Predictions For 2011

2011 Predictions

Now is the time of year when many people write predictions for 2011.  Here are mine:

  • USB 3.0– This is the year that USB 3.0 appears on many notebooks.  End users will shop for it, but no one will actually have anything useful to connect to the standard.  This will be a technology that is rather staid, but very useful.  It allows faster HDD storage, but no one has come up with the killer app for it.
  • Light Peak– To steal one of my favorite lines of the year “Are you there God?  It’s me, Marketing.” Intel has been rather quiet on this technology for a while.
  • Slates– This is an easy one to make because everyone is making the same prediction.  Supposedly there are 70 slates being announced at CES in January.  Most of them will be commercial failures with disappointing sales and widespread malaise and apathy from consumers.  Seventy is way too many, but this is a natural course evolution for any new product.  The bell curve for technology has shrunk.  We’ve moved from the pioneer stage to the early portion of mass adoption.  Look for some very cool products this year.  This is THE category to watch.
  • Android– Hugely popular for the masses.  People will ask for it by name, though they won’t quite understand what “it” is.  Vendors capitalize on this mass confusion and provide less than stellar products and operating system environments.  Lack of cohesive standards causes disaffection among consumers.  This will solve itself by early 2012.
  • Windows 7– Does very well as Service Pack 1 finally ships and corporations start massive roll outs.  This solidifies Microsoft for another 10 years.  This isn’t a bad thing.  Windows 7 is stable, mature, and rocks.  This is also another example where consumers have been driving corporate to implement new technology.
  • Dual Operating Systems– A lot of talk about running a dual Windows/Android or other combination on a single device.  Unfortunately, not much more than talk. 2012 is the real year for this to happen.
  • Virus on a slate/pad device– A widespread virus outbreak will occur on one of the pad devices – probably Apple’s (just because of its install base).  Symantec and others will scramble to provide an anti virus app for download.  The really innovative vendors will set up a subscription model where you’re charged 99 cents/month through your iTunes account vs. the standard yearly subscription.
  • Virtualization – The alternate slate devices gives a nice sales boost to VM Ware and others to enable corporate applications.
  • Modems – Finally die as standard features on notebook PCs.  They will be available for some time to come as USB dongles.  Aside from a few customers, no one will care that modems are dead.
  • Embedded Batteries– Embedded batteries become acceptable for the average consumer/SMB end user.  Corporate resists these, but without compelling reasons to do so other than “it doesn’t feel right” or “just in case.”  There’s no rational reason for this behavior.
  • Optical drives– I know it hurts, but it is time to think about giving up your built in optical drive on any system smaller than 15”.  It will be okay.  I promise. I’ve done it for a year with no ill effects and have only missed it twice.
  • Touch on clamshell notebooks– Though cool technology, the market still won’t see the point or usefulness.  This technology will continue to be ignored.
  • All-in-One Desktops– Moderate adoption in commercial markets. nbsp; Over time, expect these to kill the ultra small form factor that various commercial vendors sell today.
  • 3G/4G– Carrier greed and unwillingness to create a new pricing model which will allow the same data plan to be used across multiple devices will continue to make cellular connectivity a slow growth market.
  • Serial Ports– We’ll still be talking about and using serial ports ten years from now.
  • Mini DisplayPort– More than a few vendors start using this standard on ultra thin laptops.  Now that the industry is trying to kill VGA for good, this has a better chance of succeeding, though I still wish HDMI would win instead.
  • Bring your own PC to Work– Tantalizing in idea and the potential cost savings for the corporation, but won’t take off any time soon.  Corporate is too concerned with security, liability, and help desk support issues.

If you want to succeed as a company in 2011, don’t design for the enterprise.  Instead, design for the consumer market and get them to force the new technology and standards up into the enterprise space.