Frederic Lardinois founded SiliconFilter in 2011. Before starting this site, he wrote about 1,500 articles for ReadWriteWeb. His areas of interest are consumer web and mobile apps, as well as Internet-connected devices like cars, smart sensors and toasters.
You can reach him at [email protected]
The Internet is slowly making its way into our living rooms. Even if your TV itself isn't directly connected to the Net, chances are there is a game console, Blu-ray player, Apple TV or Roku box attached to it that can bring streaming video from services like Netflix, Hulu Vudu or iTunes directly to your TV. Indeed, according to research firm SNL Kagan (as reported by USA Today), 14% of TVs are now connected to the Internet in some form or another. SNL Kagan expects this number to climb up to 38% in 2014.
Just about a year ago, there was virtually no market for tablet PCs. There were rumors that Apple could launch a tablet, but a lot of pundits still dismissed the idea that consumers would want to buy such a device. Apple, of course, launched the iPad to much hype in April 2010 and sold over 3 million within the first three month of sales alone. There is clearly a market for these devices out there, but for now, Apple is really the only player in this business.
According to Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, this situation won't change much in the next two year.
Two and a half years and 1,500 post ago, I started as a news writer for ReadWriteWeb. Since then, I had the opportunity to see little startups grow into large businesses, witness the launch of hundreds of cool new products and met and interviewed many of the tech luminaries that I had previously only read about. All good things have to come to an end, though, and last week I emailed the executive team at ReadWriteWeb and let them know that I had made the decision to leave the company.
Opera, the Norwegian browser developer, just announced a touch-optimized version of its browser. This new browser, which is optimized for tablets and netbooks with touchscreens. In its demo, Opera is showing off a first demo of the software on an Android device.
Skype, the immensely popular VoIP service, experienced the first major outage in its history yesterday and even though this will surely hurt the company in the very short run, its excellent crisis management will reduce the outage's impact to close to zero in the long run.
Lots of great stuff happened in the tech world in 2010, but for every success like the iPad and Roku, there was also a major disappointment along the way. The bigger the hype, the greater the disappointment, of course, so this lists features the top three products and events in 2010 that, in my view, were the biggest letdowns.
Mozilla is slowly marching towards a general release of Firefox 4. Today, the non-profit launched the 8th beta version of its flagship browser. As expected, after 8 betas, there aren't any major new features in this latest version (though Mozilla promises to add a "do not track" feature before the final release). Instead, Mozilla is now focussing on fit and finish. In today's new version, the focus is on making it easier to set up Firefox Sync and the new look and feel for the add-ons manager. The new version also offers improved support for WebGL for 3D graphic visualizations on the Web.
Augemented reality was one of the most overused buzzwords of the year, but for the most part, the applications we saw weren't really augmenting reality. Instead, like Layar and others, they take a phone's camera picture, GPS coordinates and compass heading and provide users with an overlay of nearby sights and shops. For some apps - especially stargazing apps like Star Walk - this is fine, but for most use cases, it's not really useful. Another type of augmented reality (AR) app that's hot right now uses paper markers and replaces them with 3D animation on your phone's screen - even Hallmark is getting in this business now, but it's more of a gimmick than a useful application of AR. The real promise of AR reaches far beyond this, however.
As the year draws to an end, it's hard not to look back and think about all the cool apps that I looked at over the last 12 months. I'll talk a little bit about my favorite apps and biggest disappointments in other posts, but I also wanted to highlight some of the coolest apps and Web Services that I use all the time but that didn't get a lot of mainstream (or even tech blog) coverage in the last year and that deserve another look.
Without further ado, here is my list for 2010.