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Top 20 Tech Stories of 2010: The Good, the Bad, and Some Ugly

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It’s list making time. And here is my list for the biggest stories in 2010. There are 20 stories here, some good, some bad, and some ugly. But these are the stories that I think 2010 will be remembered for, or rather those behind the stories will be remembered for.

Later this week, I’ll have my predictions for 2011 up, but in the meantime you can check out how I scored on my 2010 predictions here or my now infamous Life on the Wicked Stage Ink Blots for 2010 here.

The Fail Whales

  • The Microsoft Kin. Announced, released, and canceled all in the same year. Bad decision all the way around proving that big companies have problems stopping bad ideas once things get moving, or until disaster hits.
  • Big Media basically stuck a knife in Google TV and other Internet entertainment for the home options because they can figure out how to make a deal. No one wants to see another Apple/iTunes situation, even if it means crippling a new product from a big company.
  • Google Wave. Wave bye-bye. Although it is going to survive in some form, Google pulled the plug on something only a few understood.
  • The JooJoo Tablet. Born as the Crunchpad, raised up as a joke filled with legal maneuvering, it is now gone. But it’s creators are saying they are headed for that great land of promise for failed ideas, the Enterprise market.
  • OEM Tablet Makers Other Than Apple. How loudly can you see retreat and regroup? Apple’s iPad sent everyone rushing into  the “me too” phase and then quickly sent them packing as everyone tried to regroup and retrench. The Year of the Tablet got postponed a bit and everyone (but Samsung) was left waiting for Google.
  • The Plastic Logic Que. Announced and canceled in less than a year.
  • Google Buzz. Another attempt by Google to get social. It’s still around and kicking, but it ain’t buzzing.
  • Apple’s White iPhone. Promised for this spring, it will come out just before the announcement of the next iPhone. Pretty amazing that this hasn’t attracted more attention.
  • CEO Woes. Nokia, HP, and others all shifted players at the top. Some were the head honchos, some were just supposedly in charge like Ray Ozzie. Some like RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Google’s Eric Schmidt need to be muzzled before they cause any more harm. Whatever the case, there are some new players and new strategies perhaps coming forth in the next year.
  • The Carriers. Still smiling while they screw us over on data charges. From their point of view you could call this a success, but then Ebenezer Scrooge thought he was doing OK until the ghost of Jacob Marley showed up.

The Successes

  • Apple iPad. Without a doubt the story of the year and perhaps the biggest success story and biggest surprise. It was destined to be a big story but I don’t even think Apple anticipated the sales success it would have in year one. Apple disrupted the industry on a number of fronts and we’re now in a transition to a future no one really knows what it will be.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab. Despite Steve Jobs’ protestations, folks seem to be loving this 7 inch Android Tablet from Samsung, even though it is running an OS not optimized for Tablets. No doubt about it, the Galaxy Tab is a success story.
  • Android. Big, strong, bold and moving forward. I don’t think there is anything stopping Android from continuing to change markets all around.
  • Netflix. Even though Big Media is playing games with everyone else, Netflix seems to be finding ways to collaborate and also make customers happy. Biggest entertainment success of the year.
  • HTC, Samsung and Motorola all are big players thanks to Android. The first two were before but Motorola was left for dead until the Droid came along. These companies have new found momentum and clout.
  • Windows Phone 7. It may be too early to say this, but if Microsoft iterates well, I think they might have found a way to plug at least one leak in the dam.
  • Facebook. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, Facebook is succeeding in taking over vast parts of the Internet.
  • Apple Air. I’ve never seen such out and out love for a new computer as the new Air seems to have generated.
  • ARM, Qualcomm and NVidia. The chip makers are scoring big and look to be scoring bigger in the future on mobile devices, leaving Intel to talk about next year.
  • Nook Color. Perhaps underrated at present this Android eReader/Tablet looks to keep things interesting on the eBook device front.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

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