps are. Apps are cool. And apps are popular. Apple's iPhone makes particularly good use of them, leading the way with its App Store. Apps will continue to grow in popularity over the next few years and more and more consumers buy smartphones and app developers become more savvy with what their products can do.
6. I spy an iPhone. The iPhone 4 was released to much, much hype—every retailer in North America seemed to have lines wrapping around the block waiting for the device. Nobody could seem to wait a week or even a day to get their hands on the sleek metal and glass device. Even though Apple launches one every year, it's still a bigger and bigger event. This one launched to controversy: reception issues that had CEO Steve Jobs offering millions of free cases and bumpers to prevent "death grips," but that certainly didn't hinder sales.
7. Sexy smartphones. If you don't have a smartphone, you're lame. That's the mantra of the mobile market now. Once again, another 2010 headline has Apple heavily involved—the iPhone was the most popular smartphone of the year. But the Blackberry still dominates business and Google's Android platform continues to excel at a rapid pace. 2011 will be very interesting.
8. Computer-television fusions. Watch TV on your computer. Surf the web on your TV. These two once-seperate devices are becoming increasingly capable of handling each other duties. Google TV and Apple TV—for once, a relatively unsuccessful Apple product—along with services like Netflix have effectively fused the two devices together, and through 2011 and beyond, computers and TVs will continue to become one being, until an television can act as a computer, and probably vise-versa.
9. Privacy problems. The internet is a pretty free-wheeling world, where for the most part, anything goes. But digital footprints are immortal, and very public, and slowly, people are becoming very aware that this is a serious issue: what you do and say online can be tracked, forever, and at any time from now until your deathbed, used against you. Can we trust these millions of websites with our private and personal data? It's a hot topic and only getting hotter as regulators and lawmakers try to wrangle in the wild freedom beast that is the internet.
10. Net neutrality. Always a noble goal, net neutrality is becoming an increasingly important concept as the entire world shifts their lives to the internet. Money shouldn't buy a better internet; voices shouldn't be stifled by corporations; protection must be had for the Average Joe user. The battle will rage on for a while yet, because who can truly contain such a revolution?