Each week Adam Frucci takes a closer look at the latest gadget buzz in his column, Shift.
Image by Matt Krueger
We've got a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and I don't mean that in a sappy "We Are the World" kind of way. I mean as technology enthusiasts, it's been an awesome year to follow gadgets and tech. There are three things that have happened this year that has made it stand out above past years: boatloads of cool products launched at a regular basis, innovative services that have surprised us with their usefulness, and the growing acceptance of gadgets as more than just the playthings of the rich and nerdy. All of this is combining to change our lives in ways we'd never imagined. Let me lay down for you why 2006 has been one of the best years for technology in recent memory and why I'm totally psyched for 2007.
It's not just cool products, either. There have been huge innovations on the Internet that have really changed the way we view and process media and information. With high-speed broadband connections now basically a given in most areas, sites like YouTube have become wildly popular by allowing people to watch videos immediately with no wait. MySpace, in addition to how it's changed how people interact socially, has completely revolutionized how people discover music. Someone told you to check out a cool new band? No need to buy their CD or even wait for a download to check them out. Just go to their MySpace page and listen to one of their songs immediately while checking out their photos, tour dates, and incoherent fan comments.
This year has shown that society is moving towards a total embrace of the types of technology that's been marginalized for years. It's not because everyone is getting geekier, no. It's because technology is really becoming a huge parts of peoples lives by improving upon them in a multitude of ways. It's getting to the point where new products and services are just seen as natural steps in how we live our lives, not just idiosyncratic toys that engineering majors are into.
And it all bodes well for the future. In the coming year we'll see wireless broadband becoming more ubiquitous, allowing all of the fun stuff we love to play with online to move to our cell phones and PDAs. We'll see GPS becoming used more on our phones, much like the Helio Drift does now, not to mention whatever innovations Apple will bring to the sector when it announce its iPhone. Computers will continue to get faster, smaller, and cheaper, allowing for slicker and more innovative games and an easier time at the office. HDTVs will get cheaper, and we'll begin to see standard-def sets go the way of old black-and-white TVs. Perhaps most exciting of all, we'll have products and services announced that we've never dreamed of, stuff that will change our lives for the better while surprising us with their mere existence. It's not just a great time to be a geek; it's a great time all around.