With Christmas just over, there are few surprises left in store. Here is a list of some of the best new software that have launched this year:
This is without a doubt the best browser out there right now in terms of features and extensibility, although Opera comes a close second. There are a slew of new features and improvements, and the AwesomeBar is just amazing. Now you no longer have to recall the exact URL of a website, and can simply type in part of the website’s title name and Firefox will automatically search and find the best match for you. This is absolutely the best feature of all and you’ll never go back to plain old Internet Explorer once you get used to it.
The vast availability of extensions or add-ons also mean Firefox can be tricked out with lots of enhancements and tweaks to improve and streamline your browsing experience. It looks like Mozilla has finally lived the dream that they always wanted, especially now that IE is fast losing market share.
Results are still mixed on this one, but it has all the potential to be one of the best new browsers next year. While Firefox fans celebrated the launch of Firefox 3, Google also launched their new browser called Chrome, which was a culmination of many years of experience with the problem of current browsers.
What are the problems? Well most browsers suffer from bloat, memory leaks and are just generally inefficient at managing system resources. As such, hangs, delays and crashes happen often. Chrome eliminates all these problems by making it such that the browser behaves like a mini computer, with each tab representing a separate process, so you can deal with offending websites without having it stall the entire browser. It is extremely fast and if you find your aging system to be incapable of running Firefox with all its bells and whistles, Google Chrome will breathe new life into that machine.
iPhone App Store, Jailbreak
Apple has created an amazing little phone, but it took the hacking community to turn it into a force of nature. Shortly after the iPhone 3G was launched, Apple launched the App Store, which finally opened a veritable floodgate of new things the iPhone could do. It is now fast becoming one of the most popular touchscreen-based game platforms for the casual gaming market.
However, their insistence with controlling what can and can’t be sold on the App Store eventually led hackers and the homebrew community to “Jailbreak” the iPhone 3G and allow third-party or unauthorized software to be installed. If it wasn’t for the jailbreak community, the iPhone won’t be where it is today.
With the launch of Google’s Android open platform for handsets, it will be interesting to see the sort of ingenuity that would transpire and see what happens if the platform is fully open from the start. Perhaps Apple should seriously consider this threat from Google. But then again, Apple is synonymous with the word “proprietary”, so it remains to be seen how this will affect them.
This new software is fast becoming one of the top instant messaging tools for its seamless ability to integrate your IM, social networking (Facebook, Friendster, etc) and email together all in one place.
We talked more about Digsby in our previous review.
Of course, rounding it all up is the new Android OS for phones. It is an open source operating system that promises no restrictions for developers and could turn out to be a key feature in new handsets coming next year.
As Google focuses on “the Cloud”, I am betting the Android will be the new “must-have” for 2009. One thing that would make me wet myself is if people found out a way to get Android installed on the iPhone. Now THAT would be the best thing to happen in 2009. 🙂