|Some fairly smart tech predictions here:|
For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept a text file with my large, high-level predictions for the industries and companies I’m tracking. Now I’m going to make part of it public. (I wrote these in February.)
Apple is going to enter the television market. Samsung will be blindsided. Vizio will become the only worthy competitor in the market. It’s going to look exactly like the MP3 player market in 2001. Once again, software is the key.
Semantic/contextual/intelligent web searching will kill Google if Google doesn’t disrupt itself. Eventually. Google search is a terrible experience for normal people. They don’t know which links they can trust. Some service in the future is going to curate the top 100,000 or 1,000,000 queries into a list of great, precise results. Siri would be a great interface into that kind of system. “Siri, what camera should I buy?” would probably give better results than this. (How that curation or improvement in quality will happen is anyone’s guess.)
Amazon is in a tough place; the Kindle Fire has to be improved, but at a $200 price point, they’ve locked themselves into a very bad situation. They can’t improve it substantially without increasing the price, and they can’t increase the price without spoiling their target market. It is also unlikely that they can compete on quality with the iPad. Given Amazon’s poor financials in recent quarters (presumably due to losses from the Fire, at least two quarters ago), it’s hard to predict how far Amazon will go with the Fire. My prediction is that they will attempt to make it better but, given the imposed constraints, fail. The Fire will be forever relegated to the “cheap junk” category for Tablets. Hilariously, it’s still the best non-iPad tablet you can buy.
It will take at least a decade before anything on the internet will come even close to “ killing Hollywood”. The driving force behind Hollywood is extremely well-produced, expensive content, with a ~50% success rate. Hollywood is a network of financial underwriters tied inextricably to the content they produce. No web startup can replace this fundamental need. And I’m not sure what disruption would look like; I hope it does not include a reduction in production quality. Netflix, YouTube, and HBO are the ones to watch here. (Hulu is going to end up dead or bought; it is owned by the very interests it needs to destroy.)
Previously unconnected devices are going to gain free wireless 3G/4G internet connectivity, similar to Whispernet. There is no reason why extremely low bandwidth wireless devices cannot have a lifetime service plan baked into the initial cost. The carriers should love this. Ebooks are just the start; imagine clocks and watches that update themselves, home energy usage monitoring devices, heart monitors, in-car traffic systems, and things we haven’t even thought about yet. Three things need to happen as prerequisites: wireless radio hardware needs to get smaller (Bluetooth LE is a good case study for this), it needs to get way cheaper, and wireless network capacity needs to at least quadruple. The Kindle started this trend, and I’m kind of surprised that it hasn’t become more popular.
Nokia & Windows Phone
Nokia will popularize Windows Phone and Microsoft will almost certainly end up buying them. Windows Phone will eventually be successful, if moderately.