GO- GO GAD­GETS

All the best for 2011.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

1. ipad dom­i­na­tion

Ap­ple cre­ated the tablet mar­ket in 2010 but owned it in 2011. De­spite cut- throat com­pe­ti­tion, most con­sumers asked for an ipad 2. Its slim­mer, faster, photo- friendly form was re­vealed by Steve Jobs in March. Rolling sell- outs at the US and Aus­tralian launches weren’t for naught – al­most 40 mil­lion ipad 2s were snapped up by Septem­ber and tech­nol­ogy re­searcher Gart­ner Inc pre­dicted 46.7 mil­lion will be sold this year. An­a­lysts Tel­syte fore­cast 71 per cent of all Aus­tralian tablets sold this year will be Ap­ple- made.

2. At­tack of the androids

Google may soon be bet­ter known for smart­phones than searches. The in­ter­net gi­ant last year dom­i­nated the phone mar­ket, with more than half of all smart­phones us­ing its Android soft­ware by Oc­to­ber. More than 60 mil­lion Google- driven smart­phones were sold in the third quar­ter of the year, Gart­ner re­ports, com­pared to 17 mil­lion Ap­ple iphones and 12 mil­lion Black­ber­rys.

3. 4G mo­bile down­loads

Tel­stra qui­etly rolled out a nextgen­er­a­tion mo­bile net­work last year, spring­ing it on cus­tomers in Septem­ber. The 4G net­work of­fers dou­ble- speed data down­loads in a 5km zone around cap­i­tal cities, with speeds we clocked at up to 70 megabits per sec­ond ( Tel­stra prom­ises be­tween 2mbps and 40mbps). Only lap­top users can use the net­work now, it won’t speed up An­gry Bird up­dates, but it does take some load off the 3G net­work. Tel­stra plans to roll 4G out to 30 more cities next year, and Voda­fone and Op­tus have 4G plans un­der way too.

4. Voice con­trols

Gad­gets are fi­nally lis­ten­ing to us. Com­mand the iphone 4S to set up a meet­ing, check the weather or re­port on David Has­sel­hoff’s age and it will. Ask your Xbox 360 to pause a movie or change your char­ac­ter’s golf club and it too will obey. Voice com­mands don’t work ev­ery time – users must speak de­lib­er­ately and avoid slang, but it’s a step for­ward.

5. The cloud spreads

Clouds took on a dif­fer­ent mean­ing in 2011, go­ing from me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal to tech­no­log­i­cal. Ap­ple in­tro­duced users to its icloud in Oc­to­ber, de­liv­ered in its IOS 5 soft­ware. The free ser­vice stores pho­tos, doc­u­ments, cal­en­dars, con­tacts and more online to share across your de­vices. Mi­crosoft’s Sky­drive cloud ser­vice also picked up users, and Google added phone photo back- ups to its cloud ser­vices.

6. Lean lap­tops

Thin was in for 2011 lap­tops. Ap­ple’s Mac­book Air gained power and speed with­out adding bulk, and In­tel cre­ated a new cat­e­gory of se­ri­ously lean PCS. Seven com­put­ers were re­leased un­der the Ul­tra­book ban­ner by year’s end, in­clud­ing slick mod­els from Acer, HP and Toshiba. All Ul­tra­books must be less than 2.1cm thin, wake quickly, use sec­ond- gen­er­a­tion In­tel Core chips, work for at least five hours on bat­tery power and fea­ture built- in se­cu­rity.

7. Big- name games

When a video game ti­tle can earn $ 1 bil­lion in 16 days, you know the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try has changed for­ever. Call of Duty:

Modern War­fare 3 earnt that record late last year af­ter rack­ing up $ 775 mil­lion in its first five days on sale. Its clos­est cin­e­matic com­peti­tor, The Dark Knight, only reached $ 204 mil­lion over five days in 2008. Other big sell­ers in­cluded Skyrim, Bat­tle­field 3, Poke­mon Black/ White and Just Dance 2.

8. Twit­ter goes main­stream

Celebrity re­la­tion­ships formed on it ( you’re wel­come, Shane Warne), ca­reers crashed on it ( sorry, Char­lie Sheen) and it tried to kill Hugh Hefner and Mick Huck­nell. Twit­ter was ev­ery­where last year, mak­ing and spread­ing news, start­ing trends and cam­paign­ing against Kyle Sandi­lands’ out­bursts. Twit­ter’s 100 mil­lion ac­tive users made them­selves heard.

9. Ad­vanced cam­eras shrink

No one re­ally knew what to call them un­til last year. Now Com­pact Sys­tem Cam­eras are well known, widely avail­able and of­fer more than be­fore. Both Nikon and Pen­tax en­tered the mar­ket last year, and ex­ist­ing CSC mak­ers upped their game. Olym­pus re­leased three Pen cam­eras, in­clud­ing the E- P3 with faster fo­cus than some DSLRS, Pana­sonic is­sued four Lu­mix mod­els and Sam­sung and Sony beefed up their ranges, the lat­ter with a 24.3- megapixel snap­per.

10. Old 3D is new again

It took years to ditch red and blue 3D glasses for home en­ter­tain­ment in favour of bat­tery- pow­ered mod­els. Some peo­ple threw those away too in favour of sun­glasses- style spec­ta­cles seen at the cinema. LG was first to un­veil its pas­sive 3D TVS in Jan­uary and com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Vizio and Toshiba fol­lowed. De­bate rages over whether it is a bet­ter tech­nol­ogy, but $ 10 3D glasses are hard to turn down.

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