Apple iPad, robots, Asus on netbooks, social media, BT fibre...

Stories of the month - January 2010
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor on

Stories of the month - January 2010

January's stories of the month were inevitably dominated by talk of tablets as Apple unleashed its long-awaited iPad tablet - a rectangular piece of touch-sensitive glass that had been slated to change the world but which, on first glance at least, resembles an oversized iPod Touch.

Even before iPad D-Day the internet was awash with tablet-based rumour and hype. All this chatter got futurist and silicon.com columnist Peter Cochrane thinking. "Might it be that the laptop paradigm is becoming passé, boring, everyday - almost retro?" he mused in a blog posting prior to the iPad's launch.

Cochrane set out his predictions of what Apple's tablet would be packing - in terms of features, connectivity, form factor, the works. Was he on the money? Read his blog to find out.

Of course, iPad is not Apple's first foray into the world of tablets - even if it's a lot slimmer and shinier than its long lost cousin, the Apple Newton. Nor is iPad the only tablet in town - keyboard-less computing has been around the block several times yet always failed to win over the masses. So why should an Apple tablet be any different? And how can Cupertino ensure success second time around? silicon.com's Natasha Lomas tackled these questions in this popular analysis article.

With rumours of Apple's iPad keeping the blogosphere turning, little surprise that netbook-maker Asus also had tablets on its mind last month. Company chairman Jonney Shih sat down with silicon.com's senior reporter Nick Heath to discuss the future of portable computing.

Asus is experimenting with tablets, Shih revealed, but the kit maker is not convinced their time has come. "Content is still not attractive enough today to the customer," Shih told silicon.com. "We have those kind of devices in our labs but we are watching to see when this is enabled."

Follow this link to read the full interview with the Asus chairman.

However there was more to January than freezing weather and Apple-flavoured tablets. Other stories making an impact last month included a brace of articles on robotics. This in-depth feature explored robots and ethics - considering issues such as the use of robot weaponry in war; how driverless cars could plug into society; robots for childcare; and even - dare we say it - sex robots.

Robots were also the subject of this popular video interview with Sheffield University's AI and robotics professor Noel Sharkey. What's the most impressive robot Sharkey has seen? Follow the link to find out...

Another flagship piece of content in January looked at the best way to use social media tools for marketing. How can businesses judge the success of their presence on Facebook, Twitter et al? It's all about segmenting their user base, apparently, because not all Facebook friends are equal. For five tips for using social media follow this link.

Also making an impression with silicon.com readers last month was a comprehensive look at the likely fate of government IT projects under a Conservative government. With the General Election looming, those who like a political flutter would do well to read on. Want to know what might happen to ID cards, Digital Britain or the NHS's National Programme for IT? Click the links to get the lowdown.

Towards the end of the month, readers were also keen on finding out the cost of fibre broadband from BT. Some might say the UK has waited for long enough for superfast broadband but January finally saw the telco unveiled the consumer pricing for its next-generation broadband services. Find out how much BT fibre will set you back here.

silicon.com Stories of the Month - January 2010

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