Technology always brings new and exciting things each and every year, so what can we expect for 2010? Sure, a lot of technological advances are just slight improvements on existing technology, like adding the “Genius” functionality to an iPod. What will truly be a trend-making concept, the leader of the pack, the one that others strive to imitate?
On the computer front, Apple looks like it’ll have the device to have for 2010. Mass speculation on their release of a tablet style PC is abundant on the Internet, but things are starting to firm up for a first quarter release of the iGuide (or iSlate), the tentative name for their new compact tablet PC. Apple has been buying mass quantities of 10.1” touch screens, and while not making a formal statement the company hasn’t really done anything to quash the rumors flying around. The new gadget “looks like a blown up iPhone, weighs less than a MacBook Air, and is priced below $1,000.” Apple has already started telling iPhone app developers to start working with ideas for a larger screen, and this may be a replacement for the MacBook product line. With the impact the iPhone has made on the world and the cell phone marketplace, this new offering should revolutionize the sub-compact PC market and set the bar for others to try and follow.
For videogames, the Nintendo Wii has been the system to get for kids and adults alike. The trendsetting control interface has made gaming fun again for everyone, and combined with a vast selection of interesting games that utilize the motion controls in innovative ways (like the Wii Balance Board), it’s time to look for the next big thing. Evidently, Microsoft, utilizing their Xbox 360 platform, is clamoring to perfect their new technology, codenamed “Project Natal”, which eliminates the need for any controller. (https://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/projectnatal/) A system of sensors will pick up your motions, so say for instance, you are playing a driving game, you simply hold your hands in front of you and act like you are steering. A sword fighting game would actualize you swinging your hand and arm as if you were holding a sword. While this may seem pretty cool to some, having developers utilize the technology into games that will prove as entertaining as the success Nintendo has enjoyed will remain to be seen.
For vehicles, we have seen the integration of iPod docks and Bluetooth into your controls, allowing for music and phone functionality that has proven to be useful. One concept that is already being released is the automobile as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Ford, with their “SYNC” system, and Chrysler, with “UConnect” technology, have started rolling this out in their 2010 models of cars. This enables the passengers in the vehicle to use their mobile devices that are equipped with Wi-Fi to motor down the road while remaining connected to the Internet. As great as this would be for some, the potential hazards for other motorists are great. We already have big problems with DWT, or “Driving While Texting”, which greatly increases your chances of causing an accident. While smart folks don’t succumb to the lure of using your phone to text (or even talk) while operating a motor vehicle, there will be those who will be trying to use a laptop if you make it easy for them to do so. Nevertheless, for those travelers who can utilize their time efficiently while traveling with others, this will be a useful feature in new cars.
We have seen some amazing advances in the past decade, but I expect 2010 will only help to “pick up the pace”. As exciting as new technology can be, but popularity will be the deciding factor in its effect on what we will remember in the next decade. Only time will tell if these devices will take hold on our society like the iPhone and the Wii.