Innovation, hardware and Linux (in the background)

In many ways 2007 has been Apple’s year. The iPhone, the iPod Touch and the launch of Leopard catapulted Apple into the lucrative consumer electronics space. People will no-doubt disagree.  The price point of the iPhone, the lack of 3g etc…All very common complaints by pundits in the tech world. But I will defend the iPhone to all the haters. Despite the connectively flaws, it is, in my view one of the best examples of integration, innovation, user experience and aesthetics on any single device – ever.   Linux growth But this is not the point of this post. What, in my view has been an even bigger technological breakthrough this year is Linux. Yes Linux. More specifically, its emergence into the mainstream. From Dell shipping Ubuntu natively on its boxes, through to the success of the Nokia Internet tablet range – Linux is out there – running on mainstream consumer products. Its success has been understated. Most consumers, are not necessarily attracted to hardware because of its Linux core. They are simply attracted to good hardware.  But Linux is there, in the background, doing what it does best. Stability, reliability, software and – now ease of use. It has broken out of the geek kingdom and entered the real world.  The Linux purists will moan. Linux has been highjacked by big industry. It’s now out of the hands of the tech savy and now available to the mainstream. All common complaints from the Open Source extremists.   Take the Eee PC for example. What is selling the device? Not Linux – but the price and the complete package. The fact that Linux delivers an awesome user experience is a credit to how far the operating system has come.  linutop_polos.jpg Introducing Linutop Another example (less well known but hot off my press). The Linutop PC. This thing rocks. An ultra-tiny form factor computer. In a similar vain (but much smaller), than the Mac Mini, this device is BYOKAM (Bring your own keyboard and mouse)  Developed by an innovative French start up – this computer is incredible. Retailing at €280 this box is not just appealing for the Linux community but for the mainstream consumer looking for a cheap computer. I really have to get my hands on one. Check out the Linutop here.  So, hats off to everyone involved in Linux and its 2007 breakthrough into the mainstream.  I suspect this is a sign of more and even better things to come in 2008. I for one cannot wait.