The Last Decade's Big­gest Tech Break­throughs

Forbes Middle East - - CONTENTS -

The 2010s be­gan amid a global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, but as the world re­cov­ered the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor changed the course of his­tory. From the ad­vent of the tablet to smart home de­vices, here are some of the most news­wor­thy tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions of the past decade.

2010 The new PC era by Ap­ple

Af­ter nearly a decade deny­ing that Ap­ple was work­ing on a tablet com­puter, Steve Jobs strode on stage in Jan­uary and an­nounced the iPad. It rein­vented a prod­uct cat­e­gory, in­tro­duc­ing a user-friendly touch­screen in­ter­face and soft­ware made from scratch. From gam­ing to watch­ing video con­tent, the tablet PC was at its core de­signed to be mul­ti­func­tional, serv­ing as a bridge be­tween smart­phones and lap­tops.

2011 Tem­po­rary so­cial me­dia

The ad­vent of Snapchat in 2011 marked the be­gin­ning of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary busi­ness model, with users able to share con­tent and con­trol the vis­i­bil­ity time­frame, af­ter which the au­dio vis­ual would dis­ap­pear for­ever. The app of­fered a so­lu­tion to per­ma­nent data stor­age is­sues faced by other so­cial net­works, while of­fer­ing a novel con­cept. This was also the year that IBM Wat­son de­feated hu­man in­tel­lect, when the com­puter sys­tem thrashed Ken Jen­nings at Jeop­ardy.

2012 Redesign­ing his­tory

In a dra­matic de­par­ture from Win­dows 7, Mi­crosoft rolled out the most rad­i­cal de­sign of Win­dows since 1995. The over­haul of Win­dows 8 was the big­gest tech­nol­ogy news of the year. Users bid farewell to the orig­i­nal “Start” but­ton and wel­comed an ad­di­tional touch­screen in­ter­face with a more in­te­grated ex­pe­ri­ence avail­able to run across tablets, tra­di­tional com­put­ers and hy­brid ma­chines. In­sta­gram also made its de­but on An­droid, two years af­ter launch­ing on iOS. Face­book then ac­quired the so­cial net­work for ap­prox­i­mately $1 bil­lion in cash and stock.

2013 A year of firsts

De­spite the ini­tial an­nounce­ment be­ing made in 2012, pro­to­types of Google Glass be­came avail­able in early 2013. The first smart glasses were de­vel­oped as a ubiq­ui­tous com­puter. Users could make nat­u­ral lan­guage voice com­mands through the eye­glasses. The in­ter­net-sup­ported gad­get was priced at around $1,500. But the year's big­gest news­maker in the tech­nol­ogy space was former CIA con­trac­tor, Ed­ward Snow­den. In what was the big­gest sur­veil­lance scan­dal at the time, Snow­den was be­hind a con­fi­den­tial data leak from the U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency.

2014 In­no­va­tion hits pro­cesses

Ap­ple en­tered the mo­bile pay­ments sec­tor, with Ap­ple Pay al­low­ing cus­tomers to make pay­ments with the touch of a fin­ger via Touch ID in stores and within apps. Mean­while, Elon Musk was ex­plor­ing the fu­ture of trans­porta­tion. The en­trepreneur and bil­lion­aire's elec­tric-car com­pany, Tesla, be­gan rolling out ve­hi­cles equipped with sen­sors in 2014. Cus­tomers could buy the op­tional “tech­nol­ogy pack­age” for $4,250.

The wear­ables ex­plo­sion

Al­though wear­able tech­nol­ogy de­vices like the Nike+ re­leased nearly a decade ago in 2006, Ap­ple still made some noise when it launched its first wear­able de­vice, the Ap­ple Watch. The pop­u­lar fitness-track­ing gad­get aimed to in­crease users' daily ac­tiv­ity. From telling the time to an­swer­ing phone calls, the smart de­vice also of­fered another way to check no­ti­fi­ca­tions. The In­ter­na­tional Data Cor­po­ra­tion es­ti­mated that the use of wear­able de­vices in­creased by 173% in­crease in 2015.

2016 News­wor­thy farewells

Sam­sung re­leased the Gal­axy Note 7, com­plete with wa­ter­proof hard­ware to long-last­ing bat­tery. How­ever, disas­ter struck when the prod­uct be­gan mys­te­ri­ously ex­plod­ing, forc­ing the com­pany to is­sue a global re­call. De­spite new bat­ter­ies claim­ing to fix the prob­lem, more things caught fire and Sam­sung ul­ti­mately dis­con­tin­ued the phone en­tirely. Mean­while, Ap­ple de­cided to re­move the head­phone jack in its new iPhone 7. 2016 also bid farewell to short-form video host­ing plat­form, Vine, which was largely at­trib­uted to a de­cline in con­sumers and cul­tural cap­i­tal.

2017 Hu­man­iz­ing tech­nol­ogy

Af­ter nearly three years of in­ten­sive de­vel­op­ment and op­ti­miza­tion, Jibo Inc. of­fi­cially launched Jibo to the pub­lic in 2017. The world's first so­cial ro­bot for the home, Jibo uses ad­vanced Nat­u­ral Lan­guage Un­der­stand­ing (NLU) along with speech and fa­cial recog­ni­tion to forge re­la­tion­ships with his fam­ily. The DJI Spark was also launched, which could take drone self­ies. With FaceAware, Spark lifts off from the palm of a hand us­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion.

2018 The dig­i­tal hear­able is here

Google's $159 Pixel Buds were launched, con­nect­ing wire­lessly with smart­phones, and Google As­sis­tant can trans­late 40 spo­ken lan­guages nearly in real time, or at least fast enough to hold a con­ver­sa­tion. It is worth not­ing that the ear­buds are best suited for short ex­changes and ad­vances are still re­quired be­fore users can ex­pect to have a “nor­mal” con­ver­sa­tion.

2019 Build­ing for the fu­ture

In June, Ocu­lus an­nounced that it sold $5 mil­lion worth of con­tent for the Ocu­lus Quest in just two weeks. It marks the brand's first all-in-one gam­ing sys­tem for vir­tual re­al­ity, promis­ing to trans­port users into an al­ter­nate di­men­sion. In the world of ro­bots, Bos­ton Dy­nam­ics is al­low­ing its first ma­jor ro­bot, Spot, out­side the lab. The nim­ble ro­bot can go where wheeled ro­bots can­not, while car­ry­ing goods with en­durance far be­yond aerial drones. If the bot takes off, it could of­fer huge safety ad­vances in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

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