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Saturday, 9 October 2010

iPad, Android and Cloud Computing on the Gartner Hype Cycle

The world of technology is constantly innovating and releases new tech almost quarterly these days. A lot of it doesn't even make it to the mainstream market and quickly fade into the background and some are just a small fad. Google Wave for example was massively hyped before its launch in early 2010, but does anyone that got an invitation use it anymore? For most of us the answer is no, but why is that and what went wrong?

To illustrate why some innovations fade away after a period of hype, Gartner's hype cycle shows a general trajectory of new tech adaptation in the market. Gartner devides the hype cycle in 5 stages:

Gartner's hype cycle stages

1. Technology Trigger: The point when tech is made public (e.g. via a keynote speech of Steve Jobs about new Apple gadgets) and early adopters are encouraged to test the technology

2. Peak of Inflated Expectations. A stage when the "bubble of hype" (v. benefits received) regarding use of the technology reaches its peak

3. Trough of Disillusionment. After the bubble bursts and people say, "I told you that was just a fad."

4. Slope of Enlightenment. Is a period where the innovation tech becomes sufficiently mature, standardized and adopted and starts generating mainstream market results

5. Plateau of Productivity. When benefits begin to flatten out and technology needs to either be reengineered or a new technology is needed to grow market share

Hyped today

Cloud Computing and E-book reader reached their peak of inflated expectation in 2009, which is why in 2010 major Tech giants, such as Google's Cloud, Apple's MobileMe and Microsoft's Windows Azure OS were promoted so heavily in the cloud computing services market. Similarly the market for e-readers was flooded since the start of 2010 with gadgets such as Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad along with numerous rumors about Android powered e-readers. It was a logical step from the smartphone tsunami that due to its limitations in size lend itself perfectly to innovation. The success of the mainstream launch of the iPad for example just show how Steve Jobs followers might be willing to skip the stage of Through of Disillusionment and get enlightened right from the get go.

Apple's approach to launching new products coupled is the ability to build new innovations on core principles of previous success. Hence main features from the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone are all incorporated into iPad except for maybe the ability to make voice calls, but that could have cannibalised the iPhone 4 launch in June 1 month after.

What's here to stay

The era of speech recognition was in a Slope of Enlightenment in 2009 and hence is a build in function into most smartphones in 2010. Long gone are the days were it was not worth our time trying as call Joe would get interpreted as play 'hey joe' by Jimi Hendrix. Voice recognition software technology has been sufficiently adapted to the market needs and is now functional. although still far from perfect if you have a noisy background.

What's up and coming?

Tech that hasn't quite hit the Peak of Inflated Expectations yet, is on the rise and hopefully available for us to test soon. Two innovations that stick out are surface computing and augmented reality. In surface computing, the iPad is already there their multitouch web browsing experience. Google Goggles brings Android powered phone some early augmented reality features. Simply point your camera around your high street and get local information about shops and restaurants right onto your screen is pretty fascinating. This coupled with Google's image search to get your information about what this painting in your bosses office might be worth certainly seems to be a worthwhile innovation for search.

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