One thing about technology, it is ever changing. Tigerpaw Software has been around for over 35 years, and we’ve seen our fair share of innovation and invention during that time both amazing things as well as head scratchers.
As we move through the first year of this new decade, we thought it would be fun to look back. Below, we give you a sampling of some of the winners and losers of technological innovation over the last decade. This will be a trip down memory lane for some and, for our more youthful readers, plenty to chuckle over. You’ll be surprised by some, shocked by others, and they will probably get you thinking of some of your own technology highlights and low-lights from the past decade.
What a year! The Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and Ke$ha released the number one hit - "TiK ToK."
Tech Win: SpaceX Rocket
SpaceX launched its first rocket into outer space. It marked the first time a private company would do so and, only 1 year later, NASA’s shuttle program would end. SpaceX recently put humans into space, too, so their tech “win” hasn’t slowed down yet.
Remember it? Probably not since it was only available from April 2010 to July 2010. It was supposed to be a cool phone for kids. Wimpy specs and overpriced service plans ensured this one would go down and fast!
This was the year that would end the 10-year manhunt for Bin Laden and it was also the year Prince William married Kate Middleton for all you Royals fans!
Tech Win: IBM Watson
I’ll never forget watching IBM’s Watson battle wits with Ken Jennings as a contestant on Jeopardy! IBM proved to the world that it had successfully moved beyond the “Big Blue” image to become one of the leaders in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Motorola’s attempt to enter the booming tablet market was almost as comical as the silly name they gave their tablet. Xoom? Seriously?! By the 3rd quarter of 2011, Motorola had shipped only 100,000 Xoom tablets. That sounds like a lot until you look at how many iPads sold in the same timeframe: 11 million.
For all you Marvel Avengers fans, 2012 marked the release of the first in the series. Movie tickets were only $8 bucks and a dozen eggs would set you back a whopping $1.54!
Tech Win: Curiosity Rover
NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover successfully lands on Mars! It took over 8 months to make the mind boggling 35-million-mile journey and it landed a mere 1.5 miles from its intended landing site! I can barely park between the yellow lines in a parking lot and can’t get my head around just how complex this tech win must have been to pull off.
Tech Fail: Google Nexus Q
Q might be one of the coolest characters in the James Bond films because of all his incredible gadgets, but the name couldn’t have been worse for Google. The Nexus Q was intended to be Google’s answer to set-top media streaming. The only thing it streamed was bad reviews and an early demise.
2013 was the year that India proved the US wasn’t having Mars all to itself. They successfully launched the Mars Orbiter Mission which is still transmitting data back today! It was a sad year for ’30 Rock fans as Tina Fey and friends aired their final episode.
Tech Win: Western Digital Helium Hard Drive
Back in 2013, “The Cloud” was just coming into its own and data storage was an expensive problem. Western Digital released the world’s first hard drive that was filled with helium instead of air. No, it wasn’t so they could float the drives in the cloud! This improvement led to some of the first data-center grade 6TB storage units.
Tech Fail: Apple iOS 7
Anybody who had an iPhone 4 or 4S probably remembers upgrading and bricking their phones thanks to iOS 7. It made the phones glitchy, slow and practically unusable. Worse yet, Apple wouldn’t allow you to remove the upgrade. Apple doesn’t often have a rotten one on their tree but the iOS 7 blunder certainly was!
Likely the most heartfelt moment of 2014 was the opening of One World Trade Center in New York City. If you’ve never been there, it should be on your bucket list. It is a cultural and architectural wonder and a wonderful monument to a terrible event.
Tech Win: Oculus Rift
Virtual Reality technology is everywhere now. Gamers, designers and scientists are finding all kinds of new ways to realize the incredible ways it can enhance nearly every experience. Facebook bought the company for a whopping $2 billion dollars when the headsets were not even for sale. If you ever run into our President, James Foxall, ask him to tell you what he thinks of his Vive Pro setup in 2020. You’ll see his face light up like a Christmas tree, I promise!
Tech Fail: Blackberry Passport
Blackberry was once the king of smartphones for the business world, but had been dwindling in stature thanks to the adoption of iPhone and Android phones. The Blackberry Passport was intended to shake up the smartphone world by being, well, SQUARE. If you’re reading this and bought one, you’ll remember they were impossible to use with one hand and watching videos left black bars larger than the video you were watching. It squarely and spectacularly failed and put some of the final nails in the Blackberry phone coffin.
2015 was a year of incredible cultural introspection and galactic extrospection. To me it feels like just yesterday that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft starting sending back incredibly detailed pictures of our furthest planet in the solar system, Pluto. In film, it was “12 Years A Slave” that took the Academy award for best picture.
Tech Win: USB-C
I know, sounds ridiculous to choose a USB cable as the best technological innovation of 2015, but hear me out. It was the first USB design to be used by both Google (Chromebook Pixel) and Apple (MacBook)! It also allowed for Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 transfer protocol which made using USB for more than power a reality.
Tech Fail: Qualcomm snapdragon 810
The snapdragon 810 was too hot to handle, literally! The processor was dropped by Samsung for its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. To Qualcomm’s credit, they fixed the issue quickly but it left a stain on their reputation and allowed competitive chip makers like MediaTek and Kirin to grab market share they might not otherwise have enjoyed.
2016 was a year of comings and goings. In 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting President to visit Cuba since 1928. It was also the year that the UK voted in a referendum to exit the European Union. Five years later, they’re still working out the details.
Tech Win: Tesla Autopilot
Before 2016, the concept of self-driving cars was both terrifying and the stuff of science fiction. Thanks to Elon Musk, all that would change. Every Tesla built since October 2016 come standard with the necessary hardware to facilitate autonomous driving. The innovations in both software and hardware to make this possible are nearly impossible to comprehend. Love it or hate it, self-driving cars are here to stay and the technology to drive them forward keeps improving at a dizzying rate.
Tech Fail: Tay AI
Microsoft created a Twitter account for Tay.ai that went so horribly wrong they decommissioned the chatty bot after one day. Tay was designed to learn by engaging with teenagers (no comment!). It then started tweeting holocaust denials, bragged about drug consumption and even shared a proclamation that feminists should burn in hades. Yeah. Tay sure knew how to silence a room.
2017 was a year of disruption and change. Washington was shaken up (for better or for worse depending on who is reading this!) as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Cybercrime skyrocketed as 150 countries were impacted by the WannaCry ransomware attack.
Tech win: SanDisk 400GB microSD card
Legend has it that Bill Gates once famously stated at a technology conference in 1981 that “640K ought to be enough for anybody”. Fast forward to 2017 and SanDisk made it possible to store 400GB of data on a form factor that measures 15mm x 11mm x 1mm. Now you can buy a 1TB microSD card for under $500.
Tech Fail: Samsung Galaxy Note 7
After its release in November, it didn’t take long before owners of the Galaxy Note 7 started complaining that their phones started catching on fire. It got so bad that many airlines banned the phones from being taken on flights! Fortunately for Samsung, the S8 was a much cooler (see what I did there?) device, literally!
In Russia, Vladimir Putin was elected for a 4th consecutive term. In Europe, the launch of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) would forever change the responsibility of technology companies and how they protect their customers personal and private information.
Tech win: 3D metal printing
3D printers, since their inception, have revolutionized the manufacturing industry. With the addition of 3D metal printing added to the mix in 2018, printing on demand for parts - previously requiring the creation of expensive die and cast - became economical and just plain cool.
Tech fail: CRISPR Babies
CRISPR is an incredible innovation for gene editing that uses common bacterial antiviral defense systems. It holds the promise of fixing many genetic diseases to help people live healthier lives. Genetic engineering, however, is fraught with moral issues. In 2018, a Chinese scientist crossed the line by editing the genes of twin babies to build HIV immunity. The international community pretty much unanimously condemned the “successful” experiment.
Thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope project, the first images of a black hole located in the M87 galaxy were taken. It was also the year that the US/China trade war heated up and Google announced it would no longer provide Android support for new Huawei model phones.
Tech win: Google Duplex
We’ve had assistants like Alexa, SIRI and Google Assistant for years now. Until recently, they haven’t really been that smart. Thanks to new language comprehension techniques developed by Google for its assistant, that’s changing. Google Duplex, an upgrade to the traditional Google Assistant, moved ahead of the pack by incorporating a language learning system called BERT. Question is, what did they do with Ernie?
Tech fail: Samsung Galaxy Fold
The smartphone market has been due for a killer innovation beyond camera improvements for a lot of years now. Samsung thought a handset with a foldable screen would do the trick. Unfortunately, the foldable phone was also an easily breakable phone. I guess we’ll just keep getting better camera technology for now.
We’re now over six months into a new decade of technological innovation. I wonder what things will rise to the top and amaze us and which will sink to bottom and have us scratching our heads. We would love to hear about some of your own ideas for this list, both past and future, so please share in the comments section!
We encourage you to continue innovating and adapting in 2020 and beyond. As one of the leading PSA providers, we spend a lot of time helping companies to innovate and to automate their business lives. If you’re looking to innovate and improve how you run your technology solutions business, we’d love to have a chat.