Innovation of the Year 2008

For my New Technology course I talk about technology trends and in the first lecture I look at some important events of the previous year. I talk about trends such as explained in Technology Trends of 2008. I also select the Innovation of the Year 2008.

For 2007 it was the iPhone. Not because we had not seen a smartphone before – in fact the iPhone had similar features as many smartphones at the market at the time, it was because of the impact the iPhone had – the iPhone Effect. Even before the iPhone hit the market it had changed the telecom industry.

This year I present three innovations that I think were important in 2008.

First is the Apple App Store. The App Store is to iPhone what iTunes is to iPods. Apple did good job on this store and made application downloads very easy to use. With over 10.000 apps, it is reported that 300 million apps have been downloaded. And if you look at the numbers, iPhone users are far more likely to download apps than users of other smartphones.

Second innovation is hulu. Hulu, although it got a bit hyped last year, is an example of a revolution. The revolution is about separating the form and distribution from the content. While the industry was fighting format wars of disks, Hulu is providing alternative distribution format. In fact, Hulu is offering the same stuff as tradition ad-driven TV stations. It is just using different mediums. Hulu is of course not the only site providing on-line streaming of content, but what is interesting is that the owners of Hulu include content providers such as NBC and others.

And the third and last is Google’s Chrome. After few years of slow action in the web browser fight, we see something new. Again, this is not a new product but it might be the beginning of a new browser war. It might become a one of the more important fights of Internet technologies as it will determine how applications run over the network. After reviewing Chrome on my Vista driven PC (doesn’t work on my Mac) I found it to be a nice browser but I’m not sure if it is faster or more secure. At least not for my browsing.

I chose these innovations since I think they signal change. A change in how the mobile world is converging into the internet, computers and devices. How content will be delivered (and maybe the content owners are realizing this) and how applications will be deployed on the Internet.

2009 will be interesting.