The holidays are wrapping up and that only means one thing: the International Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas is just around the corner. It’s a tech geek’s dream week, roaming hundreds of thousands of square feet of tech gear, fostering some relationships, getting together with other tech bloggers and media members. There is so much to take in, you could really spend two or three weeks and still not see everything. So before I venture to CES and start seeing a bunch of new gear, I wanted to discuss what I want to see in the tech world come 2011.
Let’s start with a technology that seems to be trying to find an identity, 3D TV. My hopes for 3D are not that it becomes overwhelmingly popular, nor withers away. What I want the entire industry to do is either get behind this cart and push it hard for wide spread adoption, or let it die. It just seems to me that the entire industry – television manufacturers, movie studios, and retailers – have simply been sticking their toes in the pool and no one wants to make a decision one way or another. As plasma, LCD and now, LED televisions become more affordable, more people are replacing their old units, if they don’t feel 3D is anything more than a novelty they won’t ever consider buying one of these new sets, thus delaying adoption. So, tech world, let’s get behind this hard or let it die, either way I’m okay with your decision.
The next trend I hope to see in 2011 is more a business decision than hardware evolution, and involves the television content providers and wireless carriers. We’re to the point where High Definition television is going mainstream, even though the majority of the country is not watching HD. Most providers are still charging a premium for HD service on top of your regular programming package. For example, DirecTV charges a HD Access fee of $10 per month, what I would like to see is that cost be spread across all subscribers. In essence the non-HD viewers would subsidize HD viewers, thus making adoption more desirable.
On that same front, with the proliferation of smartphones there is no reason to have separate line items on your bill with a text plan, voice plan and data plan. Just make the package one price and individual users have the option to disable unwanted services. Again, the idea here is to have non-text and non-data user indirectly subsidize those users that utilize the services. It may not seem fair that people whom are not using these services pay the same as those that do, but if you want to move technology to the next level this is the quickest way to achieve that end.
The final tech trend I would like to see evolve in 2011 is the wide spread adoption of Cloud Computing. With the vast majority of users implementing numerous devices, be it mobile platforms or multiple computers, cloud computing has come a long way in making your files accessible from wherever you may be working. I personally store most of my documents in the cloud, yet I keep all my photos, video, music and applications on my physical machine. The next step in cloud computing would be to help users feel comfortable storing all their media in the cloud, even applications. This would eliminate the need for large hard drives in computers that are susceptible to failure and redundant installation of applications. Of course there is a downside to cloud computing, it’s success is based on continued, reliable connectivity and without it the entire model fails. That being said, for cloud computing to continue to evolve we need more areas that are connected, which leads us into another discussion of free city wide Wi-Fi access, but we will leave that for another day.
I have other hopes for the world of tech in 2011, but these three have come up in numerous conversations over the past year. You will read about more mainstream trends like the evolution of tablets, faster mobile processors, LTE and WiMax, but these are the three that interest me.
What I’m hoping to accomplish with this piece is to get your take on what 2011 holds for the tech industry. What do you want to see evolve? What do you hope takes off and what do you hope fizzles out? I want to hear your commentary in the comments below.