The 2000s were a great decade for technology. We are still seeing influences from this recent time period today.In case you don’t remember, here are 10 pieces of tech that changed everything by making our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Bluetooth, a low-power, short-range wireless technology, was launched by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba in early 1998. The Bluetooth 1.0 specifications were released on July 26, 1999, but the technology wasn't inexpensive enough for widespread use until the 2000s. Now we take it for granted--it's in everything from garage-door openers to wireless keyboards.
HDTV technology was developed in the '90s but took off in the 2000s.
It was during the 2000s that HDTVs became widely available at prices everyone could afford. Today almost all homes have at least one HDTV. And crucially, by going all-digital, HDTV brought the television set into the world of bits. Now Google, Apple, and others are trying to connect our TVs to the Internet.
If it wasn't for the iPod, the iPhone and iPad wouldn't exist. But the gadget seems so archaic now.
Released on October 23, 2001, with 5GB of storage that held 1,000 128kbps MP3s, a two-inch black-and-white screen, and a mechanical scroll wheel surrounded by four buttons, it used a relatively rare cable connector--FireWire--and only worked with Macs at first.
Yet without the iPod, Apple wouldn't have iTunes, which led to the iTunes Store, which led to the App Store--the crucial differentiator that's keeping the iPhone and iPad ahead of the mobile pack today.
Blu-ray set out to redefine the video-disc market--but not in the way its creators expected. By waging a protracted war with a competing standard, HD-DVD, Blu-ray's backers ended up making both technologies irrelevant. By holding back adoption, the pointless feud set the stage for the death of physical discs--and for Apple, Hulu, and Netflix to bring online streaming video to the mass market.
The Nintendo Wii popularised movement-based controllers for games. Microsoft's Kinect and PlayStation's Move system followed its release.
But more importantly, by appealing to women, young children, and older adults, the Wii proved there was a market for digital play beyond the young men who typically bought consoles and video-game titles. It presaged the rise of companies like Zynga and King.com, whose games appeal to a broader range of people than ever played hardcore console games.
USB flash drives replaced floppy drives and optical discs. When they first debuted in the 2000s, they had what now seems like a laughably small capacity--only 256 megabytes?
The first commercially-available USB flash drive was the ThumbDrive, produced by Singapore company Trek Technology in 2000. Later that year, IBM came out with its own model, the DiskOnKey.
Today, the sturdy drives support up to 256 GB. But more importantly, they inspired consumers with the idea of portable, personal storage that goes anywhere--an idea that cloud-based storage services like Dropbox are taking to the next level.
It's hard to remember now how popular BlackBerrys were in the previous decade. The devices defined the entire smartphone genre. Where else could you receive email, manage your calendar, and stay on top of all your other business in one place?
While Apple and Google clobbered BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, the BlackBerry deserves credit for stoking the marketplace that iPhone and Android devices came to dominate.
The Kindle burst onto the tech scene in November 2007. The first version of the Kindle sold out in just five hours. The device remained out of stock for five months until late April 2008.
Crucially, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw that he couldn't wait for the book-publishing industry to come up with a compelling e-reader. While the first Kindle was simple, it presaged all the entertainment-focused tablets that followed--including Amazon's own Kindle Fire line.
Both operating systems debuted during the early 2000s, shedding archaic decades-old software infrastructure to bring a modern computing experience to consumers. The contemporary versions of Windows and OS X draw on these systems' roots--and are now spreading to the mobile world, too, through Windows Phone 8 and iOS.
The original iPhone was released in 2007 for $499 (4GB) and $599 (8GB). The device included a 2-megapixel camera, 3.5-inch 320 x 480 LCD screen, and sold over 30 million units. It proved that people didn't just want a smarter phone--they wanted a computer in their pocket.
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