Friday, December 31, 2004

2005 tech trends: a wishlist

Now that we're on the verge of 2005, I originally thought to review the tech of 2004, but there are likely to be enough of those stories for you to read. In fact, I'll recommend a few for you to read to work off any "New Year's hangovers" tomorrow:


Brighthand: The Most Important Handheld-Related Events of 2004

MSNBC: The year in technology
eWeek: 2004: The Year in Technology (interactive timeline)

Instead of focusing on the past, I'm looking to the future. Although 2004 was a great year for the tech crowd, there are some gaps that I'd like to see addressed in 2005. Click "Read More" for my thoughts...

1. Efficient power usage in mobile computing devices. A portable device is only good if it has power. Intel made great strides with their XScale processors in the past year or two, which allow for "speedstep" power saving techniques. I'm hoping we see new and unique approaches to run devices with lower power consumption combined with more efficient battery technology. I use an iSun solar charger to recharge my devices with solar power today; case manufacturers, if you're listening, let's get some solar cells integrated into our device cases.

2. Acceptance of the blogosphere by mainstream media. The many tragic events of 2004 showed just how immediate and "real" the blogosphere is. News is an immediate phenomenon; people want to hear what is happening AS it happens. Unless there are news correspendents on every speck of the planet, that's not going to happen without bloggers. At the tail end of 2004, I began to see some news stories attributed to blogging coverage (what I call "bloggerage"), which is a postive sign. I hope this continues in 2005.

3. Wider availability of connectivity. I was thrilled to see plans laid out to "WiFi enable" whole cities in 2004. This will take time and money of course, but I believe that ultimately, we will have connectivity wherever we are. Information must be timely, whether it's data for a program, personal attributes, whatever. We have to keep in mind that while information in itself is good, access to that information is the key. Without the access, the information might as well not exist.

4. Related to item 3: Valid and timely information. An example might suffice for this. Today, I attempted to purchase my first tablet PC. I searched for the best price and the searched local stores for availability. A local computer store, which is a major national chain, indicated that they had the item I wanted "in limited quantities". This was based on their website. I took an extra step and called the location and they indicated that they had 2 in stock. I drove to the store, looked at the display and bargained the price down via a price match policy. All is good, I thought. They store associate rang up my order and called for someone to open the super-secret laptop storage room. They came back empty, so two associates promptly ran to the back of the store to check for any additional stock. Nothing. They then rechecked their computers and said, "we just sold both of the units". I did NOT see a single person purchase a tablet PC while I was waiting, so I highly doubt that 2 tablet PC's were just sold. End result: wasted trip and no tablet PC. Ironically, I went on-line several hours afterwards and the store's website still state's "limited quantities in stock". 'Nuff said.

5. Convergent devices that don't water down functionality for convergence's sake. I've never been a convergence fan because the point is missed by manufacturers. If you're going to combine two more more devices into one for better functionality, please don't water down functionality of both devices to give me an "all in one" device. Let's find a way to get 3 to 5 megapixel cameras into cell phones if we're going to make "camera-phones". I'll continue to carry multiple devices until I feel that I'm not sacrificing quality of functionality.

There you have it. I can go on and one for my 2005 wishes, but I've hit the major ones here at a high level. Think over 2004 and consider what you want to see in 2005, then drop me a note or post a comment for all.

Peace, happiness and high-tech in 2005 to all!


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