Sierra’s 2008 Predictions

Sierra Modro Okay, so I’m just a touch late with my predictions, but I’ll still throw in my opinions!

  • Standard Windows based Tablet PCs will start evolving. Microsoft has been going after the "pen/touch as a feature" kind of thinking for a while, and I think as Vista inevitably gets adopted, that the feature mind set will start to prevail. I have really mixed opinions about whether this is a good thing, because I also predict that it will lead to…
  • Less diversity in Tablet PC form factors. We’re seeing this already with the number of relatively ho-hum swivel convertibles that are coming out with few slates and no new hybrids. In 2008, more systems will just include a touch screen because they can, and because more people will want them due to the number of iPhone users out there. However, few people will use the ineffective touch screens well, which will cause
  • Frustration with Windows Tablet PC features. And I think this is a Really Good Thing. Because if people get upset, then Microsoft will do something about it. Right now, we’re merely a vocal minority. As more systems with touchscreens get in the hands of real users, frustration with the shortcomings will be inevitable and the outcry will finally reach Microsoft.
  • More PowerToys for Tablet PCs. Instead of addressing the requirements in the OS, Microsoft will release at least 6 new Power Toys in 2008 geared directly for ink and touch input. These will attempt to appease the masses while Microsoft works on Vista Service Pack 2.
  • Intel’s vision of Mobile Internet Devices will release and people will get really excited and really disappointed. There will be a big bang at CES with lots of buzz. Once the systems start getting into reviewers hands, a couple models will get good reviews, but all will complain that the devices
    • Don’t run Windows
    • Aren’t fast enough
    • Aren’t compatible enough
    • Don’t take the place of my desktop system
  • That said however, small, inexpensive ASUS Eee PC type systems will start getting really really popular. However, these aren’t MIDs (according to Intel) and whether they’re UMPCs or not is an open question. People will start to understand that "Anytime/Anywhere" connectivity can be a really good thing.
  • HTC will FINALLY launch the Shift, and by the time it is released, it will be obsolete.
  • Wacom will finally get some serious competition in the Tablet PC space, from newcomer N-Trig. N-Trig’s digitizer will get some great reviews and people will start having a good option beyond Wacom. It will get adopted as an option for some of the upcoming Tablet PC releases.
  • Multi touch will not happen in 2008, at least commercially. There will be talk and there will be lots of demos, but no real uses until the software catches up in 2009.
  • WiMAX will lose even more momentum. I want WiMAX to succeed, but I just don’t see it happening, at least not for yet another year. I actually really hope I’m wrong on this one.
  • Wireless USB devices will start popping up here and there and people will start to get interested, but interoperability fears and high prices will stall the adoption.

I’m going to dub 2008 as the Year of the Tweener. I think the big stories in 2008 will all circle around those "in-between" devices – bigger than a cell phone, smaller than a Tablet PC, trying to be multi-functional and sometimes succeeding. The release of the MIDs will whet people’s appetites for Internet access, and as these converged devices start to get in the hands of consumers, frustration will set in as the devices fail to live up to our hopes. And the computer manufacturers will listen to us all…


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