A Look Back at the Decade in Tech

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This is going to be my last Money Morning of the decade.

That sounds gloomy. It’s not.

Next week I’m away on annual leave. Time to fly home to Australia from the UK. A summery Christmas beckons. And a chance for a lot of family to meet my son, the newest addition to it.

But that means I’m ‘off duty’ next week. And the following week is Christmas, when the Port Phillip office will be closed. So you won’t hear from me then. And the week after is the start of the New Year…so you won’t hear from me then either.

I know, I know, don’t get too sad…

The exciting thing is that when you do hear from me next it will be the year 2020. That’s the start of a new decade.

How exciting! I know I’m excited by it.

And what way would I best celebrate the New Year than by flying off to Las Vegas on my own for a week?

Sounds fun. And it is. But I’m not there to play. In fact I don’t expect I’ll spend any time on the casino floor.

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A peek into tomorrow’s future

I’m in Vegas from 4 to 10 January, for the huge consumer tech trade show, CES. It’s been a couple years since my last visit. Needless to say, I’m super pumped for it.

Last time I was there I took a spin in an Audi self-driving car. I got to see the first iterations of ‘flying taxis’. There were drones everywhere. Cryptocurrency was even just starting to peek its head through the door. There were huge announcements from tech giants like Samsung, LG, Toyota, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA.

And then some real hidden gems tucked away. Companies developing haptic technology, wireless dynamic charging, holographic and immersive technology devices, autonomous robots, vehicles…CES is jam-packed with the latest and greatest in tech.

That means come the new year you’ll be hearing from me LIVE at CES 2020.

The other reason I’m excited by CES is I’m going to put together a list of the most breakthrough and revolutionary technologies that I’ll find there.

This list I’m going to then archive. And at the end of 2029 I’m going to pull out my list and see whether these technologies kicked on, stagnated, or just faded away and died.

It’s a long-term look at how technology changes so radically and so dramatically in just a decade.

And that’s also why today I want to look at some of the technology that we’ve seen over the last decade. Some of the technology that pre-2010 didn’t exist. And I think you’re going to be wildly surprised by some of these.

Let’s start with something that I think you probably take for granted today.

The tech that didn’t exist in 2009

This week I was at the Co-op supermarket. It’s just a chain of local supermarkets you typically find in a village or local high street.

The lady in front of me had to be in her 70s at least, probably older. As she went to pay for her groceries, she whipped out her smartphone and paid with Google Pay.

Now I’m sure you’re familiar with using your phone for tap & go payments too. In fact you probably use it more now instead of your plastic card. And you’ll continue to do so as you can store and choose multiple cards within these phone payment apps.

Well, Google Pay was originally Android Pay. Same thing, different name. It only hit the market in early 2015. This was hot off the heels of Apple Pay (same thing different operating system) released in October 2014.

Today these are both ubiquitous. And they’re only just on five years old.

What about the changes we’ve seen to the way we power our cars. Today everything is about the ‘electrification’ of cars. Daimler recently announced they would be ceasing all investment and development of internal combustion engines to focus 100% of their future on electric powertrains for their vehicles.

Who do we owe this massive change to?

Well it’s Elon Musk and Tesla. Without Tesla I doubt we’d see many (if any) electric cars available to the mass market. Tesla (regardless of the quality of the company as an investment) has changed the world.

They pushed the big car makers into a world that wasn’t really on the horizon. Now it’s the inevitable future.

Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, was admittedly developed in 2008. But it wasn’t a mass market car. It was niche. It wasn’t going to change the world.

But the Model S would. That was the ‘Apple iPhone’ of cars. It became the most influential electric car, perhaps in all of history. And the first Model S hit the road in…2012. That’s right the Model S is only coming up to eight years old. Yet it and subsequent models, the Model X and Model 3, and soon, the CyberTruck, have changed the entire automotive industry.

‘Alexa, turn off the lights.’

‘Alexa, play Christmas Hits playlist.’

Are these phrases commonplace in your household? They are in mine. Amazon’s foray into the ‘smart’ speakers market hit us in March 2014. ‘Alexa’ the voice inside…well the AI inside, is just a name. The Amazon Echo is the actual device.

Today there are multiple generations. There are versions just as a speaker, or as a screen and speaker, as a central hub to connect and control all your smart home devices. Amazon Echo and Alexa were so game changing the competition was left way behind.

Google released Google Home in 2016. And Apple didn’t release the HomePod until early 2018. By this stage Amazon had already and continues to dominate this space. And going forward, voice search is going to be one of the most influential ways we will consume online content.

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The future of tech

It’s incredible to think that just these three technologies — Google/Apple Pay, the range of Tesla cars, Amazon’s smart speakers/hubs — are all new inventions of the current decade.

And the impact they’ve each had, has change the world. But these are just three of many.

I’m going to leave you for the decade with one more. One that was released right at the start of the decade we now close. This consumer technology hit the market in early 2010.

It’s a device you’d think has been around far longer…

But the iPad is only coming up to its 10th birthday. That’s how much we develop over a decade. And what we know for sure is that the next decade will be just as exciting, just as eventful, and change our world in just as many significant ways.

Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll give you a first-hand peek into what that looks like. And then pull out the investment ideas from that, that are going to lead us across the next 10 wonderful years.

Have a safe and festive holiday period. I’ll see you in the new decade!


Sam Volkering,
Editor, Money Morning

About Sam Volkering

Sam Volkering is an Editor for Money Morning and is small-cap, cryptocurrency and technology expert.

He’s not interested in boring blue chip stocks. He’s after explosive investments; companies whose shares trade for cents on the dollar, cryptocurrencies that can deliver life-changing returns. He looks for the ‘edge of the bell curve’…

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