Technologies that defined the Noughties

James DocThis is a guest post by James Doc. James is a Web Technologies student in Lincoln, UK and is a freelance PHP & ASP.NET web designer in his spare time! He gets excited over new gadgets, sci-fi and a wide variety of music. You can read more of Doc’s thoughts on his blog or if you feel so called follow him on Twitter.

Engadget recently posted an entry under the title ‘Ten Gadgets that Defined the Decade‘,which got me thinking about the gadgets and technologies that I would have chosen: gadgets and technologies that I thought were game changing devices.

So here we go, in alphabetical order:

iPod

Like most on the list there were mp3 players around before the iPod, however it was the iPod that really cracked the market. The iPod really taught the manufacturers what actually needed to be done to make the mp3 player successful and work well. It is debatable whether this device is the best mp3 player around at the moment, but it certainly created lots of competition!

iPhone

The iPhone taught the lesson of convergance; putting several devices into one and doing it well behind a touch screen. Without the iPhone we wouldn’t have devices such as the Palm Pre or the firmware of Google’s Android. In addition we have seen a huge increase in touch screen devices, which have been a mixed blessing! The iPhone is the reason we have the perfect pairing of Android and HTC!

BBC iPlayer

Those who are observant will point out that 4OD came first, but it was BBC’s iPlayer that really got it sussed! Originally available on Windows XP only, it has now expanded beyond the landscape of basic computers to various mobile devices and even games consoles. What iPlayer did was made the Beeb’s content freely available in a online format, while other companies based their services on the iPlayer’s work. Looking forwards, Internet TV with the delivery of live broadcasts and on demand catchup seems likely to have a big future.

iTunes Store

Love it or hate it the iTunes music store really has made a difference both to users and to the music industry.  Before the store music downloads were typically illegally done through programs such as Napster, Kazaa or LimeWire.  Now with a legal method users have even been given control over music charts with downloads playing a huge part in the weekly top 40 charts. Think of the success of Rage Against the Machine’s Christmas number one, which won the slot on download sales alone.

Amazon Kindle

While Amazon’s Kindle hasn’t taken off hugely in the UK yet it has been a huge success in the US creating a new outlet for eBooks.  With Amazon’s huge database of eBooks online, Whispernet and their expansion to other devices such as the iPhone it has created a service to aim for by the competition.  Sony’s eBook reader has been latched onto by Waterstones and has been forced to step up the mark with the release of the Kindle in the UK.

Linux (The Popularisation of…)

Linux is not a new idea, not by a long shot, and certainly it isn’t a creation of this decade, however it is the popularisation of Linux in consumer devices and the like that has transformed the technology of the noughties. Many TVs, mobile phones, media players and even GPS devices run a basic cut down form of Linux to provide key features. This puts Linux well on the path to becoming the dominant operating system.

Multicore Processing

Multicore processors have changed the way that we use our computers. A single core processing several tasks at a time, or processing one huge task such as video rendering, took ages but with the expansion to multiple cores computers are now able to process multiple tasks such as video and photo editing simultaneously. It’s just much, much quicker!

MySpace

Normally I would laugh at anyone who said that MySpace deserved recognition when you have much more exciting things such as Facebook or Twitter, but it was MySpace that first really took off and created social networking that people actually used.  In turn the idea of social networking has become a key part of what we now know as web 2.0, and radically transformed the Web.

USB Memory Stick

Anything that killed the floppy disc deserves an award, so it gets a place on my list of tech of the decade! I found my first memory stick a couple of weeks ago; 8Mb! Now you can get 128Gb at the same physical size. I have hard drives smaller than that! I’ll actually broaden out the praise to flash memory which has allowed technologies like memory cards, solid state drives and all the applications that come with it; cameras, laptops and phones to name a few.

Wii

Nintendo created something special when the Wii was released. No, it wasn’t the hardcore gamer console that we expected from Sony or Microsoft, but what they did was create a console that allowed non-gamers to get into game playing. In addition to that, they created a console with a radically new way of controlling the game.

So there we go, my top ten technologies of the noughties! What do you think? Would you have added something else? Feel free to tell me in the comments, or even share your own list!

And finally… Many thanks to Nick and Gareth for their input into this list.

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