2010 Mobile Tech High Points

2010 is coming to a close, and as we wind down the year, I’ve been thinking about the highs and lows in mobile technology during the year. Over all I think that 2010 is the year that mobile technology, particularly smartphones, took off. I think back to just five years ago and remember feeling as if I was the only person who owned a smartphone. I wrote books about smartphones and PDAs and my friends had no clue what it was all about, but now then know.

Ironically, even though smartphones seemed to explode on the scene this year, I think the high point of mobile tech this year was Apple’s iPad. (Remember the anticipation the night before the iPad went on sale?) The iPad’s popularity is putting mobile computing into more hands than ever before, and while you can do many things with a smartphone, the larger screens on tablets means you can run full applications. It’s not a stretch to see a future in which a tablet is the only computer a person owns.

Right behind the iPad is the rollout of 4G wireless networks in the United States. We can debate what is and is not 4G, but there is no debating that faster wireless broadband is good. All of the carriers but AT&T have rolled out significantly faster data services into enough metropolitan areas that a good number of people have an opportunity to use the service. Faster wireless speeds means there are no compromises when using mobile technology, further supporting a future where tablets and smartphones are the only computers many people own.

As I said, the number of people owning smartphones has exploded, and to some consternation, a significant number of those smartphones are running Android. Verizon’s marketing of their DROID series of Android smartphones may have been the most singificant factor for the growth of Android, combined with Verizon’s coverage in many areas of the country where other carriers do not reach. At the end of this year T-Mobile started selling a number of Android smartphones for less than $100, removing price as a reason for not buying a smartphone.

My final mobile high point in 2010 is the market acceptance of electronic books and the devices like the Amazon Kindle for reading them. I don’t dislike paper books, in fact I have a ton of them in my home office, but I do like the idea of people reading more. I know from my own use that I have read more books in 2010 than in previous years, thanks in large part to the simplicity of buying books on my Nook. Reading makes us smarter, and I am proud that mobile technology is getting more people reading.

Any way that you look at it, 2010 was an exciting year in mobile technology. For me personally what made it even more exciting is writing here on ThinkMobile.com, as that enabled me to play a small part in the excitement by sharing it with you. I am looking forward to 2011 with all that is has in store for mobile technology, and I hope you continue to join Todd and I on this little part of the Internet as we share what we learn.