2009 tech. predictions
Ok, I had mixed success with my 2008 predictions, but I'm always up for a challenge and so am once again going out on a limb and putting my reputation on the line. "What reputation?" I hear you ask. Well, I'll let you decide on that! Anyway, here goes: Like Ronnie Corbett, I'll start with a diversion so let me brag about my latest Christmas present, the Pogo Printer. Basically, it's a very portable photo printer. So portable, in fact, that I carry it around in my jacket pocket. It supports bluetooth and pictbridge, so I can easily print pictures wirelessly from my shiny Omnia Phone or directly from my camera. It's so portable, it's only slightly bigger than an old mobile phone from the early nineties. So this leads me to prediction number 1: 1. Integrated cameras and digital photo printers (a la Polaroid) will be available by the end of the year. Bragging out of the way, I'll move straight to my other predictions: 2. OLED (that's Organic Light Emitting Diode), will be the big technology of 2009. I think we'll see this not only in TVs but also in laptops, mobile phones and other portable devices. Some suggest it will be used for lighting this year as well. This is really exciting technology as it means we can shrink technology, make it lighter, more portable and more power-efficient. See here for more details - it's quite breathtaking - for a geek, anyway! 3. Mobile phones will go a step further and integrate a projector. Yes, a projector. A prototype was already made over a year ago and I was waiting for it to make progress last year but it didn't really make any noise. I expect it to this year. It will be intended for business use, but consumers will catch on to the idea and watch videos and show their Granny their holiday snaps using their mobile phones and projector. On that note, isn't it about time we used a different term for converged devices now? Calling a device a mobile phone that, hold on... plays music and videos, takes photos, edits Word documents, manages your calendar and to-do lists, allows you to surf the internet, play games, is your main alarm clock and, last but not least, takes and makes calls - is a bit like calling a laptop a typewriter. How about calling it Mobile Assistant Toolset Equipment (or the MATE)? I know, I'll never get into marketing! Have you got any better suggestions? Anyway, come on!! Where's my phone with built-in projector? I want one. 4. Windows 7 will be the talk of the operating systems, and may even see a release at the tail end of the year. I'd advise you to look past the very generic marketing text. Also, don't expect a massive new set of features. It appears that the O/S will largely be based on Vista but with a whole new user interface. The hope is that the interface will be simplified, more intuitive, and more geared toward how people use their computers rather than how operating system providers want you to use them. Ahh, even I've made it sound like generic marketing spiel. Ah well, time for the next prediction. 5. Last year I predicted that laptops would be available for less than £200. In actual fact, it was a typo and I meant £100. No, honest! In any case, I wasn't quite right. This year, however, I'll be even more bold and predict that you'll see new Netbooks going for £50. I'm not including gimmicky offers where you sign up to seven year contracts to recieve a free or cut-priced gadget. I'm talking purely about off-the-shelf, no strings attached retailing. 6. Talking of Netbooks, I predict that Google will tailor their Android operating system for Netbooks later this year once they've mastered the Mobile Phone (which, in fairness, they're not that far off in my opinion). 7. Oh, now to get contentious. I love cloud computing! There, I said it! I started using Amazon's EC2 in the middle of the year and, yes, I love it. My prediction is that the uptake of cloud computing will at least triple this year. Partly because of the credit crunch, partly because of green issues and partly because I also think we'll see a boom in startups this year (again due to the credit crunch). Cloud computing can be very cost effective and offers resilience and scalability almost for free (well, you have to pay for the CPU, storage and bandwidth of course). Security concerns is one of the things holding back cloud computing but I think as more and more big companies put their name to it, people will fear the unknown less. One negative thing I will say, though, is that the cost model has to change. Paying separately for bandwidth, server uptime and storage would hold me back from using it fully in an enterprise environment. I'd like to see some tiered pricing models that make it simpler for companies to manage their budgets. Regardless of all that, for development and playing around with stuff, it's great. 8. We'll enter another dimension. 3D TV will hit the shelves. We'll finally see television sets that support 3D TV be sold. They'll be too expensive this year but they'll come down in price in the same way as Plasmas did - it might just take a few years. Also, we'll see an increase in other 3D-enablers. For example, this handy webcam will stream in 3D as well as 2D. It works with Skype and Windows Live Messenger as well as a few others - the viewer just needs to wear those dodgy 3D glasses (like the ones you wore to see Jaws in 3D at the cinema). 9. iPlayer will launch a HD service early this year. It's inevitable. YouTube formally did this in December last year so it's only a matter of time before other big names follow suite. 10. We'll see the first 1TB SSD. It's actually possible to get arrays of SSD's to support 1TB now but I'm predicting a single module - we're already close to hitting 500GB. As a sub-prediction to this, I predict a massive focus on nano-technology later this year - especially with the hype that will surround the supposed up-coming iPod/iPhone Nano (even if it is just clever marketing and not really "nano", it'll create more focus on nano-tech). 11. Twitter will get bought. Possibly by Facebook. 12. Facebook will finally get bought. Possibly fully by Microsoft. 13. Yahoo! will finally get bought. Possibly by Microsoft (at least, the search business). I know, I know, I predicted this last year and I got it wrong. But with the share price as it is, and the current market turmoil, I can't see Yahoo! going through this year without being at least partly sold. 14. Hydro-cars will finally see mass production by the end of this year. Car companies will be under government pressure after bail-outs to innovate with this technology. 15. I'll get more predictions right this year than last year. Can't be that hard, can it? Now that you've taken the time to read this, let's see how I did last year - then you can decide whether you've just wasted your time casting your eyes over my ramblings: 1. Media centres to become mass market. 0.5pts I think I get half a point here. The availability of kit for streaming media to your TV has increased dramatically. Several major brands have now started offering media centre kit, including D-link and Linksys, not to mention the existing ones that have just got better and better, including Sony. 2. Broadband TV usage to triple this year. 1pt Come on, I deserve a point here. YouTube, iPlayer, Joost, Hulu, iTunes, Lovefilm, 4Od, ITV.com, demand five, etc. etc. The list goes on. I'll try and find out exactly what the growth was last year (figures not yet available) but I think I've got that one in the bag! 3. Online storage market to explode. 0pts Big, fat wrong. Even BT turned their service off to new subscribers. 4. “Internet on the go” prices to plummet. 1pt BT offering free mobile backup for businesses, Virgin offering prices by the day and O2 offering it for as low as £10p/m. It was nearer £25p/m at the beginning of 2008. 5. Traffic management in all ISPs with more transparent policies. 0.5pts ISPs have certainly become more transparent, and several have now made their policies public. I can't claim a full point for this as I believe there's more to come. 6. Large social networking sites to take a dive. 0pts Big zero again. Even see Tommo's blog for Christmas day. Oh, how I wish I was right on this one. 7. OpenID to gain major support. 0pts I may be being harsh on myself here as it did grow, but nowhere near as much as I anticipated it to. The likes of Google and Yahoo! are still driving it forward, though. 8. Back to the desktop. 0.5pts Hmm, I think I'm actually being generous with this one, although Zimbra did offer their great package as an AIR solution. I think this year will be the year of AIR. 9. p2p becomes favourite with content distributors 0pts Hasn't really been driven as much as I thought it would be. 10. IPv6 to see little traction in 2008. 1pt Correct. We saw a plan for the remaining IPv4 addresses and a transition but no real progress. I think this year may be different, though. So, rounded up I get 5 out of 10. In summary, I must do better! Reply here if you've got any predictions or you've got any comments on mine - or maybe you've got a name for my unified gadget? Hmm, MUG? There's another one! Dan
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