2010: The Year in Digital Life


25 Dec 2010

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We look back at the year that was in Digital Life.

The iPad

Apple changed up the market again with its tablet computer offering, the iPad. With a 10-inch screen, Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities, app functionality and its iPhone-esque interface, it captured the hearts of consumers worldwide, earning 1 million sales in one month.

Announced early in 2010, it finally hit Irish stores in July. Its success is still growing, and as of October, it shipped 4 million units globally.

Apple may release the iPad 2 in 2011, so it’s clearly not the last we’ll hear of the multimedia tablet.

Tablet computing

With the rise of the iPad, many other electronic manufacturers were keen to strike while the iron’s hot, unveiling a slew of tablet computers.

One of the biggest iPad competitors of 2010 was the Samsung Galaxy Tab, running on Android. Already, it’s sold 1 million units, with 100,000 of them sold in Korea.

Toshiba launched its FOLIO 100, though reports online said a fault in the device sparked retailers to hike their prices to dissuade customers from buying them and returning them later.

Many tablets were also revealed this year. HP unveiled its Slate 500, running on Windows 7. RIM revealed its tablet offering, the PlayBook.

The year 2011 will be the real proving ground of the tablet. Microsoft is said to be preparing to launch its tablet computers and Juniper Research said 2011 will be the year that the first true iPad competitors will come to the market.

Watch this space.

iPhone 4 and Antennagate

The update to the iPhone arrived, bringing a vivid Retina Display and Facetime video calling. There was no let up in the popularity of the phone either, with Apple selling more than 14 million iPhones in 2010.

However, it wasn’t all rosy for the smartphone. Many users experienced low reception and dropped calls on the device. Apple’s solution? Hold it properly. There was also an issue with the reception bar display, which Apple released an update for.

Smartphones

Smartphones in general saw a huge boost in popularity in 2010, thanks to the arrival of strong competitors to the iPhone. So many companies focused on the smartphone market this year, such as Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson, LG and Nokia.

It’s gotten to the stage where one-fifth of the Irish population owns a smartphone – and considering the marketing effort many mobile retailers are making this Christmas, this figure will rise before 2010 is out.

Mobile operating systems had a strong year, too. Android made leaps and bounds this year, coming into its own as a solid iOS contender. More than 300,000 Android phones are activated every day with more than 100,000 apps on the market.

Microsoft released its new mobile OS Windows Phone 7 this year, too. While early reports suggest that sales for WP7 devices have not been too strong, it’s still early days, and it’ll be interesting to see how it’ll fit into the mobile market in 2011.

3D TV

3D made huge leaps in 2010, making its first steps to homes.Sky launched its 3D service in April. Samsung led the 3D TV charge in Ireland and Sony released its own models in June. The PlayStation 3 received an update, bringing 3D support.

Of course, the take up in 3D televisions hasn’t been huge, what with the price of the devices and consumer wariness of the technology. Though research suggests that the industry will grow by 2014, 90 million 3D TV units will have shipped.

Still, 2010 was the year where the 3D television started to establish itself in the market. Let’s see if it takes hold in the next few years.

Motion gaming

This year, Sony and Microsoft decided to move in the Nintendo Wii’s territory and both released their motion-controlled devices for their home consoles.

The PlayStation Move was the first released, combining a motion controller and the PlayStation Eye controller for a more accurate experience.

The Kinect came later in the year, creating a totally hands-free gaming experience, using a motion sensor to make the player’s body the controller.

The controllers were hyped up for most of 2010, seeing an end-of-year release. Already, the Kinect has sold more than 2.5 million devices and the Move has sold more than 4.1 million controllers, meaning Christmas is already promising.

Of course, this is only the beginning, and it will be interesting to see what titles will be released in 2011 to help both companies maintain this momentum.

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