Into the future

The last decade (or the ‘noughties’ as they’re referred to) brought us netbooks, Facebook, Twitter, smartphones and numerous other technological breakthroughs. At the dawn of the next decade, what are some of the technological trends that will become hot topics in 2010? We list what we think will be popular this year.

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Into the future Could 2010 be the year of 3D?
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  February 2, 2010
3D Television

The likes of James Cameron’s Avatar have reignited a spark in the 3D visual field, but when big manufacturers such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and LG showcase their latest 3D TV products at CES 2010, one has to begin to wonder whether this will be more than just a fad. Sony has the LX and HX series, which form part of the Bravia LCD series.

The TVs come with two pairs of 3D glasses and a built in emitter. Apart from being able to watch your movies in 3D, you’ll also be able to play your games on your Playstation 3 in 3D as well. The likes of Panasonic’s TC-PVT25 series also includes a pair of 3D glasses, whilst, strangely, other manufacturers such as LG and Samsung have not yet seemingly committed to providing the glasses set with their television sets, but rather sell them separately. These TVs won’t come cheap though, with the Sony TVs being sold at a cool US $ 7000 and only a few movies being 3D compatible…

The Nexus One

Google’s first phone, manufactured by HTC, is not just important because it is the search engine’s first shift into the hardware space, but also because it ultimately doesn’t matter whether the phone performs well or not. Already, customers in the US have been complaining endlessly about how the phone has edgy 3G support and a malfunctioning touch screen. Mobile phones, clearly, are not Google’s core business (as compared to the likes of Samsung, LG, Nokia and the rest).

But this device has one over-arching purpose: extend Google’s advertising reach into the mobile world. When considering that most of the world still doesn’t own computers, the likes of Nexus could help Google ‘leapfrog’ its grip on search further by accessing untapped mobile markets (which has strong growth in regions such as the Middle East and Africa). Also, the fact that it's unlocked makes it more accessible around than world as compared to the iPhone. The unlocked Nexus One though could set you back about US $500.

Project Natal

Ever since the game console was invented, the joystick has been one of its defining icons. Getting rid of it completely will change the playing field. That’s what Project Natal will do for the Xbox when it’s launched this year. The motion and voice detector add-on is targeted at the less hardcore gamers.

Natal will be launched at the end of this year, so, we’ll see if it eats into the market of game console systems such as the Nintendo Wii. If you were wondering, like we were, about where and how the folks at Microsoft came up with the name ‘Project Natal’, it apparently stems from Microsoft’s tradition of using cities as code names.

‘Natal’ happens to be a Brazilian city, the country of origin of Microsoft director Alex Kipman. The word ‘Natal’ also happens to mean ‘of or relating to birth’ thus signifying a new era in home entertainment. Well, we’re sure the likes of Sony might have a few surprises with their Playstation 3 as well with its foray into the motion controller sphere…

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