Top 9 Technologies in 2009
Top 9 Technologies in 2009
As we enter a new year, let’s take a look back on several technologies that created buzz in the tech world throughout 2009.
1. Windows 7
After the disaster that was Microsoft Vista, many people thought that Microsoft was down-and-out in the operating system market. However, Windows 7 started getting good reviews and once again, Microsoft proved the rule “buy every other Windows” rule to be correct. It significantly improved on Vista, made it much more user friendly, introduced a better taskbar and faster response times in starting up and loading applications.
With a flashy ad campaign that focused on what “Droid does” and the iPhone doesn’t, the Droid’s announcement left gadget geeks drooling. Sure, T-Mobile had its G1, but the Droid was really the turning point for Google’s Android operating system hitting the mainstream. Over 250,000 Droids flew off the shelves in the first week of North American sales.
Microsoft decided to take the search engine fight to Google with Bing. Almost immediately, Microsoft gained several percent in search engine market share. Its main innovation is an improved semantic search that offers suggestions related to search terms. Although its market share since then looks to have dropped slightly, it has pushed Google to innovate, and Microsoft has all of the necessary resources to compete long-term.
Twitter has been around since 2006, but 2009 was the year that it really went mainstream. At the beginning of the year, Twitter’s monthly growth rate was 1,382 percent. Celebrities started to tweet, and information was available on Twitter before mainstream media. One famous example was the first picture of Flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River was available first on Twitter because a passenger posted on Twitpic before any media arrived. Information is now expected to be real-time, and the search engines have started to add real-time searches in response to demand from users.
Google has been hard at work innovating this year. From its bread-and-butter search business to mobile and operating systems, it has touched on just about every area of IT that can involve the cloud. However, it made a bold move by entering the browser space which has been dominated by Microsoft and Firefox. In 2009, it became the third most used browser, with 4 percent of worldwide web browser usage.
6. Google Wave
Not satisfied with browsers, Google took on the concept of online communications and introduced Wave, which combines instant messaging with email, social media and collaboration. Although it generated a tremendous amount of buzz, however, users are still struggling with figuring out how to use it in their daily lives and it has not reached a critical mass of people using it to completely popularize it. Stay tuned in 2010 for its progress.
7. Wolfram Alpha
Want to know the size of the moon relative to the size of the US? Or maybe how much a polar bear weighs versus a human? Wolfram Alpha has answers for that. It was launched in May and it queries factual data, particularly mathematics, to help users find answers to complicated queries. It was voted Popular Science’s 2009 greatest computer innovation of the year.
Amazon’s Kindle was launched in 2007. This year, in fact, e-book sales surpassed print versions in the days following Christmas on Amazon. But it was 2009 that brought the first real competition in the e-book space, developed by Amazon’s competitor Barnes & Noble. It has a color touch screen in addition to the e-ink display. Since it launched at the end of the year, its success is still pending, but if the demand that caused shipments to be pushed back several times is an indicator, look for it to be a popular gadget this year.
9. Snow Leopard
Microsoft’s Windows 7 wasn’t the only new OS on the block. Apple updated OS X with Snow Leopard. The new version featured mostly performance-related improvements, however for many it was a let-down. The new features did not prominently improve its user interface, however, and all-in-all it was a fairly minor update (sorry Apple fans!).