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.
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.
Opera just released the 11th version of its desktop browser for Mac, Windows, FreeBSD and Linux. For a while, Opera was just an also-ran as Firefox and Chrome battled for the speed crown and market share in the browser business. Over the last year or so, however, Opera staged quite a comeback in the desktop arena and version 11 is the current culmination of this work.
Here are the top 5 new features that make Opera 11 worth another look.
Facebook is launching an email service on Monday. While that's only a rumor for now, I think it’s a well substantiated one and there is little doubt in my mind that that's what we are going to get. But this won't be a "Gmail killer" as the project is apparently internally known at Facebook. Sadly, though, the meme that this could really be a Gmail killer is already making its rounds and won't let up until Monday - when exhausted bloggers will likely split into two camps: those who think Facebook just killed Gmail and those who are disappointed that it didn't.
I'm a jaded tech blogger, but Microsoft's HoloLens project is without doubt the most exciting project to come out of Redmond in years. After years of talk about augmented reality, this may be the first project that actually lives up to the hype.