Before I sat down to write my tech predictions for 2010 I decided to look back at my 2009 predictions to see how I did. The Internet meme that could best describe it is "FAIL."
While LED lights are starting to become available they have not reached the market widely as I predicted. Smart hydro meters also did not arrive, although B.C. Hydro can give you more information on your account than ever by visiting their website.
The Chevy Volt has made a few appearances in advance of its 2010 release, but there was not nearly as much buzz as I expected. I also predicted that the lower-priced Honda Insight would displace the Toyota Prius in sales and I was spectacularly wrong. As well, a plug-in Toyota Prius concept car received more attention than the Chevy Volt.
I also predicted that the emphasis for portable computers would shift from size to power and that we would see a line of smaller laptops capable of 10 to 20 hours of work on a single charge. Didn't happen, with Acer coming closest with a six hour-plus netbook that was just released this month.
I predicted that Nvidia would jump into the processor market against Intel, AMD, IBM and others, and it appears I was a little hasty - it's happening, but not until 2010 or 2011.
I also predicted that Apple would release an iMac with a touch screen, that Windows 7 would be a modest success instead of a massive one, that companies like Adobe would start to offer lower-priced low-end versions of software, that Resident Evil 5 would be the top-selling game this year, that World of Warcraft would lose subscribers instead of signing up half of China, that Mad World would make the Wii an option for serious games, that Microsoft would release a Zune phone, that iPod Shuffles would migrate to watches.
That's a lot of wrong to live down in just one year. My list is a lot more cautious this year.
Computers - Longer battery life will be a factor this year for laptops and netbooks as lower-power chips and screens become available. I'm guessing that by the end of 2010 we'll see our first eight-hour laptop. Apple will release a tablet, as expected. Touch screens and all-in-ones will be a lot more popular and touch-screen laptops will start to make an appearance.
Gadgets - Google will release its own branded phone by the second quarter of 2010. While no iPhone competitor, the lure of built-in VOIP will make it very popular. Apple will release a fourth generation iPod Touch with a camera and upgrades to the software that will allow access to the directory and for users to open more than one program at a time. Microsoft will demo a Zune phone for release in 2011 - too late to matter. Colour e-books will debut.
Legal - It didn't happen this year but at some point artists, the music industry, Internet service providers, online retailers and others will have to get together and figure things out. The fact that the Canadian music industry is being sued for $6 billion by artists for not releasing royalties could help resolve the impasse. Microsoft will settle with i4i for a huge amount of money, but will rush the next Office to stores to avoid paying royalties.
Gaming - Motion control will be everything. So far 2010 is the year for Microsoft's Project Natal and Sony's PS3 Motion Controller, and most major studios have announced that they will support the technology in at least a few titles. There are a lot of big games coming out next year but picking the top-selling game of 2010 is going to be a challenge. EA's FIFA 2010 will be huge, being a World Cup year for soccer, and Halo: Reach will combine the best of Halo 3 and Halo: ODST into something new and familiar. But the biggest game should be Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. The first Starcraft and its expansion packs, now 10 years old, are still played at video game tournaments and are widely considered the best real time strategy games of all time. On that note I'd like to see a keyboard and mouse combo available for consoles before motion control so Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can play this, too.
Household Tech - Last year I predicted that low energy LED bulbs would hit the market, but the first available models were disappointing. A few models of far better bulbs were available in the U.S. in October, about a month after the first bulbs were commercially available in Japan. My advice is to wait until they're at your local hardware store, and then ask for a demonstration. Also, 3D televisions and TV shows.
Web - Mint.com will be available in Canada at some point, as will Hulu.com. Going out further on the limb, Facebook will be purchased by Google or possibly Yahoo! Tiered pricing will arrive in Canada, driven by competition in urban markets.
Random - Bill Gates, who stepped down from Microsoft to spend more time on his charitable trust, will step back into the business world as a the head of a venture capital company that invests in the technologies and products the world needs to eradicate poverty, cure disease, battle climate change, etc.