After living through this decade, we don’t know why anybody would still want to party like it was 1999. Ten years is a long time. Most of these products, services and technologies we mention you may not even remember what it was life was like before their existence. Before this decade a cell phone was just a cell phone—all you could do was call and it most definitely flipped-up or had a mini antenna. This decade was filled with innovations, creations and revelations beyond many people’s wildest dreams. The technology from the decade you just survived would have made Newton applaud, Tesla smile and Da Vinci giggle with glee. Go to the next page to see are our picks for the best technologies from this past decade.
If there was any device to make Steve Jobs look more like a mad wizard, it’d be the iPhone. Apple has always wowed the tech industry, but this decade the company has really developed some amazing innovations and devices. The original smartphone first hit store on June 29, 2007 and since then Apple has sold more than 30 million iPhones. The current version of the Apple wonder phone allows users to talk and browse the Web at the same time. The Apple iPhone completely transformed the world’s idea of what a cellular phone is and what it can do.
You know you’re influential when you’re company is turned into a verb, and if you don’t know what we’re talking about then you should probably Google it. We’re just going to appoint Google the winner of this decade—just of everything—they win everything. Good job Google. Even if you don’t like the company, you’re still got to be impressed with what they’ve accomplished. This Mountain View, CA company went from being a silly-named search engine to a conglomerate it is today with a multitude of services including email, photo-sharing, smartphone development, computing and mobile operating systems development, navigational mapping, and so much more.
Why you ask, why not Windows 7? Well dear reader, Windows XP wins this Microsoft OS toss up because it is still the most preferred and used Windows operating system to-date. The popularity of XP grew with the arrival of netbooks which used (and still does) Windows XP as its operating system. Windows Vista might have well not even existed—and a lot of Vista users wish it didn’t—because Microsoft offered the first ever downgrade to XP. Windows XP set the tone for a Windows operating system throughout this decade. Without XP we would not have the speedy Windows 7—even though most 7 users will admit it’s about the same as when they used XP. Good job Microsoft, thank you for making something that works and is still working even in 2010.
Facebook and Twitter—like Google—are now both verbs. “Hey Mom, I’ll just be in my room Facebooking, call me when dinner’s ready.” Or when you get caught “twittering” or “tweeting” at work. There’s a good variety of social networking sites out there today, but we feel the two most influential (and fun) are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook went live at the beginning of 2004 and today it has over 350 million active users. Facebook is basically the Web’s largest photo-sharing site and has made it seem cool to have stalker-esque tendencies while using the site. Twitter on the other hand is a revolution all on its own. Twitter took social networking (and stalking) to a whole new level—you basically tell people what you’re doing and what you’re thinking 24/7. Twitter and Facebook have convinced people that a virtual friend and a virtual follower is just as good as a real life one—and we commend them for that.
Hey, remember the floppy disc? The USB flash drive is basically that but its more portable, rewritable, accessible, and, as of right now, cheaper. Today, storage capacities on a USB drive can be as large as 256 GB. This is another tech item that was claimed to have been invented before the actual time of fruition in 2000. But, USB flash drives are here now and that’s all that matters to us.
Rental car companies used them and now we use them. These accurate, affordable and unbelievably helpful navigation devices have been getting drivers out of location pickles for more a decade. The GPS now comes in several designs and with a bunch of new features. GPSs have actually been around for a while, but it was in 2000 when the government started allowing civilian use of the military’s advanced GPS signal—and now you can get one for $50 at Walmart. Now that’s innovation.
TiVo revolutionized the home entertainment and made television networks bit their fingernails. Although the first TiVo shipped in March of 1999, we think this digital device’s true colors were revealed in 2003 when the FCC Chairman called it “God’s machine.” There’s a bold statement for the tech industry. TiVo gave the power of television to the people, and by 2007 the company reported having 4.4 million subscribers.
In the beginning most of us held the iPod in our hands and asked “where’s the On button?” We know better now. Apple’s iPod first debuted on October 23, 2001, when the world barely knew what an MP3 player was—and here’s Apple, already revolutionizing the category. Apple is good at setting standards with their technology—the iPod set a standard for MP3 players and it still is. Over the past decade the iPod transformed itself with color, size, screens and capabilities, but more importantly it has transformed the way we listen to music.
We love the Wii, and we don’t think this decade would have been as much fun without it. The Nintendo Wii first launched in 2006 and has been a hit ever since. The Wii transformed not just how video games could be played, but also who could play them. The different Wii games, such as Wii Fit which features Yoga and aerobics classes, opened the video game industry up to a whole new demographic of player. Middle-aged men and women were buying Wii consoles, not for their kids, but for themselves so they could partake in the well guided interactive fitness games it provided.
Wi-Fi, a marketing term for the IEEE 802.11 specification, has helped make us the mobile society that we are today. Almost half of the homes in America today have a wireless network—even when we’re home we’re trying to be mobile. Without Wi-Fi coffee shops would only be for caffeine addicts, late night novel readers, and kids with dreads and bongo drums—and that just wouldn’t be right. Every coffee addict, novel reader, and dreaded drummers needs some sort of connectivity.
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