Everyone puts them out; the best – and worst – of 2007, all in one article. And Geekazine is no different. However, we’re taking a slightly different approach. It’s more of a look back to see what has happened in the last year and maybe some hints for what should be done in 2008. Gets you wondering what items you lived without a year ago and what you can’t live without today. So without further ado….
Let’s start with the beginning of the year. It was good. PS3 came out in the console wars, and it was predicted that it will win out of the 3 game systems. That still has to happen. SSD was introduced at CES, and it was tech that is long overdue. The static drives can reduce heat, battery consumption and wait times loading the machine. The technology is slowly coming down to earth prices, and when it does, watch out America.
Apple made some great advances in 2007. The biggest is the leap to Apple computers. At CES in January, Apple promised a OS upgrade, a new phone, an updated iPod and a new way to watch TV. Well, 3 out of 4 isn’t bad. And it’s not like Apple TV is a failure – it’s more the fact the device needs some work to put it in competition with other devices.
Apple really pushed touch screen devices in 07. Now we’ve had touch screens before 07, however Apple really ran with the ball in getting the technology on handheld items and ultimately getting rid of buttons. (Personally, I like the buttons, but oh well)
Apple opened the 200th consumer store. They plan another 20 in 2008. The innovative stores, the Genius Bar and a host of other itmes has brought in a lot of walk-thru traffic. It’s a good strategy even if the consumer doesn’t buy anything. They get intrigued and then they will buy.
The biggest accomplishment from Apple was the increase in Market share. It’s been steadily rising since the introduction of the iPod, but this last year we saw it really hit. It’s an interesting idea – if you’re buying the iPod or iPhone, you might as well buy a Mac…
Microsoft also did its part in 2007. Live Media Center, Home Server, Vista, Silverlight, Office 2007, Zune 2 and Halo 3 were some of their accomplishments. Vista didn’t take as well as we wanted, but it’s slowly gaining its place. Apple really went for the jugular with the failure. Hey, it’s a tough world out there, but I think Microsoft will survive this one.
Zune 2 is getting some bad press. A lot of lists have this device on the worst of 2007. I don’t understand why. It’s got great functionality and easy to use. The Digital Rights Management area needs to be straightened out, but that’s minimal. It also has an FM tuner – something that iPods don’t have.
Finally, Microsoft got into the Social Networking game by obtaining share in Facebook. While we haven’t seen too much from that, I can imagine it will boom out within 2008 as the Social Network Wars heat up. Facebook had its own issues with their failed attempts in advertising. Letting people know what other people bought? Targeting advertising? At least they learned quick and straightened it out.
We can’t leave out Linux . They had some great strides, too. Ubuntu – and all of its versions – have been flooding the market. OLPC’s use of Red Hat gave Linux strength. Linux mobile gave people alternatives for their smart phones.
Google also had an interesting year. Gmail, Pay per Post, DoubleClick, Android, announcement of Knol and its subsidiary – YouTube. Maps are better than ever. I would like to suggest another feature for the Google staff in 2008 – Bus Routes. I don’t take the bus myself, but think about how that can grow this impressive system?
Toward the beginning of the year, Gmail continued to suffer the same growing pains of 2006. By the end of 07, Google had a majority of things worked out. I have been running Gmail for a while and I have not experienced as much woe as a year ago. Most important, a note to Yahoo – make POP3 a regular feature, not a pay feature. I want to download my email. Not read it from a web viewer.
Google ran into some issues when they purchased DoubleClick. Privacy was the biggest concern. It wasn’t a Google fault, though. Would Microsoft have had the same issues if they won the bidding?
Google had worked on different ways to give better rankings – changing the rules with Pay per Post, and will ultimately be going with a new Page Rank system. The only thing I would like to see is if you search on a site, the .com, .net, .org or other sites are listed at the top in some way. Weed out the “bad” sites but put our sites at the top. Geekazine.com is #2 on the ranking behind twitter.
Android and Knol are currently Vaporware in 2007. Android is Google’s attempt at smart phone software while Knol is to rival Wikipedia for a Encyclopedic knowledgebase. Both have been under a lot of fire.
YouTube also had its good and bad points. Battles with Digital Rights Management made people speculate if this site was going to survive. Then came shows like “Chad Vader – Day Shift Manager” and we saw that this media outlet can really be of value. However, nothing showed it more than the CNN/YouTube Presidential Debates. Not only could you watch the candidates, but people had a chance to ask the questions.
Technology advanced in many ways – some good, some… well, not so good. Citywide WiFi pretty much came to a screeching halt for now. HD DVD and Blu Ray discs have people scratching their heads. After all, what’s so wrong about my regular DVD player?
LCD TV’s started to really ramp up this last year. A 32” Flat screen can be found at about $500-800. HDTV is also showing a sign of ramping as it has to be put in place by February 19, 2009. You can still get a CRT, but for not that much more, you can get a flat panel monitor that takes up a lot less space.
Dual Core has dominated the market, but Quad Core is really starting to sound like the item to have in 2008. With 45nm processors giving us more computing with less power, it’s hard to ignore.
AMD has had some struggles recently. Due to a glitch, the Quad Core chip was less than sought after. It wasn’t until the end of the year when Spider was released that AMD could breath again. So far Spider has had some good reviews and looks to be AMD’s savior. But what would AMD be if they didn’t have a shareholder scare every few years?
Digital Media really got some shots in the arm. RIAA has already stated they are not winning any battle by going after the file shares. They still do it for the principal. However, with bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails who are breaking free from the labels and going it alone, the lines get a little blurry.
We lost a few friends along the way in 2007. Life Magazine said goodbye. Yahoo Photos closed its doors and shuttled all the pix to flickr. CompUSA announced the closing of the final stores when the holiday season is over. As for OiNK.com, it was a case of “Never heard of it until it got shut down”. ThinkSecret.com will also be turning off the lights.
We did gain some new friends. Stumbleupon.com, slide.com and Joost.com are a few new names. Of course, we can’t forget about Geekazine.com. 😀
Anyway – we got some new terms to ponder, too. DRM, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, W00t (actually, this one has been around a while, but now that it’s in the dictionary, it counts), Widget, CAPCHA and OLPC. Web 2.0 is also not a new term, but it really showed up in 2007. Social Networking is all the rage.
There is a lot more that we could cover. Adobe Flex, Vonage and VoIP issues, Dell opening sales to Retail stores, WiFi on planes, 802.11n, etc, etc, etc. However, that would bring this article to an outstanding number of pages. Still, we haven’t talked about the one important thing I feel 2007 brought us.
Context – aware gadgets are items that help you in real time. Has anyone seen the new tomtom commercial where the truck of rubber duckies spills over the highway? The user is instantly warned of the problem, and given an alternate route.
This is a big advancement in technology. And its only at the infancy. So far, we have had only robots like Asimo doing consumer controlled tasks. What if Asimo could tell you to not forget the umbrella cause it’s going to rain? Maybe state the traffic conditions are bad, so here is an alternate route. Hello, Dave.
2007 was a good year. We saw some great strides in computing, some new gadgets that changed the market and some new places to go to talk and be part of the community. We lost some friends along the way and for that, we remember them dearly. If 2007 is any indication of what we can see in 2008, then we are going to be in for one wild year.