If the 2000s was the decade where modern technology really started showing its usefulness to the regular consumers, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that the 2010s can be described as the one where technology not just turned omnipresent, but the consumers really became dependent on it. It is not that all the interesting gadgets spurred during this decade itself, but the speed at which processors became smaller, cameras became sharper, and AI became smarter, the culmination of everything presented itself in the form of some really interesting gadgets.
During the decade, thousands of gadgets were made available, with many of them becoming an integral part of our daily lives. But, there were many others that attracted the attention because of the trend that they set or the potential that the innovation behind them displayed. Below is a list of such gadgets that got known by millions worldwide for the interest they generated.
Launched in 2010, Microsoft Kinect seemed like the next revolution in the video gaming space. Interacting with the console through motion, gesture, and spoken commands without the need for a controller surely looked like a thing from the future. However, Microsoft stopped the production of Kinect for Xbox 360 in 2017. Despite the failure, the technology behind Kinect attracted developers and researchers who used Kinect’s advanced sensor features. After noticing this, even Microsoft realised its usefulness and began integrating the device with the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform — but specifically for development purposes.
It’s a computer that is small and cheap, and it’s powerful too. Raspberry Pi, a Linux computer, was originally made to promote coding in schools. Launched in 2012, it was originally meant to boost students’ curiosity but ended up being loved by even commercial customers. The computer has evolved since then and it now comes with features like gigabit Ethernet and enhanced processing power. Initially, it was expected that only a few thousand units of Raspberry Pi would be sold but thanks to the interest that it generated, over 30 million units of the computer have been sold.
Google Glass was an attempt towards envisioning a world where our view could be augmented with more information. Like many other innovations of this decade, this gadget was not devoid of controversies. Its ability to record videos made Google bring out a dos and don’ts list on the usage of Google Glass. Although the gadget that was launched in 2013 never really took off, it did open up the possibilities of changing how people live their lives and receive and deal with information. Magic Leap One is one step in that direction, but there is still a long way to go. Probably, when we write the next decade ender piece, we will be talking about how far we have come in AR-infused glasses space.
Wearables are a big craze in today’s world. At the end of this decade, they are more sleek, smart, and stylish than ever before. But it was not like this since forever. The first time when a smartwatch really seemed like a smart buy was when the Pebble was launched in 2013. It looked like a regular watch while other devices looked bulky, and that’s why many loved Pebble. Easily connectable via Bluetooth, Pebble was a wearable computer ready to deliver all the information you needed on your wrist.
Before there was Chromecast, streaming media from a computer or smartphone required you to jump through a lot of hoops. With the launch of Chromecast in 2013, Google made streaming media from a phone or PC very simple. It also became a cheap way to turn a dumb TV into a smart TV. Add to that its affordable price, it spread quickly among streaming enthusiasts. Today, with smart TVs being the new normal, many still prefer buying non-smart TVs with a Chromecast or its alternative from Amazon.
You speak to a cylinder-like thing and people around you do not give you weird looks. Rather, the cylindrical box replies with answers. Something like this was seen only in sci-fi movies with actors talking to super-smart computers. That’s how much the world has changed over this decade. The Alexa-powered gadget launched in 2014 has been a trendsetter for several competitors who saw that voice-assistants are here to stay. The popularity of Echo speakers has not come without controversies. The proliferation of speakers has been marred with allegations of the devices eavesdropping on its owners. Apart from that, many complain that voice-assistants are still not smart enough and there is still a long way to go.
Apple got rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack on its iPhones with the launch of its iPhone 7 models in 2016 and compensated for it with the wireless AirPods. The 2016 AirPods were powered by Apple W1 wireless chip that enabled quick pairing and connectivity with the iPhone. The wireless earphones featured dual optical sensors and accelerometers. These sensors detected when the headphones were in the ears and only played when you were ready to listen. AirPods soon became a sensation and millions across the globe showed interest in the device. With the launch of the new AirPods Pro, Apple further has pushed the boundaries of innovation by adding in-ear design and noise cancellation.
Nintendo Switch is easily the best video game console of this decade. The convenience and portability that it offers have enabled players to take the game anywhere they want without losing out on the experience. With games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario, Zelda, the versatile console launched in 2017 has attracted the interest of many video gaming enthusiasts.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
The smartphone space has seen huge advancements in all aspects this decade. Just when it seemed like after all the improvements we have witnessed, the scope for innovation will become less, the foldable phones arrived. The initial days of Samsung Galaxy Fold, which was the first mainstream foldable phone to be announced, were not something Samsung would like to remember. Nevertheless, Samsung came back with fixes and the phone seems to have gotten a decent response despite the hefty price tag. It has also pushed other smartphone maker to speed up their own foldable phone plans.