Apple’s iPad is arguably the biggest product of 2010. The device helped define the mobility market for the year, and it ushered in a wave similar products from various vendors that were trying to capitalize on the spiking consumer interest in tablets. But in every single case, ranging from the ill-fated JooJoo tablet to the poorly designed Dell Streak, no single device could match Apple’s iPad.
3Apple iPhone 4
If the iPad was important to the development of technology in 2010, Apple’s iPhone 4 was right there with it. The latest smartphone in Apple’s line of devices delivered an improved 3.5-inch display, video conferencing capabilities and a design that made even the most cynical Apple haters stop and stare. It was a leader in the smartphone market, and it helped define 2010.
4Motorola Droid X
Motorola’s Droid X deserves to be near the top of the list of most influential products released in 2010 for one simple reason: It was the best alternative to Apple’s iPhone on the market. The device’s 4.3-inch display trumps the iPhone’s, and it runs Android 2.2, which proved to be another winner this year. Moreover, the Droid X runs on Verizon’s network, making it all the more appealing in 2010.
5Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Samsung Galaxy Tab was arguably the only other tablet aside from the iPad that scored a major success in 2010. The 7-inch device offered Android 2.2 at launch, and was made available to all major carrier networks. It features 3G connectivity and, after hitting 1 million unit sales, proved that there really is room for more than Apple’s iPad in the tablet space.
Android 2.2 was well-received by mobile OS critics in 2010. The operating system was slow to roll out, but when it was finally deployed on some of the top Android-based devices, it took off. With a nice design and multitasking functionality built-in, Android 2.2 was able to prove to consumers around the world that it can at least come close to matching Apple’s mobile OS.
Speaking of Apple’s mobile option, it’s important to include it in the products that defined 2010. Apple’s iOS 4 was the update that consumers had been waiting for. First and foremost, it delivered multitasking, which proved to be one of the most important updates on the year. It also improved Mail and provided enterprise customers with a few more IT-control options. iOS 4 will likely go down as the mobile OS that all others will be judged against from now on.
Facebook has been around for quite some time, but in 2010 the social network’s growth soared. Not only did it reach an important milestone-more than 500 million active users-but it also solidified its position as a major player both on the Web and in online advertising. All that fails to mention the impact it has had in the mobile space, which provided a new path for explosive growth. Facebook might just be the most important trendsetter in the tech space going into 2011.
Google’s Chrome browser has been trying for a couple years to steal significant market share away from Internet Explorer and Firefox. In 2009, Chrome had some success at doing that. But in 2010, Chrome took off. It now has nearly 10 percent market share worldwide, and speculation abounds that it will eventually go toe to toe with Internet Explorer. Admittedly, that might take some time, but based on Chrome’s success in 2010, it’s easy to see why it helped define the year.
When Windows 7 was released in 2009, some wondered if it would follow in Vista’s footprints and fail miserably or if it would find a way to captivate consumers and enterprise customers the same way Windows XP did. In 2010, those folks had their answer. Microsoft announced during the year that Windows 7 was the fastest-selling version of its operating system ever released. And in the process, the company solidified Windows 7’s position as the definitive leader in operating systems for the foreseeable future.
Microsoft Kinect, the motion-gaming peripheral that allows players to enjoy video games with only the movement of their bodies, has undoubtedly helped define 2010. The platform is both innovative and an outstanding example of what can be achieved with some imagination. It could easily come to define the video game industry for many years to come.