We will posting Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2011 in increments of five as not to overwhelm you. Innovation is the place to be, in our book.
1) Alcatel-Lucent (ALU)
Why: Has created a cellular network that can cope with our growing appetite for mobile data.
Key innovation: Its LightRadio architecture uses many small, efficient, and easily upgraded base stations in place of the larger, less efficient cell towers of today.
2) Alta Devices
Why: Its high-efficiency gallium arsenide–based solar cells provide a way to lower the cost of solar power.
Key innovation: Can economically produce robust cells that use only small amounts of the expensive semiconductor.
3) Apple (AAPL)
Why: The Siri virtual assistant built into the iPhone 4S demonstrates a new kind of conversational voice-operated interface.
Key innovation: Software that can interpret ambiguous sentences allows Siri to understand even casual commands.
4) Applied Materials (AMAT)
Why: A key supplier of equipment for making solar cells, it is helping to lower the cost of solar power.
Key innovation: A new manufacturing system allows solar producers to increase the output and efficiency of their cells.
5) ARM Holdings (ARMH)
Why: By reducing the electricity demands of data centers, ARM is making cloud computing cheaper.
Key innovation: Its powerful server processors use an architecture originally developed for energy-conscious mobile devices.