Tablets

Poll: What was the most important technology product of 2010?

The tech industry revved up its innovation engine in 2010 and released an important set of new products. See Jason's Hiner's pick for the top product, and then vote for yours.

The tech industry revved up its innovation engine in 2010 and released an important set of new products that continue to push the boundaries of computing.

As in recent years, most of the momentum in tech in 2010 was focused around mobile computing. Smartphones continued to make big strides in both growth and development, with Android spreading like wildfire, Apple's iPhone getting a complete redesign, RIM releasing BlackBerry 6, Nokia touting Symbian 3, and Microsoft launching Windows Phone 7.

Of course, mobile also expanded its reach in 2010 with the popularization of tablet computing, replacing the old pen interface of Tablet PCs with a multi-touch UI that resembles iPhone and Android. Apple iPad sales have exceeded expectations and given the masses a taste for how tablets can replace netbooks and laptops for light computing while also serving as e-readers and media players.

A fleet of multi-touch tablet competitors are lining up to give the iPad a run for its money in 2011 -- the Samsung Galaxy Tab was the first major competitor to launch in 2010 -- but, we have to give the iPad credit for re-imagining the tablet and proving that the form factor makes sense as a mass market device.

That's why the iPad is my pick for the most important tech product of 2010, despite my skepticism about it.  The launch of Verizon's 4G LTE network is a close second. Take the poll below to vote for your pick, or if your pick isn't on the list then post it in the discussion below.

Take the poll

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

33 comments
jfreedle2
jfreedle2

The Apple iPad was the biggest joke of last year. Apple producing another Netbook.

apaintz
apaintz

I choose, Other! The "FPGA" Chip, as a 1000Core/Circut Processor! Though not a "Consumer's Product" it was produced in 2010, according to Media Postings!

jheflin
jheflin

Takes a big man to admit they were wrong and makes for a better article. Thanks for doing both. Joe

kevmark58
kevmark58

Most people are simply thinking of computer products. The most innovative product was the Chevy Volt. A dynamic, paradigm shifting automobile that will be remembered as the beginning of the electrification of the automobile and the beginning of weaning us off of foreign oil.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

When hacked the possibilities are impressive.

kannank22
kannank22

4G is the most unbeleivable innovative technology that is in wireless networks(high speed).....

AssemblerRookie
AssemblerRookie

Nothing stimulated my intellect in 2010. All that there was, is some updates on existing technology. Or have my 15 years in the industry dulled me somewhat?

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

I think it is the entire smart phone genre, not just a single unit or software. To lock into "the most important" I really cannot come up with one.

Daniel Breslauer
Daniel Breslauer

The only new thing from 2010 that I use is MS Office 2010. How could you not include it on this list?

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Notice that these are all but 1 are gadgets. Sure they are innovative but just about all are based on older technology. The closest I can see in the above list [other than "other"] would be the Verizon 4G. This can affect everyone. The iPad Androids and other stuff is a personal thing. Innovative would be something such as the "parental control" features in Ford cars [i.e. the new drivers in the family can't go over a certain speed limit.

SanthoshKA
SanthoshKA

How you can include Google Chrome a product which is not at all available in the market till now. Google trying to centralize business now with Google Chrome and making LINUX as a 'closed source' for ever. But I vote for Andriod as the best of 2010.

mark
mark

not because it's actually going to catch on, but because it exposed the barefaced power play of the television networks. There is no good reason that content that is free on a computer should not also be free on a Google TV box... except that the gatekeepers want it that way. And sorry, the Verizon LTE network shouldn't be on the list. It's late to the game; Sprint and WiMax got there first with a better technology. (Why better? Because the dream of WiMax was unification of local area networking and carrier-based broadband with a single radio. LTE will never deliver that simplicity, and will force mobile devices to be bulkier, more expensive, and more power hungry than they could have been.)

sebaca
sebaca

i think i can`t afford any of them sadly...

ismael.suarez
ismael.suarez

I think that the kinect has opened a new window! We are seing diferent uses on each hack made on a kinect camera. New technology will bring new products! The ipad, and Samsung Galaxy Tab, was brought by the invention of the iphone and previously other failed tablets. Android and Windows Phone 7 is not innovative, just different version/flavor of a smart phone OS. 4G just an improvement of 3G. Google Chrome Notebook just another flavor of laptop + OS.

RipVan
RipVan

But for right now, "...nothing to see here..."

BlazNT2
BlazNT2

ianything, although they sell well is nothing more that something that is already here. I used windows mobile touch screen 2 years before iphone. As far as multi touch screen, I have very little use on a screen in a phone. Maybe I to have seen to much innovation to see any this year.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Depending on which Chrome but in either case both shouldn't be included. The Chrome browser has actually been out for a couple of years. Have they REALLY added anything within the past year? Nope. The Chrome OS hasn't been released to the public. It is nothing but a Linux distro. Yes. They are going to use a web browser for the desktop, but is that really innovative? There has already been other desktops out there.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... because Google TV is little more than WebTV somewhat modernized and given something similar to Windows' Media Edition. It has made such a poor showing so far that at least one of their 'partners' has stopped production of GTV devices until Google can fine-tune and upgrade the product. As yet, access to programming itself is spotty at best, some programs and channels not available at all while others are so badly time-shifted that it's easier and cheaper to simply use your own DVR from over-the-air or cable/satellite broadcast. This isn't to say the concept won't get better, but at least for now, it's not different enough to be called an 'innovation.'

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I do agree that each hack seems to offer significant improvements, but it's still too vague and inaccurate to be more than a gaming tool, though at the same time, those games can become physical therapy tools as well. However, my point is that it's the hacks to the Kinect that's making it useful, not Microsoft's own software. As yet, the Kinect itself really hasn't made any impact in the technology world, though this could be drastically different in 2011.

jlaf1986
jlaf1986

You are sooo right! I think exactly the same thing! This was a good list but fell short on some other innovations!

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

Just as it looked as though Apple had virtually closed the market share with iPhone, Android pops up and as a result offers consumers more choice. Fascinating the way application development blossomed into being just damned near equal par in variety and availability. Impressive to say the least. Good job.

neldeeb
neldeeb

When Apple introduced the windows-based graphical user interface, there was no such thing in the mass market before. Same applies to the mouse input device. Same applies to the Newton hand-held organizer. Same applies to the multi-touch screen-based smartphone. The iPhone. Nothing remotely like it was introduced before. Many smartphones came AFTER, repeating the same technology, maybe with more features (i.e. the Android) but then again, that's not the question of the survey. 2010: A multi-touch screen, 10" tablet that cannot be reintroduced competetively by any of the other companies trying to repeat it. Again Apple and it's iPad. It is simply nobody can innovate new technology in a more stylish and marketable way like Apple does.

jonrosen
jonrosen

Probably closest MIGHT be the Android phone series (I have a lower-end one that I love). Quite simply none of them jump out at me. Nothing more to it than that. Do I have an option to put in, myself? No, can't say that I do.. While there's been a lot of building on what's already there... Nothing has really stood out as being 'holy s*** that's great!' I agree that ChromeOS/Notebook shouldn't be on the list. And Kinect, obviously still has a way to go despite how I think it can easily top both the Wii's and PS3's motion-controllers.

douglas.gernat
douglas.gernat

That was a toughie for me between Android and iPad, for two distinct reasons: The Android debunked the fact that only the iPhone would present such a polished, user friendly, powerful smart phone, thus generating waves of ingenuity from developers, releasing hordes of apps, and even more platforms being developed Like Windows Phone 7. Even moreso, pushing Apple to make an even better product, and keeping this motion perpetually going. The iPad I feel could be important, depending on the coming take on it in the business world. It fits so well in many markets, and even its competitors suit the need for a half laptop/ half notepad hybrid. My question is: will the mainstream worker drone benefit from a light version of a workstation/ laptop. My guess is no, but then again, I'm no expert. *Gets down from soapbox*

JamesKelley
JamesKelley

The Google Chrome notebook should not be in the list, since only fancy pants like you were able to get one. I think that the ChromeOS should be in the list, and ranked #1. It has not had an impact, yet. But it is an innovation that will create huge waves in the near future. I am an IT pro, and know that I won't be using ChromeOS, except as maybe a dev VM. Many of my customers will. I'll install it for them, and they will thank me for giving them something that will cost them less money and let them do everything they wanted to do with their computers. Most of the people that are reading here will not totally understand the other 99% of the population that see a computer as something like a remote control for their TV. They just want to get to the entertainment they want, and don't want to worry about it.

N4AOF
N4AOF

For each of the products you mention, yes, Apple opened the market (although they did not initially develop the technologies); but it was other companies that made the serious market impact for each of those technologies by coming out with products that worked without requiring breaking out of jail.

mpayton
mpayton

Sorry, but it sounds like you are drinking Jobs's Koolaid. Apple did not invent those things, nor did they "innovate" them. The did, however, put them together in a consumer package far better than Xerox, PARC, Microsoft or any of the other true innovators have done. That is a part of Jobs's brilliance as is his commitment to his visions--and the other part is a design sense almost unparalleled in techdom.

neldeeb
neldeeb

you may have a point for few cases maybe. Anyway, no Apple-innovated cases didn't work very well and Apple never needed any other company stealing their innovation to make that technology work, except if you limit your point to breaking out of jail (which I consider a bad strategy from Apple, I consider, but I can live with, considering what I get from their technologies)

neldeeb
neldeeb

First of all, try to concentrate on the subject in question, rather than what drinks you think I drink. It shows your intellectual level. Secondly, I didn't say anything about Apple inventing stuff. But what's the point of inventing something that proves a failure when it is tried to be marketed to be used by the masses (which is what I call useful as a technological innovation, which is what Apple does time after time, which is the subject of this questionaire) W e are not talking here about xyz company who invented something that was a failure when trying to make the mass market use it/buy it. Thirdly, Microsoft NEVER innovated anything. They simply bought or stole successful technologies from others, then turned those technologies into failures (filled with bugs, BSODs, viruses, i.e. not secure, etc.)

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