GO- GO GADGETS
All the best for 2011.
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.