Photo: By Tom Raftery on flickr
As we approach the end of the first decade of the new millennium, I took a moment to look back at 2010 to catalogue the changes that have be meaningful to Web content, and video in particular, and what will continue to influence our understanding and approach to technology over the next 10 years.2010 was the year of the iPad.
The stunning success of the sale of the iPad far exceeded the crop of early adopters and gadget geeks that were expected. With sales exceeding 8.5 million this year, and 20 million in 2010, it seems clear that Jobs and the Apple gang have figured out that there was a need for a new kind of device. The iPad is not a computer, and it’s not a phone – it’s a media consumption device. Comfortable at home, on the kitchen counter, or nightstand. Its form factor, bright screen, extraordinary battery life, and cool operating temperature brings a whole new meaning to the word “laptop.”
2010 was the year Over-The-Top became a reality.
Depending on who’s data you believe, there’s a slow trickle of customers away from cable TV – or there’s a run for the exits. But when the guy who cuts my hair tells me that he canceled his cable six months ago, and neither he nor his kids care – well, that’s clearly a fork in the road. What happened? A few things – Web content continues to get better, cable continues to assume that customers won’t leave, and the emergence of Hulu and Netflix have created a safe customer experience for folks looking for a new way to control their TV.
2010 was the year that e-books arrived.
Here too, the combination of hardware and software has made it easier for consumers to adopt and transition. With Amazon leading the way with the Kindle – the shear size of the offerings that these light, easy-to-use devices can access has ignited an explosion of new reading behaviours. For sure there are complexities here, but the book biz seems to have learned from the catastrophe that befell the music business. Books don’t seem to have the same pirate eco-system that mp3’s fostered – so publishing may be on its way to a new economic model that works.
Lot’s of other buzzed-about trends didn’t have the same acceleration. 3D screens, for all the post Avatar buzz doesn’t seem to be flying off the shelves. Game console tech is flat – as more and more social gaming moves to the Web and Facebook. Facetime seems like an Apple idea that is simply stuck behind to many limitations from carriers and bandwidth – at least for now. The iOS / Android battle is heating up, but it’s hard to pick a winner in this important but noisy space. It’s easy to compare to the VHS / Betamax battle from years gone by – where quantity won out over quality. But Apple’s sales numbers say otherwise.
To wrap it up in a pretty bow – 2010 is the year the content went digital, portable, and became consumer-centric. Any business model built on scarcity, control of a distribution network, or so-called “premium” content will need to re-think its offering to ride the wave of change coming in 2011.
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