A couple of years ago, Asus made the stroke of genius by launching a small, lightweight, cheap laptop under the name Eee. The idea was a simple computer that was actually mostly used for surfing. During the past year, these “netbooks” have experienced something of a backlash. They have become larger, more capable and more expensive to satisfy customer demands for small, lightweight but also powerful computers that can run hefty operating systems. With Google’s operating system Chrome OS on the rise and an increasing focus on the “cloud”, 2010 may very well be the netbook’s revenge. Laptops that are actually only made to work against the web.
Hot PC Trend 2: Touchable
Otherwise, one of the hottest PC trends in 2010 is spelled “touchable”. There is no talk of the touch screen with the iPhone and its successors getting a major boost and now appearing in every other laptop and the occasional desktop. It is rumored that Apple will release a tablet-like computer as early as March, and if they do, there is a good chance that the interest in touchables and “tablets” will be even greater. It will be exciting to see which manufacturer will be the first with a laptop equipped with dual screens where one also doubles as a keyboard.
Hot pc trend 3: Pocket pc
However, the absolute hottest PC trend in 2010 remains the pocket PC… Also called “smartphone”, Apple with its iPhone has undeniably succeeded in making more and more people feel the need for competent computing power in their pocket. In 2009, the first handsets with Android’s operating system made their debut, and much suggests that 2010 will be a tough battle between the two systems. The iPhone has a big lead, but with the number of new Android models being released and above all with a lower price, Android may very well become the common man’s choice. Microsoft and Symbian push on but will probably continue to be the choice for businesses rather than private users.
Hottest software trend: Gadgets, widgets, apps…
During 2009, there was a lot of talk about “the cloud” and the various services that are offered online. Users of iPhone and Android mobile phones have also had a hard time with so-called “apps”, small programs that are downloaded to the mobile phone and do more or less advanced things. In 2010 we will see even more of this item and above all we will see them appear in more gadgets. Even now there are televisions, digital photo frames and network players that run widgets. We are now eagerly awaiting the refrigerator, car stereo, microwave, bathroom mirror and Dect phone. If the dect telephone does not start to be phased out when more and more people give up their fixed subscription in favor of mobile telephony.
Gadget Revenge – The E-Book Reader:
There have been countless attempts throughout history to get book readers to abandon paper in favor of PDA screens, mobile phones and dedicated e-book readers. When Irex Illiad was released four years ago, with its eink screen, with the same leisurely readability as the paper in a pocket, many believed that the revolution was a fact. But it has been slow despite investments from the book giant Amazon and the consumer electronics giant Sony. Next year may very well be the first step towards a breakthrough in Sweden. But it does not primarily depend on better e-book readers, but on book publishers investing in electronic distribution of their books. We shall see!
The techniques that don’t really lift…
The disc format blu-ray has so far not been a great success and nothing radical is expected to happen in 2010. The hope lies in the investment in 3d film. This dusty 50’s concept has been given new life to attract people to the cinema halls and provide new opportunities to use expensive projectors, televisions and computers with 3d screens. Sony is betting big and during Christmas, James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar will be shown in 3d, the film that will be the starting point for 2010: the year of the 3d film. Personally, however, I think that the immediate success of the 3d gadgets will not be forthcoming. The lift for 3d, if it comes, will happen in 2011. The same with the 4G technology that provides faster mobile broadband. Throughout 2010, we will be waiting for products with 4G support, as well as waiting for Telia’s competitors to catch up.
Another new one standard that promises more speed, but which will probably have its big breakthrough only in 2011, is Usb 3.0. Personally, I firmly believe that this standard will take over and perhaps outright break both e-sata and Firewire. With a theoretical transfer speed of up to 4.8 gigabits, 10 times faster than the now 10-year-old USB 2.0 standard, as well as the ability to deliver more power to the gadgets, it is a long-awaited upgrade. But the main reason why the interface will break E-sata and Firewire is that it is backwards compatible with 2.0. A few years ago, it was said that 6 billion gadgets with Usb 2.0 connectors had been sold. Talk about good ground to stand on.
The first Usb 3.0 gadgets have already arrived (see our review of Buffalo’s hard drive here), and in 2010 we’ll see a lot more of that stuff. Be sure.
There I end this year’s trend scouting, with a strong hope that I missed a totally surprising brand new trend. An innovation that turns the entire IT world upside down…
Happy new IT year!