The launch of Apple's iPad topped the list of top tech events in 2010. Quick quiz: In 2010, did you purchase an Apple (AAPL) iPad or a smartphone, or sign up for Netflix? If you answered yes, congratulations -- you were part of at least one of the top tech trends of 2010.

The last year was defined by a broad range of significant technology trends and events, several of which stemmed from the iPad launch. Here's our list of the top 10:

1) Launch of the iPad: The iPad jump-started the tablet market in the big way. Sure, there were early pioneers in the market, like Apple's Newton in the mid-1990s and Microsoft's (MSFT) tablet launch in 2001, but it was the iPad that drew a flood of other me-too tablets to the market, from Dell's Streak to Samsung's Galaxy Tab. As James Ragan, senior equity analyst of Crowell, Weedon & Co., puts it: "The iPad launched the whole tablet segment and proved groundbreaking."

2) E-Readers Take Off: At least partly thanks to the iPad launch, e-readers like Amazon.com's (AMZN) Kindle and Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook gained far more traction in 2010. "We were so early in the S-curve of e-readers that the iPad helped increase interest," says Mark Mahaney, a Citigroup analyst. "The iPad exploded interest in e-readers, and that benefited Amazon." Jeff Bezos says the latest generation Kindle became the top-selling product in the company's history during the critical holiday selling season. Research firm Gartner predicts worldwide e-reader sales will soar 79.8% to 6.6 million units in 2010.

3) Cell-Phone Firms Develop Tablets: Cell-phone manufacturers have begun morphing into computer makers with the development of their own tablets. Samsung officially launched its Galaxy Tab in September. Motorola Mobility's CEO Sanjay Jha said his company is coming out with a tablet computer in the new year, as is Research in Motion (RIMM), which is planning to release its BlackBerry PlayBook in the first quarter.

4) It's All About the Apps:
Still talking about the hardware features on your cell phone? That's so 2009. The bells and whistles of cell phones today are all about the software. The trend became even more apparent when the world's largest handset maker, Nokia, pushed out its longtime CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in favor of former Microsoft executive and software veteran Stephen Elop in September.

5) Android Beats Apple iOS: Google's (GOOG) Android mobile operating system pummeled Apple's iOS this year, demonstrating how quickly things can change in the world of smartphones. During the third quarter, Android-powered phones jumped to the No. 2 spot in worldwide smartphone sales. Android captured 25.5% of the market, up from a mere 3.5% a year ago. Apple's iOS, which ranked No. 3, saw its market share fall to 16.7% that quarter from 17.1% in the year-ago quarter. That marked the first time Apple's iOS posted a year-over-year decline.

6) Wireless Goes Everywhere: Smartphones, notebooks and tablets made "mobility" a buzzword in 2010. "It was the year you could access the Internet over the wireless infrastructure from anywhere," analyst Raglan says.

7) Internet Stocks Boom: The year saw an Internet supernova as stocks exploded with triple-digit gains, leaving investors awestruck. From Jan. 4 through Wednesday's close, movie-rental site Netflix (NFLX) had soared 237% to $180.27 a share. "Netflix captured the greatest gains during the year, as consumption of video streaming took off," analyst Mahaney says. OpenTable (OPEN) blew up with a 190% gain to $71.88 a share, and Chinese search giant Baidu (BIDU) flagged a 141.7% gain to close at $99.11 a share.

8) Google Leaves China: Google's exit from mainland China captured headlines earlier this year, after the search giant and the Chinese government butted heads over censorship issues. In the end, Google lost the battle. The search giant created a landing page for Chinese users to access information from its Hong Kong site.

9) Companies Head for the Cloud: Cloud computing demonstrated strong growth in 2010, Ragan notes. Indeed. Earlier this year, research firm Gartner forecast that worldwide cloud services would see revenues jump 16.6% to $68.3 billion by the end of 2010. And by the time 2014 rolls around, those revenues are expected to reach $148.8 billion.

10) IPO Letdown: The prospect of hot IPOs from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn kept investors on edge for most of the year, but these companies left folks with long faces as none of them filed an S-1 IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission

What Might Make the List in 2011

If you didn't participate in any of 2010's top 10, don't worry. The next year promises to come with its own set of hot new tech trends and key events. One of the first big tech events happens Jan. 4, when Motorola (MOT) plans to split into two companies.

As for trends, Wall Street analysts expect tablet computers to take an even bigger bite of the consumer-notebook market next year. They also forecast that some of the largest advertising budgets will migrate over to Internet videos from TV. And, of course, all eyes are watching Verizon Wireless with the anticipation that the behemoth cellular network will soon finally carry Apple's iPhone .


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productalert2011

I found this interesting comparison between Galaxy Tab and iPad that is based on analysis of hundreds of their customer reviews. Your and your readers may be interested to see this analysis as well http://blog.amplifiedanalytics.com/2010/11/851/.
You can also check reputation of other products if you go to http://www.amplifiedanalytics.com/V2P-Product-Reviews/Demo, enter the product name or number (like "Samsung LN55C650 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV") and click on "Submit" button. The system will aggregate and analyze customer reviews to calculate the reputation metrics for you and will let you read the reviews if you want to.

January 02 2011 at 6:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
oregonlight

Try reading on your IPad or Kindle next time you're on a flight. As soon as you sit down you can start reading your book, and Don't have to put it away till it's your time to get up. I'll bet sooner or later those lit up screens are going to be deemed bad for your eyes. Any time on a laptop has already been scrutinized. I do want to get a Torch, though.

January 02 2011 at 1:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
powermetal2000

My thought on these "highlights" 1. I don't have an iPad nor do I want one. 2. I'll stick to REAL books thank you very much, holding a piece of plastic with a lit up screen just isn't the same as holding on to a book. 3. not interested. 4. Most apps aren't all their hyped up to be. 5.Poor Apple, bet the fanboys are upset about that. 6. Meh, I have a life. I'm not permanently attached to an electronic device. 7. no comment. 8. China doesn't need Google and Google doesn't need China. 9. I haven't gone to the cloud and I don't need to. 10. don't care.

January 01 2011 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SAMMIE

In 2010, bought an iPhone4; received an iPad for my Birthday. Looking into getting the new iPhone5 with VERIZON for 2011...... Let's face it APPLE is it!!!!! They have offered just about every device I need. Wouldn't even consider the Droid, all my freinds are having issues with them. So with that said, they are checking into the new iPhone from Verizon like I am. I think you will see a significant shift from the Droid back to the iPhone because of issues no one seems to be mentioning in articles............................

January 01 2011 at 11:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lthrnck68

Don't care much about any of them one way or another. I must comment on the e-reader. Any place you take an e-reader, I can take a book unless these things are waterproof. If you can take a book the same place you can take an e-reader, why not take the book? I do not buy books then give them away when I'm through reading. I've got book cases that I fill. Unless you enjoy reading more than one book at a time, there's no need for the e-reader to build up a library.

January 01 2011 at 7:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lthrnck68's comment
cashmanh8surkel

Good points, but I actually prefer reading on the Kindle. But best of all is reading newspapers on it. There are no distractions so you can really consentrate on the text.

January 01 2011 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply