Fool Awards: Most Promising New Technology

What's the next millionaire-maker megatrend? A technology so innovative that it'll disrupt everything that comes before it? In this year's Fool Awards, we're asking you. The nominees are ...

Streaming media
Researcher comScore says that 77% of all U.S. Internet users viewed at least one online video last year. Expect that figure to increase in 2009. At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, LG Electronics will show off a new Web-connected TV that'll bring Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) Watch Instantly service directly to your screen.

Mobile computing
What's a computer? The definition changed in 2008. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone -- a mini-Mac in the palm of your hand -- became the top-selling U.S. handset. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , meanwhile, stalked users in order to offer better location-based services, something we're sure to see more of in the year ahead. Advertisers are counting on it.

OLEDs
Not all light-emitting diodes (LED) are created equal. Organic LED, or OLED, screens are comprised of organic materials, and because they don't require a backlight of any kind, they use a fraction of the power of a typical LCD. So impressive were the OLED screens brought to market in 2008 that one, from Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) , was named "Innovation of the Year" by Popular Science.

Clean energy and green crude
I'll remember 2008 as the year Virgin Atlantic pumped biofuel into a 747 and flew it from London to Amsterdam. Others will remember it as the year that we, the people of the United States, elected Barack Obama as our 44th president. The latter is more significant for dozens of reasons. For the cleantech industry, it likely means hundreds of millions in new funding. Funding that could help shepherd advances in solar battery technology and cleaner oil that's extracted from -- get this -- algae.

Cloud computing
More than a decade after the Web entered our national consciousness, in 2008, it threatened to transform how we interact with software. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , Google, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , and salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM  ) either introduced or beefed up computing services accessed via your browser; 2009 promises more of the same, with big money investing to create an ecosystem for microblogging service Twitter.

So which will it be? Which technology do you think is most promising? Use the poll below to vote. Our editors will tally the votes and report back next week.

Fool on!

See the rest of our Fool Awards nominees.

Amazon, Apple, and Netflix are Stock Advisor selections. Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Try any of these Foolish services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy would eat an apple a day if it weren't a disclosure policy.


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