Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

Tech success stories 2006

The last year was an exciting year for technology. So many new techs and gadgets came out that it was really hard to keep track of them.

Most of these breakthrough technologies will help us materialise our impossible dreams in the years ahead and at the same time give us freedom to enjoy our life.

Nowadays, due to the unprecedented technological advancement, it is possible to enjoy panoramic view of the Mars's surface, detect isolated nuclear blast site and even watch live telecasts of war.

In this article I basically highlighted several technologies that took a giant step last year and will certainly enrich our experience this year and many years to come.

Operating systems

After many years of waiting, Microsoft finally came up with Vista, the latest version of the Windows operating system. Microsoft made several enhancements in Vista and at the same time fixed many security bugs. Unlike XP, Vista can use a computer's GPU for multiple tasks simultaneously. Vista will likely change information management and data storage as well. Vista's integrated 'reliability monitor' can show a chart that informs you about the system stability.

On the Linux side, XGL, the revolutionary graphics technology and Compiz, one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of OpenGL-acceleration, has revolutionised the Linux world.


Both Intel and AMD were playing with dual-core and quad-core chips last year and there are more to come this year.

Intel's Yonah that replaced Pentium M and Core 2 replacing Pentium processors has revolutionised PC and mobile computing and there are more to come. AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core also delivers real power boost and its performance has won many battles against their archrivals.

But in order to enjoy the multi-core facilities the software issue is an important consideration. Software must be redesigned to take the advantage of parallel processing on a large scale. Adobe's video applications already have elements that can utilise many cores. With eight cores dramatic performance expected in complex programs such as games, search technologies etc.

Game consoles

They are becoming more real day-by-day. Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation 3 has brought ultimate gaming experience for the game lovers. Wii employs exciting motion sensing technology that gives its user a marvellous natural gaming environment. On the other hand Sony's Play Station 3 utilise cutting edge graphics processor to display the gaming actions never seen before. With Play Station 3 one can also surf the web.

Cell phones

Advancement of cell phone technologies has enabled users not just make voice calls but also send data without connecting the operator's network. Wi-Fi phones just require a Wi-Fi hot spot to establish connection. On the other hand TV enabled phones will deliver live news cast according to the subscriber's demand. Aside from this, GPS phones helps user to identify their location.

Apart from the Wi-Fi and GPS phones, revolutionary mobile phones such Nokia N Series and Sony Ericsson P990 has revolutionised the concept of multimedia phones last year.

Apple Mac Book Pro

Apple made the impossible, possible with their new high end notebook called the Apple Mac Book Pro. They made this new notebook on Intel processors, which was a bit of surprise. The system was powered by Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33GHz processor that made the notebook run Mac and Windows simultaneously on it.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)

IPTV describes a system where a digital television service is delivered using the Internet Protocol over a network infrastructure, which may include delivery by a broadband connection. For residential users, IPTV is often provided in conjunction with video on demand and may be bundled with internet services such as Web access and VoIP.

The commercial bundling of IPTV, VoIP and internet access is referred to as a triple play. Adding the mobile voice service leads to the quadruple play denomination. IPTV is typically supplied by a broadband operator using a closed network infrastructure.

This closed network approach is in competition with the delivery of TV content over the internet. This type of delivery is widely called TV over internet or internet television. In businesses, IPTV may be used to deliver television content over corporate LANs and business networks. Perhaps a simpler definition of IPTV would be television content that, instead of being delivered through traditional formats and cabling, is received by the viewer through the technologies used by computer networks.

Last year the growth of IPTV was massive. And with the massive growth of Broadband, IPTV is expected to grow at a brisk pace.

Blu-ray and HD DVD

In order to meet the huge storage requirements, new storage technology such as Blu-ray and HD DVD came into reality. Initial storage capacity of a Blu-ray disc is 25 GB for a single layer and 50GB with dual layer. Prototypes have already been developed by TDK that will take this to 100GB & 200GB. Sony's next generation PlayStation 3 console will have Blu-ray capability.

The initial capacity of HD DVD (High Density DVD) is around 15GB for a single layer disc and 30GB for a dual layer version. In its present shape the capacity is unable to go beyond that due to the position of the recording layer further away from the disc surface.

iPod Nano

iPod revolutionised the personal digital music world. iPod gained the popularity with its simple and user-friendly features. Although introduced in late 2005 the iPod Nano, Apple's fourth digital audio player that replaced the iPod mini, gained popularity last year with its sleek outlook and 4GB, 2GB and 1GB sizes.

InFocus IN76 BigPlay

Why waste so much on 50-inch HDTV or a PDP TV when you can watch a high quality video and that too not on a 50-inch TV but on a 12-feet display. Yes, with the InFocus IN76 BigPlay projectors, that came out early this year has blown away every other home theatre solution.

Even though it's just 720p, it can be blown up to 12 feet across the wall. In addition, the saturation is great. With a decent price and very decent design, it may be the most consumer-friendly projector out there.