It’s hard to believe that we are now almost 20 years into the 21st century. And with those 20 years of tech history have come amazing changes in our technology. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and remember some of the tech that has altered our world and our lives.
2000: Google AdWords
While not a device, no one can argue that Google AdWords changed how online marketing works. No business, no matter how small, can afford to ignore these click-through ads and their meanings.
2001: Apple iPod
Windows XP and OS X came out in 2001, but it was the iPod that strengthened the move toward a mobile-first environment. This amazing device allowed us to carry around our entire music collection in our pockets.
2003: Android Founded
Not just an operating system, Android was begun as a company originally intended to build an OS for digital cameras. At one time, the company was close to bankruptcy. But now, Android is the most successful OS in history (in terms of the number of users).
No need to say more about this tech giant that has 1.56 billion people on average logging in each day.
Sharing video with others prior to 2005 was difficult and expensive. But on April 23, 2005, the first video was uploaded to YouTube, shot by a teen at the San Diego Zoo. It’s now one of the top websites visited today. More 18-to-49-year-olds watch YouTube video on mobile than any broadcast network.
Twitter made it easier to reach a larger audience instantly. And now we use it for learning, connecting, and the news.
Steve Jobs held up this magic device and the world was never the same again. Not only was the iPhone revolutionary, but it brought with it the idea of apps, small programs that could be purchased quickly for a few bucks, and the App Store, where anyone could create and sell a piece of software.
2008: Airbnb and Google Chrome
The sharing economy became something mom and dad could take part in as Airbnb began impacting housing, hotels, rentals, and more around the world. And the release of Google Chrome on September 2, 2008 may have been quiet at the time. But just look at the behemoth it has become.
2009: Fitbit Tracker
No subscription fees and a long battery life helped this device lead the way into the “quantified self” movement where individuals began tracking their activities.
Tablet computers had been around for a few years. But it wasn’t until the iPad that the consumer market for these devices took off as Apple put its distinctive look and cool feel on it. It was affordable ($499 when it was first released), simple, and reliable. More than 360 million of these beauties have been sold since it came out.
The IoT (Internet of Things) and smart homes got their start in 2011 with the release of the first Nest Thermostat. But is was the simple device with the Chrome browser that was really amazing. Marking the end of the Windows monopoly, the Chromebook went on to take education by storm.
2012: Raspberry Pi
While not many of us may actually use this very basic device, it is important for its price tag, just $25. Running the free software Linux, the Raspberry Pi can be used to create amazing resources.
2013: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Video games saw a resurgence when these latest consoles were released. The first game generation to fully embrace 4K televisions, these cumbersome boxes bucked the trend of smaller and lighter, but were still incredibly successful.
2014: Windows 10
With the absolute failure of Windows 8, Microsoft desperately needed a hit with its newest operating system. And that’s exactly what it got as it opened up with apps on competing devices and cloud space with Office 365.
2015: Amazon Echo and the Alexa Group
Alexa seemed useless at first. But with the addition of its Skills and as its intelligence grew, it became the virtual assistant we all wanted and needed. It’s now a practical part of everyday life.
2016: Pokémon GO
Many companies promised a new world of augmented reality. But it was this simple game that delivered. Downloaded more than one billion times and generating more than $2.1 billion in revenue so far, the app showed “normal” people the promise and value of AR.
2017: Nintendo Switch
This combination of the old-time and large gaming console and a portable machine has been remarkably successful.
2018: Apple Watch Series 4
With this generation of the watch, Apple finally gave us not only a reason to buy an Apple Watch, but to buy a watch period. The Series 4 health features resonated with non-watch-wearing Millennials and Baby Boomers who wanted to monitor their health more closely and made it a technology that is changing lives daily.
While it’s still early in 2019, it’s a safe bet that AR/VR, artificial intelligence and virtual assistants, and personal IoT will continue to be big sellers. But, in my opinion, it’s the drone that will be the device of the year. Amazon, Google, and many other companies are investing heavily in drone delivery machines that will pave the way for fast delivery to your home without the need for van drivers or their vehicles.
So what might 2020 and beyond bring to us in the tech device arena? Unfortunately, my crystal ball doesn’t reach that far. But what do you think will be the next, best technology?