Saturday, December 26, 2009

2000 – 2009: A Decade of Technology Innovation in Review

Some remarkable advances have been made with technology since the dawn of the 21st century.  Personally, I love gadgets and think it would be fun to look back on this eventful decade of innovation.  Here are my picks for the “best of the best” through the last ten years:

Toyota Prius -- The First Hybrid Car


Segway PT

Hybrid Car — Toyota released the Toyota Prius, the first hybrid four-door sedan available in the United States. Hybrid cars use a gasoline or diesel engine to power a motor. When the power of the motor is not required to move the vehicle, the motor can shut off, saving energy, or can be used to generate electricity that is stored in batteries, and later used to power the car.  Between 2004 and 2009 it is estimated that 1.25 million of these vehicles were sold in the United States.  To this day the Prius is still the most popular vehicle of its kind.


Segway PT — Created by Dean Kamen the Segway Human Transporter is the first self-balancing, electric-powered transportation machine. It is a personal transport device that uses five gyroscopes and a built-in computer to remain upright.

iPod 1st Generation

iPod — On October 23, 2001 Apple Computers publicly announced their portable music digital player, the iPod, created under project codename Dulcimer.  One man that could be named the father of the iPod is Tony Fadell. Tony, a former employee of General Magic and Phillips, wanted to invent a better MP3 player.  He went to work for Apple Computers in 2001 as an independent contractor, leading a team of thirty people to develop the new MP3 player.  Within eight months, Tony Fadell’s team and PortalPlayer completed a prototype iPod and Apple polished the user interface adding the famous scroll wheel.

Apple announced in April 2007 that the 100 millionth iPod had been sold. Apple claims the iPod is the fastest-selling music player in history.  It is estimated that approximately 86% of MP3 player users own an iPod, an astounding figure.

Here are some amazing iPod Sales Statistics:


Camera Phones — Introduced to the North American marketplace in 2002, an estimated 80 million camera phones were sold in 2003, — 6 million in the U.S. alone.  By 2003 more camera phones were sold worldwide than stand-alone digital cameras.  At the end of 2008, the world-installed base of camera phones was 1.9 billion.


Itunes Music Store — the concept was simple:  sell songs in digital format for less than a buck and let buyers play them whenever and wherever they like—as long as it was on an Apple iPod.   Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO  spent the previous year negotiating an unprecedented deal with all five major music  labels and thousands of independents. His iTunes software, would become a gateway to the Music Store, where you could easily find and save music to your hard drive, CD or iPod music player—no subscription necessary, just 99 cents per song, or $9.99 for an album.  As of January 2009, the store has sold 6 billion songs, accounting for 70% of worldwide online digital music sales and making the service the largest legal music retailer.


DirecTV HD DVR — Rated by CNET as one of the top ten products at the CES 2004 show, this TIVO device took digital video recording to the next level.  The 250GB drive held 30 hours of high-def programming or 200 hours of standard TV.  I bought one of these puppies when they first arrived in the marketplace and it was one of the best a/v component purchases I have ever made.


YouTube — Created in February 2005, by three former PayPal employees, YouTube was touted as a cutting-edge video sharing service.  In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google.  Alexa ranks YouTube as the fourth most visited website on the Internet, behind Google, Yahoo! and Facebook.

Here are the 100 greatest hits on YouTube as seen through one user’s eyes… Some humorous moments for sure:


Wii — is a home video game console released by Nintendo.  A distinguishing feature of the console is its wireless controller, the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detects movement in three dimensions. Another distinctive feature of the console is WiiConnect24, which enables it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while in standby mode.  As of December 2009, the Wii leads the generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales.


The iPhone — who else, but of course Steve Jobs, CEO for Apple, Inc. to take smartphones to a higher standard.  This device, though controversial, is pretty, touchy-feely, and has a tremendous future.  Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the U.S. alone.  33.75 milliion of the devices have been sold world-wide to date.

iPhone 2G


Amazon Kindle — With the paper-like legibility of electronic ink, long battery life, and the ability to hold thousands of pages, e-book readers were already quite handy in 2008.   But Amazon made them even more convenient by adding a free cellular connection for plucking newspapers, magazines—even entire books—out of the air in seconds.  A truly brilliant innovation!

The Kindle by Amazon


You Decide!!!  — Watch the Time Magazine video identifying the 50 Best Inventions of 2009 and then let us know what you think is the coolest gadget to hit our planet this year.

Is there a gadget, not mentioned here, but developed in the last 10 years, that has impacted your life?  Please share your perspective with us!

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam Smith December 29, 2009 at 5:28 am

Hi Mike,

Thanks for putting together this list! There are several great ideas here. The big theme that jumped out at me is that most of the items on this list changed the way that we create and consume content.

Where did Blogs and social networks (facebook) end up on your list? I know that these are not sophisticated technologies – but they definitely had a powerful impact on the last half of this decade.

– Sam


Michael M McCurry CMP December 29, 2009 at 8:17 am

@Sam Smith,

Well, you didn’t disappoint me… I was anticipating that someone would bring up social media in response to this article. :)

This article was focused on gadgetry primarily, although come to think of it YouTube showed up on my list. There is no question that Blogs and web 2.0 applications have had a revolutionary impact on the way we think, act and live. I am planning a follow up article that will exclusively focus on this subject.

Thanks for calling that out Samuel and for contributing to the discussion.



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Bobby September 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

The list is rather electronics heavy already, but I think Youtube could replace the wii.

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