POOF! There goes a decade.
Time flies fast, and this upcoming new year marks the end and beginning of a major decade. With the new year comes nostalgia, fresh starts, but more than ever before — new innovation. This creative departure from a once “normal” world of cable TV and flip phones breeds an ongoing thirst for the next big game changing piece of technology. So much has evolved and changed in just 10 years, so what’s next? Before we make exciting predictions and resolutions, let’s look back and reminisce on the inspiring digital innovations of the 2010’s.
A Social Revolution: 2010 - 2014
These 5 years sparked a revolution and established social media as more than just a fad of silly Facebook “pokes” and Myspace angst. The decade kicked off with the release of Instagram in 2010, which birthed a new era of digital validation via instantaneous double taps. With Instagram came the birth of “influencers” and careers built from curating perfect feeds with seamless product endorsements. E-commerce exploded in a way we never could’ve imagined, and online shopping is now as easy and quick as a few taps and swipes on social media. Other notable releases in 2010 alone were the iPad, which ignited tablet fever for many, Kickstarter, and 3D TVs. Snapchat popped up on the social media scene in 2011, bringing a near decade of iconic Filters and Lenses (e.g. face swap, dog filter, puking rainbow, gender swap, etc.). As smart phones evolved into necessities, developments in social media surged accordingly.
Constantly having the World Wide Web in our hands made us want everything now. Ease of access to everything through digital means became the motto of the decade. In the same year of Snapchat, the new and innovative ridesharing app, Uber Technologies (more commonly known as, Uber), changed the game for commuters everywhere. Uber set the precedent for quick and effortless transportation and grew within the decade to offer speedy food deliveries as well with, Uber Eats. 2011 continually marked a big year for more convenient living, with the release of the Nest thermostat. Ability to set, start, and stop your home air conditioning/heating units from work and on-the-go saved money and checked off one other thing for busy people everywhere. In 2014, Amazon Echo and Alexa, a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, allowed for major hands-free functionalities in households. Why even check the weather app when you can simply ask “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” These monumental advances set the tone for a decade full of wonderful tech innovations that made everyday life easier than we ever could’ve imagined.
Real Life Superheroes: 2015 - 2019
In the last 5 years of this decade, we’ve seen futuristic technology transform from mere fantasy to reality. Apple watches made superhero dreams come true, allowing us to wear a slick gadget that can open garage doors, call, text, check emails and heart rates, and even order a pizza. Wearable tech became the greatest fashion must-have, with Apple Airpods and Snap Spectacles released in 2016. The same year was shook by the blockbuster success, Pokémon Go, bringing the 1996 classic, Pokémon, into the modern age. Developed by Niantic Labs, a former division of Google, the game used GPS data and the mobile device's camera to create an “augmented reality” that allowed users to capture Pokémon from real-life locations. Proving that 90’s kids do it best, the phenomenon of this app bred some of the most famous stampedes through Central Park and created a world wide craze that everyone wanted to be in on. The game connected people everywhere around the world, in the most magical, unexpected ways.
Another major tech release was 2017’s IPhone X, which introduced Face ID. With just one look, users could unlock their phones as well as animate Memojis of themselves. Not quite a hologram, but it was a major step towards creating virtual versions of ourselves, albeit through the iconic Apple Emoji stylings. It would be foolish to end these notable mentions without acknowledging the major movement of streaming content throughout this decade. Although Netflix introduced streaming services way back in 2007, their first Original content series, House of Cards, released in 2013. At the forefront of the streaming saga, Netflix pioneered a movement that drew traditional Hollywood stars from the silver screen to the small screens in our living rooms. Garnering record-breaking Emmy and Oscar wins and nominations, respect and critical acclaim for the new platform skyrocketed. Hulu and Amazon Prime quickly joined thereafter, offering their own share of amazing original content. Creative freedom boomed as landmark original shows, such as Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale, defined entertainment for the decade. As everyone began to see the power and potential of streaming, big media companies began to take their content back from Netflix and create their own streaming services. 2019 brought Disney Plus onto the stream scene as a major contender and industry shaker. (Even I can’t deny the greatness of that adorable Baby Yoda meme.)
What’s next in 2020 and beyond?
As evidenced by the marvel and magic of tech in this decade, we’re going nowhere but up, as far as innovations go. Inventions once only in movies are now real and a part of our everyday routines. Although, there are glimpses of circling back to simpler times. A recent revival of flip phones, like the new version of the Motorola Razr, makes retro more than just a cute aesthetic. A similar question arises with the decision of every major media company creating their own streaming service. Is it then more cost-efficient and better to digress back to cable TV? As we no longer have one go-to streaming service, we’re now forced to pick and choose our monthly subscription choices. So are times of cable TV and flip phones not as distant as we once thought? Whether it’s running in circles back to what we once knew or not, I believe there will always be the next big thing to change the entire game for all the big players of our time. Our only limit is ourselves.
What do you think is up ahead?