Monday, January 04, 2010

10 for 2010 (Technology Predictions)

I was thinking about what we are going to see in 2010, and here are some things that came to mind.
  1. Standard DVD Format Gets Phased Out - Blu-Ray will become the dominant DVD media, and as a result prices will fall on these devices.  I wouldn't be surprised to see some low end Blu-Ray players going for $100 this Black Friday.  Since Blu-Ray players can play your old DVDs, people will be less resistant than they were when VHS was replaced by DVD players.
  2. Standard Internet Sales Tax - Some smart politician somewhere will author a bill that will come up with a solution to the whole Internet sales tax issue.  Too many states (Rhode Island, North Carolina) are fighting legal battles with vendors (Amazon) over laws that were originally written in 1887 (really), and e-commerce has become so large that someone is going to fight this battle.
  3. Office 2010 Will Disappoint - If one looks at the specifications, Office 2010 seems to do some clever things.  Microsoft Works is being phased out and there will be new tools "Word Starter" and "Excel Starter".  These will be the cheaper versions of the tools, and this is great because no one seems to be able to differentiate between "Works" and "Word".  The Ribbon interface will find its way in to Publisher, Visio, and the rest of the tools that it wasn't integrated into previously.  Microsoft will also introduce Web-based versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that will allow people to use the tools online for free, much like Google Docs.  With all that said, I just wonder if Microsoft may be overly ambitious, and cut some corners with the release of Office 2010.  I also feel like the operating system release followed by the Office release will split the focus of the company, and they are more likely to pour resources in to any Windows 7 problems that arise, following the debacle that was Windows Vista.  This would obviously take away from other projects in the company (such as Office 2010).
  4. eBooks Take Off - eBook readers (such as the Amazon Kindle) will become more popular.  As demand goes up, prices will fall, and this will make these devices available to many people.  College students will be driven by lower prices (for example, my Internet/E-Commerce class textbook goes for $113 new, but the eBook version is $57 for a 6 month subscription), and the ability to electronically mark up your book without having to worry about ruining the resale value.
  5. Netbooks Emerge - Netbooks will take off and become a popular alternative to a laptop for people that just want a basic portable machine.  As we see with cell phones, people don't always want all the stuff you get with a PC, they just want something to do the basics on, and Netbooks will fill that void. 
  6. eNews - More newspapers and magazines will work towards making a digital model work.  According to an article linked from Magazine Death Pool, 367 magazines ceased printing in 2009 (and another 64 went online only).  This industry HAS to adapt, because times are changing.  To be quite honest, the only reason I get my paper is for the Sunday coupons, and the rest of the paper is immediately recycled.  If advertisers decide that online is where the money is, print media will have to follow.  They are also competing for advertising dollars with radio stations (both local stations like 1010 Wins and national stations like NPR) and with TV stations (again, both local news outlets like News 12 and global stations such as CNN). 
  7. New Careers - Careers with titles like "Medical Informatics" will start to arise.  There is a need for people who have knowledge of both medical and technological concepts, and this seems like an area that will start to grow.  For example, insurance companies may not want to pay for a full-time nurse for someone, but instead have someone monitor remotely.  That person would need to interpret the results and know things like blood pressure and O2 saturation...but also be able to troubleshoot the technology if there are problems.  NJIT is one local institution that has already created a degree program for this.
  8. Bing Takes Off - Bing will start to do what Microsoft Live Search didn't do: take away market share from Google.  Not a huge percentage, mind you, but it will start to make headway that other search engines could not.
  9. Skype Makes a Comeback - Free from eBay's control, Skype will find direction and challenge VoIP providers.  Technology like a Wireless Bluetooth Headset for the PC (i.e. this one: AmbiCom SKYHS-KIT) will attract people who want the freedom to roam their apartment while making calls. 
  10. The Mets Win! - The Mets will win the World Series.  (Hey, a guy can dream, right?)  I doubt even the guys at will be predicting this one.
I hope you are enjoying your 2010.

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