10:54 03rd Jan, 2020
2010-2019: The Gadgets that Defined the Decade
At a time when technology obsolescence happens at a pace faster than changing a pair of jeans, some gadgets changed our lives to an extent that today we cannot do without them
Such as been the pervasive nature of gadgets in our lives over the past two decades that things that came as muscle memory in the 1990s is but a faint memory today. Before cellphones arrived, we used to actually remember the phone numbers of our close friends, today it may not be surprising if we do not remember ours – because there’s a gadget that does it for us.
The dawn of a new decade evokes mixed feelings as we shed a tear for the technology of the past while eagerly waiting for the cool stuff to turn cooler. The past decade saw several gadgets arrive in a glorious fashion and exit in an inglorious one. However, there were some that came and took root to such an extent that today we cannot think of life without them. Here are a few such gadgets:
- The Apple iPad – When Steve Jobs introduced it in January 2010, the world merely shrugged their shoulders wondering who would buy a gadget that looked like an oversized iPhone and wasn’t half of what an equivalent laptop offered. Of course, there were snide remarks related to the name that reminded one of feminine personal hygiene. But Steve Jobs was right as the iPad sparked a movement and tablets suddenly became something we watched and not swallowed in order to keep the flu at bay. Samsung and Amazon came but Apple just kept growing and today appears to have undercut the laptop as a personal computing machine that can double up as personal entertainment too.
- The Chromecast – In some ways, this dongle-like piece of technology moved people back to television from the tablets. At a time when TV sets weren’t smart and Apple TV and Roku weren’t available across the world, Google came up with this gadget in July 2013 that turned every dumb television set into a smart one. All one had to do was connect it to one of the HDMI ports and bingo, it would play any program off the web browser or smartphone. Available at just about one-third of the cost of the Roku, the Chromecast directly helped the OTT boom by making bringing back the family before the television as against watching it on their personal devices. However, this is one gadget that may not exist another decade given the influx of smart TVs.
- Amazon Echo – In the 1990s, had someone thought of shouting commands at a gadget placed in the living room and expecting it to actually listen and obey orders, they would have been termed cuckoo. But Amazon and Jeff Bezos turned sci-fi into reality with the Amazon Echo and Alexa, the voice assistant who listens and obeys without question. At first in November 2014, the idea of a standalone device sounded dumb but now it has found imitators in the form of Google and Apple with probably a few more to follow. Today, the Echo is the center piece for Bezos’ ambition of creating smart homes using IoT across the board to control the door locks, lighting, the sound system and kitchen appliances. Of course, there are privacy concerns but then when we mention the internet, data security would be like that red rag.
- The Pixel Phone – Anyone remembers the Nexus line of smartphones that Google had launched at the turn of the last decade? Designed, developed and marketed by them, these gadgets showcased the Android operating system on smartphones. Yet, people felt that the hardware just wasn’t good enough to run the software and so ended Google’s early smartphone dream. However, they came back with a bang with the Pixel series three years later and since then Apple has been breathing heavy. A 5-inch AMOLED display, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and cameras that were 12-megapixels and more made the Pixel drool-worthy though the price point took the gadget out of the reach of many geeks. However, the fact remains that today Google has positioned a smartphone on par with the best in the industry.
- Apple Watch – The world had experienced smartwatches even before the start of the previous decade but not too many people who came in contact with the likes of Microsoft Spot which expanded to a rather cumbersome Smart Personal Objects Technology were impressed. In fact, Microsoft closed down the SPOT experiment that was supposed to create intelligence and inter-connected personal home appliances. Then there were the Fitbits of the world that came but couldn’t really hold customer attention as a fashion accessory. Which is what the Apple Watch did when it was launched in April 2015. The most important fashion statement that the watch made was that its appearance made it gender neutral and today Apple is continuously enhancing the features like monitoring fall detection and human heart rate (though it’s facing a legal suit).
- Addictive Apps – Just when we thought that Facebook and Twitter were all that people cared about, the decade brought with it the likes of Instagram and Snapchat that attracted user attention to the point where it turned from a fad to an obsession. The latest to join this bandwagon is TikTok, the Chinese video sharing platform, that has now forced others like Instagram to follow suit. As for Snapchat, users made a beeline for the app for the same reason that they first abhorred it – that of pictures vanishing 24 hours after getting posted. In an era of data theft and cyber snooping, this feature today seems like a heaven-sent one.
This is a list that we came up after some deliberation. We invite you to share your thoughts on gadgets that you felt defined the decade gone by. Share your thoughts with us on the comments section of this article.
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