I decided to take a stab at what I think were the top five tech stories of 2009.
1. Windows 7
Microsoft seems to have finally gotten Windows right with this version. I had converted to OS X when the Macbook came out and had no intentions of going back to Windows. However, when I went to buy a new laptop because my wife’s Ibook died and I gave her the Macbook, I decided to go back to Windows. At first, it was Windows Vista and I remembered why I had gone to OS X, however, I had been using the preview version of Windows 7 and was so impressed that I decided to upgrade. For now at least the Windows 7 laptop is my primary machine.
While I have actually had a netbook since 2008, the concept of the netbook in my mind really took off in 2009. A lot of pundits will talk about the fad of a netbook, I think they are wrong and missing the point of the netbook. For one, I have a netbook that allows me to take a personal machine with me on business trips with my primary business machine without adding a lot of extra weight/baggage. This allows me to continue working on personal projects without having to utilize resources of the company that I work for. Also, the netbook is extremely portable and on our family vacations this year, I took it instead of a laptop that I normally would take. It was nice to have a computer that still allowed Internet access for movie viewing and researching tourists spots, but at the same time was small enough that it was always easy to stow and carry.
Netbooks are here and the talk of Apple’s possible forary into the tablet/netbook computer only outlines that the netbook has arrived in my mind.
3. Not the iPhone
While I admit that I do own and love my iPhone, I am a tech person who encourages and relishes when there is competition to any one technology. For example, I use three operating systems at home (OS X, Windows, Ubuntu Linux), I have used multiple brands of phones/routers/switches/laptops/computers over the year, never really hanging my hat on only one solution and always going back to that solutions.
So, Google and their Android phone OS, to me is a huge story. Unlike the Blackberry and Windows Mobile, I think Android can and will compete for market share with iPhone. The have the financial backing and have shown that with the Droid commercials that are constantly popping up. While the iPhone started the Smartphone revolution, I do not think it will be the only or possibly the best solution in that arena. Now if only I could get an Android along with my iPhone and Blackberry.
4. Social Network and Businesses
What originally started off as a way to update your friends and family that you just ate Chinese for dinner, is starting to become a major marketing avenue for businesses. I subscribe to a number of Twitter feeds and Facebook Pages for non-human entities. For example, geeks.com Twitter feed sends out an update on sales and new items that I receive on my iPhone in my Twitter client. I do not need to visit their website or go through my email to see this information, it is all there in a Tweet.
This is an area that I think we have just seen a start, more and more businesses are going to launch social networking portals for their customers and will become a major source of driving traffic to their websites to buy products.
5. Electronic Book Readers
I am not sure yet what I think of Electronic Book Readers. I think the concept of having our library in your pocket or on a portable device is going to catch steam, however, I am not sure the final device will look anything like the Sony or Amazon devices. I think this will be merged eventually into the next generation of netbooks and even smartphones to create that unified device that can surf the web, communicate and allow you to carry your library with you wherever you go.