This post is sponsored by:

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Tech Highlights To Come: Get Your Gear On

No, I'm not being real original with this topic.  But I wanted to add my two cents into what I see trending in the new year.  2010 was explosive in terms of technology and we saw some great things happen.  Even with the constant barrage of economic woes news, Apple managed to sell a ton of iPads at a minimum of $500 and opened the flood gates to upcoming tablet innovations.  Android phones became fierce competitors to the iPhone and smartphones are showing up in hands of practically everyone.  In fact, the flip-phone seems to become akin to the corded phone (yes, Virginia, there was a time we tethered to the wall to talk).  So what could possibly come out of 2011?  Here's what I see:
  1. Tablets will become a very hot item and topic.  The iPad opened flood gates in terms of demand for tablet style devices.  The two major contenders will be the iPad and Android OS versions.  The thing that is yet to be seen is which size will ultimately win out . . . 10" or the 7" display.  Having played around with both the 10" iPad and a 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab, I gotta say that I have to agree with Steve Jobs that 7" really isn't the way to go.  Motorola and Archos are definitely ones to watch over this next year as their 10" tablets (Archos also has a 5" and a 7" version) hit the streets.  Bye bye netbooks. 
  2. eBooks will continue to explode in growth as a format.  Print books aren't going away any time soon, but ebooks are definitely gaining traction. Not only are designated ereaders fueling the explosive growth, tablets and ereader apps are giving consumers amazing new options and choice.  The publishing world is wide open right now and poised to see some really exciting new enhancements for ebooks such as embedded video and animation in children's books.  For a taste of what is to come, check out the article from Mashable with Children's eBooks as apps.
  3. Expect more eReaders.  eReaders were very competitive in 2010 and eInk still provides the best reading experience but lacks in color and functionality due to the display type.  Hanvon is scheduled to release a 10" color eInk reader in China by March at a pricey $440, and it will be interesting to see if this device or the design is picked up by Amazon or Barnes and Noble (the two top contenders).  The Nookcolor is the only dedicated color ereader to date but uses a power-hungry LCD  active touch display that is a crossover between ereader and tablet.  eInk is preferred since it is viewable in direct sunlight and is a very low power consumption type of display.  Mirasol by Qualcomm is another display type which is likely to make an appearance at CES 2011.  This display type allows for direct sunlight readability plus video playback and low power consumption, and could be a definite contender to eInk.  Amazon boasts being a leader in the eReader arena, but they continue to insist on using their own own unique file format while the rest of the industry has adopted the .ePub format.  It will be interesting to see if they finally update their readers to use the ePub format which would provide the users with uses outside of Amazon.  Barnes and Noble Nooks are already usable with libraries lending ebooks and other ebook stores such as Google's eBook Store
  4. Microsoft has a tough year ahead.  Microsoft became it's own worst enemy and slow to change.  The company is showing signs of change but still lagging behind as it has tries once again to enter the mobile world with their Windows 7 phones in attempt to compete with the iPhone and Android phones.  I personally see them as a weak contender as the applications are the vital component to smartphones and developers are more focused on the iOS (iPhone) and Android operating systems.  Tablets and online software suites such as Google Apps will definitely put pressure on the expensive Office Suite from Microsoft.  Internet Explorer 9 is scheduled to debut in 2011 alongside Firefox 4.  If (and a big if) Microsoft can finally release a new browser that doesn't cause enormous compatibility issues and can execute the speeds they are boasting, it may become the preferred browser again.  With PC sales weakening to tablet devices, Microsoft won't have the hold on computing as it always has had. 
  5. Let the Browser wars begin.  Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 are both poised to release in early 2011.  Google's Chrome 8 hit before year end.  All are boasting huge improvements in speed and reliability.  All three also have benefits.  The true winner in speed right now is Chrome, but it can be unusable for certain business related sites that are designed only around Internet Explorer's security.  My opinion is have all three and use them as you feel the need.  I primarily use Firefox, but often launch Chrome when I want to do things quickly.  Internet Explorer is always a last resort for me and only use it when necessary since it is very sluggish.  HTML5 and it's adoption by web developers is poised to create a far better web experience that is both richer and faster for users. 
  6. The Social ThingFacebook and Twitter will continue to dominate, but the real question is whether MySpace will actually survive 2011 or simply go away.  Since being bought up by News Corp. it has lost membership at a huge rate.  Quite honestly, I never really cared for it and found it more as a haven for malicious software.  News Corp. has put the company up for sale but there are no takers at this point.  Groupon on the other hand will definitely be one to watch.  This start-up company turned down a $6 billion buyout from Google recently. In any event, social tie-ins will continue to dominate everywhere on the web and in the mobile world. 
  7. Online News Overhaul.  The NY Times and other online News Sites have announced they will be launching 'pay walls'.  This means you can view so much and then you will have to pay to see more.  How this will play out is unknown.  The Wall Street Journal's site, for example, has been doing this for years and has been very successful.  But it is a niche type of news and whether general news sites will gain or lose viewers is yet to be determined.  USA Today on the other hand has made a huge commitment this past year to digital content.  Their efforts have recreated the newspaper in a great format on both the iPad, iPhones, Android devices, and Google's new Web Apps
  8. Internet TV will continue to struggle.  Although Google TV is one of the best entramces into the internet TV world, it has not performed as expected.  In fact the latest studies show that Internet-connected TV's comprised about 25% of TV sales in 2010, only about 45% of users actually use the features.  TV and internet connection has never done well and it really comes down to behavior and desired experience.  When we get in front of the TV, we want to watch.  We really don't want to do much like search.  Netflix and/or YouTube tie-ins are great features, but outside of that users are showing that full internet style capabilities are what they want to truly use.  Will that change?  Possibly, but I think 2011 will see similar performance for internet TV.  Consumers will take it if the feature is included but it will not be a deciding factor in the purchase decision especially with internet connected blu-ray players that provide streaming Netflix movies or Hulu shows. 
Also, check out Mashable's Pete Cashmore's tech predictions for 2011. 
    blog comments powered by Disqus

    Sponsored by: