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Gadgets: Ten things that changed if you spent the last five years in hypersleep

1. Sony finally got it, but still doesn’t get it.
Sony finally ditched proprietary music files, but still hasn’t updated its copy ‘n’ control development model. And get this: the latest Playstation is getting its rear end kicked by both Microsoft and Nintendo. Nintendo! Sir Howard’s obviously tired of wrapping duct tape around the beast and the stock’s in the toilet. But then again, whose isn’t?

2. No-one admits it, but piracy is mainstream.
The music industry has realized that DRM, and suing its own customers, is self-destructive. But instead of adapting, the labels stand proudly at the bow of their sinking ship, saluting the sunset.

3. Apple has 20% consumer market share.
If you’ve got a decent laptop and you’re not getting it on the company dime, it’s probably got a picture of an Apple on it.

4. iPhone is no longer a dusty Linksys trademark.
Speaking of Apple, it’s now selling an iPod phone that’s quite the talking point. Palm is on an inexplicable death march up a magical fantasy rainbow made of Linux. All the more depressing for it is Google, which did the exact same thing but managed to get it finished before the second coming of Christ.

5. Firefox sucks
You know that efficient fast Mozilla spinoff browser, “Phoenix,” that everyone’s talking about? It changed its name twice, stole 20 percent market share from IE, then became the bloated, floating corpse of its own promise.

6. Netbooks
Those cheap, nasty subnotebooks that HP and NEC occasionally try and flog to vertical markets are now the hottest thing on Earth. They call them “Netbooks” now. Just about everyone makes one except Apple and Sony. For while, they tried to rebadge Handheld PCs as “Ultramobile PCs,” ruining their battery life by having them run full-scale operating systems, but no-one fell for it.

7. A new optical disk format war brewed, exploded and was won
… But people can get high-definition movies streamed over cable TV, and things ain’t looking too hot for the winner. Yes, we all threw away cathode ray tubes and rear-projection sets and bought plasma TVs. No, DLP did not really take off.

7b. So how did watching mini-DVDs on the handheld PlayStation work out?
Don’t ask.

8. No, you can’t have fast fiber-optic internet. Not yours.
The U.S. isn’t in the top 5 on the broadband penetration charts anymore. It’s barely in the top 20. Sen. John McCain may have email, but he wouldn’t know it.

9. Bloggers, not AOL, took over the internet.
There are now about 40,000 gadget blogs, not just Gadgeteer, Gizmodo and Engadget. Hi, mom!

10. It’s a WWANtopia out here!
Cellphones are now offered with reasonable agreements and a diverse set of contractual options. SMS messaging is no longer more expensive than using a satellite phone, and carriers no longer act like a cartel, rationing new cellular technologies to maximize quarterly profits over the long-term competitive well-being of their own industry. Haha, got you. Yeah, they’re still a bunch of arseholes.






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