December 31, 2011

Technology Trends in 2011

Ya! Every one, every tech blog out on the planet, is doing a recap of 2011. I thought I will do one on techedIN too, depending on what caught my attention in 2011. There were plenty of trends in the Information Technology world that I consider as trends that defined 2011, for various reasons. I would like to list them for you!

Social Media Revolutions
What Malcom Gladwell said in 2010 was proved wrong in 2011! He tried to postulate why revolution will not be tweeted. And that whole line of argument was proved wrong in 2011, when Social Networks had a greater role to play in almost all political uprisings across the world. From Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, protesters and agitators across the world used Facebook and Twitter to organize and move. It was proved that  if you have a smartphone and a twitter account, you could bring on a revolution. It was proved that social networks like Twitter and Facebook can help to bring about change in more ways than we thought.

2011 was also a year when hacking went wild. Almost every month you woke up reading about a website or email that was hacked. You heard about accounts compromised. And secusity breached. LulzSec and Anonymus became some sort of modern day heros for their Robin Hood like approach to hacking. Companies like Sony were punished and hacked for their greed.  Their "Operation Anti-security was aimed at protesting government censorship and monitoring of internet. Thus, the new word Hacktivism was born.

Mobile Overload
There were big time battles to take over that huge space in the future of computing, mobile technology. We witnessed wars. Apple suing companies that made Android devices. Oracle suing Google. Patent Trolls trying to earn some quick money suing developers. And then we saw the market flooded by tablets and smart phones. Apple, Google and Microsoft led the show. iOS, Android and WP 7 became household names. RIM was trying to survive. Nokia became famous for trying nothing to handle the decline of their Symbian OS. HP came up with WebOS, something that tech gurus dubbed as the best tablet OS ever, and then killed it. And then there was the HP fire sale! And then you had Amazon joining the war with Kindle Fire. Touchscreen became the fashion. 2011 was overloaded by mobile phones! And Steve Jobs passed away! Ice Cream Sandwich was born!

Rise and Fall of Location
Location based applications either changed their course or committed suicide in 2011. People began to see why location based applications like Gowalla or Foursquare were not that great an idea when offered alone. People learned that to make location based applications popular, you needed to club it with something else exciting. Like Facebook, a social network. Like Foodspotting, a hobby. Like badoo, a dating service based on location. No one cared for location after the initial use, if it was not clubbed with anything else.

Everybody Goes Social
Ya, I meant Google went social. After a couple of failed attempts at creating a successful social experience based on Google products and the sad demise of Orkut and the murder of Buzz, Google came up with Google+. And Facebook replied with enhance features. And everyone who came into the tech market was trying to be social in one way or the other. Almost all applications available in the market and almost all devices  in our hands are socially enabled.

Ugly Patent Wars and Trolls
This must be read along with the mobile overload. However, it was a major trend in 2011 to sue for patents. Ugly patent wars I would call them. Google failed to buy Nortel's patents, defeated by an Anti-Google consortium. Then they bought Motorola. In 2011, we say everybody trying to sue everybody else holding one or the other godforsaken patent. The most noteworthy among them is the failed attempt of Apple to stop Samsung from selling their tablets and phones. And then Oracle suing Google. Then there was some company hitherto unheard of, threatening to sue developers.

Start Up Rush
2011 was also the year of start ups. And venture capitalists. This was a year when venture capitalists got the tag "ANGEL" attached to their profile. Everyone started a start up in the hope of becoming the next Google or Facebook. From Codecademy to Oink to Sojo Studios, every one was trying everything to change the world and save the universe. You often heard the word 'bubble' floating around. You witnessed cat fights on tech blogs about why women are not coming forward to start tech start ups. You heard about how blacks are ignored in the startup world. Then you saw start up incubators trying to save the world and protect the unprotected.

Mobile Payment
Near Field Communication became the buzz word. Everyone from Google to Apple, from  Visa to Mastercard tried to take over the mobile payment space. The war is on. perhaps this war is going to define 2012. We shall wait and watch! 

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