“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”
Dr. Emmett Brown – Back to the Future
Ok, so maybe we still need roads. Hollywood usually over-estimates how technology will be in the future. Back to the Future 2 came out in 1989 but took place in 2015. Although we don’t currently have the flying cars and hoverboards that were featured in the movie, the 2010s still offered a ton of futuristic technology that we now use every day. Here is the list of the Top 10 Technologies that changed our lives in the 2010s!
“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”
Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone on January 9, 2007
No one really knew how right Steve Jobs was in 2007. The rise of smartphones has pushed the rapid development of technology and has led to the rise of almost everything on this list. Although starting in the previous decade, smartphones have progressed to a device that has changed everything in our lives. Now we have a phone to take pics and videos that can capture every moment of our lives. We can then post these moments to our social media accounts and stay in contact with family and friends at any moment, in countless different ways.
The decade started out with Blackberry taking a large percentage of the market. Photo resolution was very poor and the internet crawled at a snail’s pace. Now we use smartphones to watch TV shows and movies, buy anything we need on mobile websites and apps, and video chat with people anywhere in the world.
MySpace was created in 2003 and dominated most of that decade. In 2006 MySpace surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. Remember the stress of wanting to be in someone’s Top 8 friends ranking? There was also a time when you could only post up to 8 photos at a time on your profile and had to delete an older image if you wanted to show off a new one.
Facebook overtook MySpace in 2009 and set up a decade that would be dominated by social media. Instagram launched in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011. People can now document every minuscule detail of their lives to impress semi-friends and strangers. 55% of U.S. adults now get a portion of their news from social media Imagine a time when you couldn’t argue with strangers over politics, TV shows, and movies?
Ride Share – Uber, Lyft
In the “dark ages”, getting a taxi was no easy task. You had to stand on the curb and hope that one stopped for you. If you called on a phone for one to pick you up, it was anyone’s guess when or if it would show up. Uber and Lyft changed all of that during this decade. A user can now request a rideshare on an app and know when it will arrive and also know the total price before accepting. Gone are the days of jumping in a cab and wondering how much you’ll be charged at the end of the ride. Also, since Uber/Lyft drivers use their own vehicles, they usually feel more comfortable and are usually cleaner than a traditional cab.
Amazon has been around since 1994 but really changed the game in the 2010s. Starting out as just an online bookstore, they now sell almost any item you can think of such as food, clothes, electronics and toys. Amazon is now the largest e-commerce retailer by online revenue in the world. Free delivery for Amazon Prime members made many consumers abandon brick and mortar retailers since they could now get their items delivered in one or two days, and sometimes in the same day.
Streaming Movies/TV – Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video
Netflix launched in 1998 as the first online DVD rental store. It wasn’t until 2007 that Netflix started its streaming service. In 2013, Netflix released House of Cards as their own in-house produced show. This started the “original content” revolution that is now used to differentiate streaming services from one another.
Throughout the decade, steaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and new-comer Disney + were all fighting over market share. Since this original content can be watched outside of a traditional cable TV subscription, over 33 million people have “cut the cord” and canceled cable.
GPS Apps – Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze
GPS technology has been around for decades but it wasn’t until the 2010s that everyone had navigation apps at their disposal on their smartphones. Before that, people had to buy a standalone GPS device such as a TomTom. Most still relied on printing out driving directions from MapQuest or Google Maps. Google Maps ended the need of having to print out directions or buy costly devices, by releasing an app in 2008. This lead to Apple Maps launching their own app in 2012 and Waze in 2013. Now people can keep their eyes on the road while listening to turn-by-turn directions. These apps will tell you about traffic and will let you know when you should arrive at your destination. Some of these apps will even warn you about road hazards and speed traps on your trip.
The first Kindle was released in 2007 and the iPad was released in 2010. These devices have progressed over the past decade and allowed people to read books and magazines on thin portable devices. However, e-books are now on the decline while independent bookstores are on the rise even while large book retailers such as Barnes and Nobles are struggling. Will this trend continue in the 2020s?
Digital assistants are now prominent inside all the major technology on the market. These assistants include Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana. They can perform simple tasks on your smartphone such as playing a particular song, starting GPS to a location or telling you the weather. Amazon has popularized home devices that have smart assistants such as the Amazon Echo. This technology is still probably in the infant stages and will be used to further control smart homes in the next decade to come.
Fitness got more high-tech in the 10s. Wearable wrist devices became standard to track fitness after Fitbit was released in 2007. Apple Watch was released in 2015 and incorporated many health and fitness functions since inception. With these devices, you can now track steps, calories burned, heart rate, sleep patterns and much more.
The 2010s saw the rise of music subscription services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Now users could pay a monthly fee and receive millions of songs that they could stream. Before this, people had to buy albums or songs individually on platforms such as iTunes or pirate them through software BearShare. When the streaming subscription services first gained popularity, you still couldn’t get all of your favorite artists. However, throughout the decade, steaming holdouts such as The Beatles, Metallica, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Garth Brooks all caved in and joined this new medium.
Seeing how much technology has changed during this past decade, what will the 20s bring us? How will our world get smaller and will life truly get easier? Also, what will we lose along the way? Will we see the end of the brick and mortar business? Will print finally die? Will real human interaction continue to decrease? I guess we will find out in 10 years for the Top 10 Technologies that changed our lives in the 2020s!