There goes 2009, and what a year she was. Let's see, the iTunes App Store eclipsed one billion downloads, Google surprised us all with the announcement of Chrome OS, Windows 7 sent Vista to the big Blue Screen of Death in the sky, Verizon and AT&T started fighting dirty and the e-reader market exploded. But instead of looking back at the year that was, we of course always find it a lot more fun to look forward. So, here's what's on my wish list for the year to come in gadgets and tech.
The True Rise of Android
One of the biggest hurdles for Google's mobile OS (as pointed out nicely by John Herrman at Gizmodo) has been the fact that Android is severely fragmented with different versions running different GUIs on vastly different hardware. Unlike the iPhone, there's no cohesive sense of what an Android phone actually is and does. Will this change with Google's own unlocked Nexus One phone? I'm not so sure. First of all, the Nexus One is apparently built from same mold as the HTC Passion, which isn't exactly knocking my socks off design-wise. Secondly, in the back of my mind I fear the Nexus One will only fragment the OS even further, with Google's own Android iteration becoming preferred while other manufacturers' versions lag behind. Only time will tell, but my hope for Android in 2010 is that the kinks get worked out with Nexus One so that Nexus Two is the one we're all waiting for.
Blu-ray Movies On Mac
Apple was one of Blu-ray's early champions back in those crazy days of the most recent format war. The latest version of Final Cut even supports burning to Blu-ray. So why the cold shoulder? Third-party internal and external drives are available, but thoroughly useless since they can't actually play Blu-ray movies without booting into Windows via Boot Camp. No thanks! I, and many Mac and movie enthusiasts like me, have long dreamed of using a Mini as the hub of our home entertainment centers. Yet, hardware and software updates come and go with nary a mention of HD optical drives.
Is 2010 the year it'll finally happen? Not likely. Apple wants you buying and renting movies through iTunes, not through physical media it doesn't get a cut of. For Apple, the best way to kill competition is to box it out of its ecosystem (just look at the App Store). Plus, though Blu-ray movies are a thing of beauty, they're bound for extinction as more and more of us get our flicks via iTunes and other services like Amazon and Netflix. When the format war was still waging way back when, I kind of thought Apple was waiting to see how things would shake out before fully supporting Blu-ray. Now, I'm beginning to realize it was just waiting for the optical drive to die off completely. Sure, it's possible we might someday see OS X support Blu-ray playback. But, don't hold your breath for a Blu-ray–capable Superdrive. You'll be waiting a long time.
The Muting of Loud TV Ads
You're quietly enjoying a favorite TV program. It gently fades to black and then—BAM—someone like Anthony Sullivan or the late great Billy Mays is suddenly onscreen berating you with knickknacks at ten times the volume. You dive for the remote in order to save your eardrums only to have to crank the volume back up once your show comes back on. Repeat.
Why have we put up with this for so long? I don't know. But thankfully, Representative Anna Eshoo isn't standing for it anymore. The California Democrat recently introduced a bill that would limit the volume of television commercials to the average maximum level of the programming during which they air. It passed on December 15th and moved onto the Senate.
But even if it becomes law, there's some doubt it could ever actually be implemented or enforced. As the AP has reported, TV ads come to broadcasters from a variety of different sources, which would put the onus on the broadcasters themselves to purchase new, yet-to-be-developed equipment to regulate sound levels. And what if a loud, upbeat ad follows a quiet, chilled-out scene? Who's to say what's a violation of the law and what's simply a change of mood?
Sadly, I don't think our mute buttons will see any less wear in 2010. But hey, a boy can dream.
VOIP Calls With Google Voice
Following Google's acquisition of VOIP startup Gizmo5 last month, this one is a no brainer. I've already been using Google Voice to centralize my phone numbers, access voicemail over the Web and do neat things like record calls by simply pressing "4" at any time. It's a cool service, but one that's always been missing the most obvious component: the ability to actually place voice calls over the Web for free without having to route them to another phone. Gizmo5's SIP infrastructure makes this possible, and I expect to see it integrated into Google Voice, oh, just in time to make it the Nexus One's killer app.
100% Frustration-Free Packaging
Unless you're a masochist—and hey, no judgments—I think this is something we can all agree on. It's been more than a year now since Amazon partnered with manufacturers to phase out those impenetrable plastic clamshells that new gadgets and toys come packaged in. Why hasn't EVERY manufacturer in the world signed onto this program? Do they derive pleasure from our suffering? Do they giggle at the thought of sending thousands to the hospital with knife cuts each year?. Not only is the Amazon initiative good for our physical and mental well-being, but it's also good for Mama Earth since frustration-free goods arrive in recyclable cardboard boxes. One reason given by for using frustration-included packaging is that those windowed plastic fortresses prevent theft in brick and mortar stores. But with online shopping, this isn't an issue. And as far as I can tell, Amazon is passing any additional costs to the consumer ($21 versus $16 for the same memory card [links below]) instead of the manufacturer, so what's the hold up? Amazon sells more than 350 products from more than 30 vendors in frustration-free packaging. I'd like them to at least double that in 2010.
Who watches TV with commercials anymore? Fast Forward it! That seems like a complaint from last decade. The only commercials to complain about now are those unavoidable ones on Hulu and other "legit" online video sources. Illegal downloading will probably stay my preferred way to watch for a long time.
I'd like to see PopSci on Google Android.
I'd like to see more restaurants using paypal as a means of payment.
I'd like to see less ads for vacuums on this website.
I'd like to see a more complete photo or model of the green house...actually I'd like to see the green house completed (hint). That's going to be fun.
I'd like to see more information like what is on wired.com.
... of course I could just GO to wired.com but they have too much information on their site.
to name a few things i'd like to see this year is a big giant step towards augmented reality gaming, the death of the lhc (yeah i said it) and most importantly an actual viable electric car that is fuel efficent and can even take energy from going down hill, braking, and stopping...
but these don't seem to be happening any time soon so...
Vista - Finally we can worry about what it runs instead of how it runs.
Touch screens - microsoft - starting to really arrive for computers and phones.
Electric cars - tesla - maybe we did benefit from $4 oil and the demise of the big 3
Software that sees and hears - talkingdesktop - a software company with big goals.
Wireless electricity - an old idea that we can really use.
Land lines on their way out in a big way.
TV will probably not last another 10-15 years.
All vistas burned.
Colony on mars.
Augmented reality game that looks like crysis on steroids.
Onlive coming out(every gamer out there look this up).
and the destruction of all stupid products like snuggies for dogs how dumb is that?
Windows 7 is here but Vista will be around for many more years, as long as we are on this subject, XP will also be with us for a long time into the future with its enormous installed base.
I think muting loud TV ads is a great idea, but not sure if it will ever happen. With the ability to already fast forward through commercials, this would only multiply unwatched ads. And unfortunately, those unwanted ads are what pay for TV shows in the first place. Kind of a necessary evil.
Since other posters did wish lists I figured I would join the bandwagon:
I am hoping the Memresistor and the OLED changes electronics this year, not 10 years from now.
With this tech, that bluetooh headset will be your entire phone, or your wrist watch will be the cell phone. It will wirelessly send video to yor OLED widescreen and your cell phone will become your PC, Camera (better res than now), MP3 Player, Remote control, etc. Why are we paying for all these differant electronics when one can do all their jobs.
I also want to be able to take my jump drive to a video rental vending machine and insert it, download my movies, and not have to take a disc back to the machine. Every TV should have a USB jump drive port to play movies from the flash drive.
PC's in the living room, why is this not common. I would like to see a PC built into the LCD widescreen TV.
There is more but I will leave it at that.
Happy 2010 everyone!!!!
PC's in the living room, why is this not common. I would like to see a PC built into the LCD widescreen TV.
Re: The Grouse's Wishes For a Happy, Techy 2010
Good Morning everyone, This webpage is excellent and so is how the subject was developped. I like some of the comments too though I would prefer we all stay on the suject in order add value to the subject.It will be also encouraging to the author if we all could mention it (for those who use social media such as a digg, twitter,..). Again, Thanks
Good Morning everyone, This webpage is excellent and so is how the subject was developped. I like some of the comments too though I would prefer we all stay on the suject in order add value to the subject. It will be also encouraging to the author if we all could mention it (for those who use social media such as a digg, twitter,..). Again, Thanks
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So what's the beef, PopSci? I know I haven't posted on this Op-Ed piece in the last year, but I have actually been here a few times to see when someone really melts down about something that really chaps their butt about some new development somewhere; and hopefully not just in the realm surrounding the cyberspace interface they have nearest to them at the time. There are a lot of real issues that need tokkin bout with a few of the newer technologies that have been written up right here in PopSci; and there's always more where your info comes from, right? The practices involved in frakking our planet come to mind. It's an incredibly destructive practice that could be made much less so by limiting the depth that it can be used at. If frakking can't be used until some realistic minimum depth has been reached, we'd see not only less damage caused, but also less effort and waste. Every barrel of oil pumped out of a 'well' makes this world more fragile. These caverns of viscous hydrocarbons lubricate our plate movement. We take this planet's capability to keep itself together by frakking as it is being done now; by removing the hydrostatic pressure directly beneath the plate by 'vibrating' it apart. Going deeper before beginning frakking will prevent immediate open damage to our plates. Now as I'm not an actual geologist I might be mistaken, but I thought our little world was supposed to still be in it's mountain building phase, not yet middle age. So now the big plan is to take what? Two or three BILLION years of life away from it by turning it's plates to mush?
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