10 Upcoming Products That Will Define the Rest of 2010
10 Upcoming Products That Will Define the Rest of 2010
by Don Reisinger
The iPhone 4 is probably the most anticipated release of 2010. The device, which was unveiled by Steve Jobs at WWDC, boasts a new design, complete with a glass casing. The device has a camera both on the front and on the back, allowing users to place video calls from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 over WiFi with a new program called FaceTime. The iPhone 4 also features a flash for those who want to take pictures in a dark setting. Apple's new iPhone promises to be one of the biggest launches of 2010 when it hits store shelves on June 24.
Windows Phone 7 Devices
The iPhone won't be the only major release in the mobile industry this year. Microsoft is poised to release Windows Phone 7 in 2010 on a slew of devices from its many hardware partners. Windows Phone 7 is a pivotal release for Microsoft. If it fails, Microsoft's chances of carving out a sizable portion of the mobile market will be all but gone. If it's successful, Microsoft will be able to more effectively compete against Google and Apple in the space. In other words, there is a lot riding on Windows Phone 7.
Chrome OS could be one of the biggest launches of 2010. According to Google, devices featuring the Web-based operating system will launch sometime in the fall of 2010. Unfortunately, the operating system is designed for netbooks, so there are currently no (public) plans to release the operating system on a tablet that would compete with the iPad. But if Google's operating system becomes a success, it will undoubtedly change the operating system market forever. It will put Microsoft on notice that the cloud has finally come to operating systems. And it could be damaging to Apple's Mac OS X. Like many of the other products to be released later this year, Chrome OS is one to watch.
Project Natal will likely be one of the biggest gaming-related launches of 2010. The device, which is scheduled to be detailed at E3 later this month, will allow gamers to control on-screen action with motion. Unlike the Wii, which requires a controller to use, Project Natal only uses the person's body to control the game. Microsoft believes that it could be the next big thing in gaming. But that remains to be seen. Motion gaming has been successful, but its popularity is starting to wane. It should be interesting to see if Microsoft came in at the wrong time.
Sony's answer to the Wii and Project Natal is the PlayStation Move. Like the Wii, PlayStation's motion-gaming peripheral requires users to hold a wand and swing it around to control on-screen action. For its part, Sony believes that Move could be a fine way to attract more casual gamers to its platform. But like Natal, there's no guarantee that it will really appeal to consumers. The gaming industry could be staking a lot on motion gaming, thanks to Nintendo, but that well might have run dry already.
Google TV is probably one of the most important releases in the home-entertainment space in quite some time. The software, which will run on devices from Sony, Logitech and Intel to start, is scheduled to hit store shelves this fall. The idea behind Google TV is relatively simple: the search giant wants to bring the Web and all its functionality to the living room television. It's certainly an ambitious idea, considering so many set-top boxes have come and gone in the entertainment space. If Google TV works, it could control the living room. If it fails, it will join a growing list of products that consumers simply don't want in their living room. Keep a close eye on this one.
Android OS 2.2
Android OS 2.2. is arguably the most important update to Google's mobile operating system since its launch. The new software will boast multitasking, making it an ideal download for anyone who currently owns an Android-based device. Perhaps more importantly, the software will also support Flash, ensuring the vast majority of content on the Web will be supported by the platform. Android 2.2 will likely heat up the battle between Apple and Google. And it should be fun to watch.
Chrome OS-Based Netbooks
Chrome OS might be an important release for later this year, but that also means that the netbooks it will be running on are worth watching. Netbooks are losing ground in the PC market as tablets, such as Apple's iPad, have taken over. In fact, sales growth for netbooks has practically come to a standstill. Whether Chrome OS can revive the netbook market and help consumers see value in small, lightweight notebooks is anyone's guess. But rest assured that if the Chrome OS-based netbooks don't offer something unique, they will fail.
The Dell Streak isn't the most exciting tablet to hit store shelves in 2010, but it could be one of the most important devices for all parties involved. Currently, Apple's iPad is enjoying its position as the only tablet in the market. Consumers have just one choice and they're making it. But once the Dell Streak comes out, the market will be able to tell if consumers want alternatives. And if they do, companies will also be able to tell if a 5-inch display, which the Streak includes, is something that consumers like or shy away from. The Dell Streak could come to define Apple's tablet competition going forward.
iOS 4 could be one of the biggest launches of 2010. Although the iPad has hit store shelves and the iPhone 4 is coming, iOS 4 boasts all the features that iPhone owners have been waiting years for. The software includes multitasking, which is arguably the biggest benefit. But it goes beyond that. Apple has added folder and iBooks support to the software. It has also improved Mail, so users can view all their messages in a single in-box. Apple plans to launch iOS 4 when the iPhone 4 launches on June 24.