Back with a bang

DUBAI — If ever there would be something befitting the words “consistency” and “improvement”, it might as well be technology. It is obvious that everyone walking on this planet has seen how it has evolved to the point that others would claim that it could be their better half.



By Alvin R. Cabral

Published: Wed 29 Dec 2010, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:12 AM

But one outstanding trait that can be observed about technology is its durability. Picture this: It has been able to weather the toughest of times; not even the recent global financial crisis was able to slow it down, with all the advancements that we have seen developed even during this period.

Given these basics, Khaleej Times takes a look back at 2010 to churn out the technological trends that defined the year, then swivels to peek into what could possibly catch us even more dumbfounded in 2011.

In the UAE alone, consumers showed that all technological advancements were given warm receptions as proved in GITEX 2010 — probably the biggest edition in its history — giving one clear indication: The technology sector is indeed back with a bang, and even more. Asking around, it seems to be a unanimous consensus that there are healthier times ahead for technology, and even better benefits to be reaped by consumers.

UAE customers have shown that they are tech-savvy, always looking to get hold of the latest. They have shown this by keeping in step in 2010, and will continue to do so by being on stand-by for what will possibly flabbergast them in 2011. And they do not mind stating the obvious: 2010 has been a great year for innovations, and 2011 will be — simply put — a hotly-anticipated year. “Surprise us,” as if they were saying.

The list is definitely long, but we’ve trimmed it down to highlight 2010’s crème de la crème.

A battle to look forward to

Apple perhaps made the greatest buzz of the year with the launch of the iPad, once again setting a high bar — not to mention revival as well — for the tablet PC later. But admittedly, this indeed set off another battle for supremacy in these sectors, and it definitely wasn’t without a fight.

The rest of the field took their turns taking their shots. Samsung just stoked some more fire in the Apple-Google rivalry with the Galaxy Tab, which is probably the biggest challenger to the iPad and runs on the Android platform. But don’t limit yourself to these two; in case you aren’t aware, the tablet jungle just became as wild as you can think off in just a short period of time. HP has its Slate 500, and BlackBerry will sure to boast its PlayBook. And oh, don’t forget a company named Microsoft that definitely has something being cooked up. These said, how far would the usual laptops/notebooks/netbooks go, in terms of evolution?

The mobile war rages on

And as if that wasn’t enough for Steve Jobs and Co, they even made it a one-two punch with the release of the iPhone 4. Looking at the figures alone, it could probably go down as the best-selling smart phone ever. But then again, it isn’t alone. But then again — again — it would be difficult to actually pick one stand-out and serious rival from the rest of the field. Maybe the closest — and it’s hard to difficult to gauge how close — could be the BlackBerry Torch, which boasts of its touch screen-QWERTY combo and a non-Android platform.

Speaking of Android, it’s interesting to see how far it will go. HTC made a good run with its Legend and Desire Z, although the pricing seems to be an issue. Samsung burst into the scene with its Galaxy S and Wave, and Motorola made a comeback of sorts with its Droid X during the mid-year, and the Defy and Flip in the homestretch. Windows Mobile seems to be another stagnant one, as there are only releases and launches in other devices in the offing, but who knows. Nokia? It seems ironic how relatively quiet they were this year. But it would be foolish not to expect something awesome from the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones next year.

Trigger-happy

Stroll down a mall or just on an ordinary street, and the next thing you may see hanging around the necks of people aside from mobile phones and music players are DSLR cameras. In recent memory, 2010 seems to be the breakout year in terms of these gadgets, with top-of-the-hill DSLR models made affordable to consumers. The Sony NEX-5 is one of those on the top of the list, but camera bigwigs Canon, Nikon and Olympus aren’t far behind, as well as Panasonic.

And speaking of Panasonic, they made a big run in the latter part of the year with one segment that has found acceptance to the general public — 3D entertainment. You’ve heard all about it — shooting in 3D, editing in 3D and watching in 3D. Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and LG have all made their mark in the 3D category, with Sony going all-out from Day One. The rest have taken gigantic strides to stick close to the competition, which will be the springboard for an interesting battle in 2011. Toshiba may have ignited a new chapter by unveiling the first 3D TV that doesn’t require those special glasses. The lead question now is, who’s gonna make the breakthrough by offering the most convenient and affordable one?

In seventh heaven?

Moving away from consumables, this question is oft heard of these days: What is cloud computing? The simplest answer could be that it is the future of computing. Going a bit more technical, and in layman’s terms, the cloud is Internet-based computing over shared resources. But there are still a lot of issues that cast clouds over the cloud, with privacy being the number one concern.

And while there is indeed a lot of stuff that needs to be ironed out with regards to it, cloud computing may indeed be an intricate technology tool, and everyone is anxious how it would turn out in 2011 — that is if developers are serious enough to tweak it up.

2011: Expect the unexpected

At this point in time, there seems to be no way for technology to go but up. Furthermore — given all the trends that have shaped up 2010 — there seems to be no other certainty for 2011 but for it to be a waiting game. This year saw the emergence of things that were surprising to say the least, but we seem to be heading into another year where all the players are ready to go all-out with guns ablaze.

From our point of view, it seems not to really be a wait-and-see kind of game, but rather a look-around-and-see-for-yourself thing. Technology has its way of setting things up, as well as bringing out the best in everyone and everything involved.

And while we wait for more and more people to squawk and tap away at their devices, let’s bid farewell to a 2010 that has been kind enough for one thing at the very least — giving technology the opportunity to once again shine and show the way, cementing its tag as one of those things to wonder about, amaze oneself at and drool for more. Take a bow, everyone. alvin@khaleejtimes.com


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