The Bottom Line on Your Tech Predictions for 2010

By  |  Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

Here at Technologizer, it’s our new years’ tradition that I avoid making any predictions of my own and instead invite you to do so. Back at the end of 2009, you submitted dozens of predictions for 2010. Strangely, none of them involved a prototype iPhone being lost in a bar and sold to a tech blog. But you got lots of things right–and even your prognostications that didn’t pan out make for interesting reading. (I’ll get some of them were simply premature by a year or so.) I’d say you’re as good at this game as most of the folks who do it for a living.

After the jump, a recap of the predictions you made, and what actually happened. The bolded, bracketed comments after each prediction are mine–feel free to disagree with my conclusions. And please start thinking about 2011: Later this week, I’ll ask you to tell us what’s in store for the year ahead.


Evan: The Apple tablet will finally be announced by Phil Schiller, not Steve Jobs. The low-end model will have a price point of $699. Wi-Fi, 3G, tethering to iPhones, compatible with all existing iPhone/iPod Touch apps. Its name will not have an “i” before it (it won’t be “iTablet”, etc.) [The tablet was announced by Steve Jobs and started at $499. It had Wi-Fi, 3G, and iPhone app compatibility, but didn’t tether to iPhones. And it did have a name that began with an “i.”]

Evan: Apple will finally discontinue hard drive-based iPod Classic, replacing the 160 GB mainstay with a 128 GB flash memory-based iPod Touch. [The iPod Classic lives, and the Touch still maxes out at 64GB. But I wouldn’t be shocked if this prediction just turned out to be premature by one year.]

Randy Giusto: 2010 will be the year of Apple in the enterprise. We’ll see new strategies and organizational structures in Cupertino and at the store level (between the stores and Apple Enterprise sales). Led by a big push for iPhone in the enterprise, Apple will also cherry pick some enterprise verticals like design, CAD/CAM, and engineering, working with SW developers like Autodesk to gain ground on Windows. The second leg of this strategy will be with small and medium enterprise (SME) accounts, again, with the iPhone being a leading entry point for many businesses. The news and hype may be all about the tablet (if it even happens), but the real story will be around Apple’s quiet execution of a new enterprise strategy. [ From what I can tell, Apple is indeed quietly pursuing a strategy to target business customers. iOS 4 has a number of enterprise-related features, for instance, and every time I use my Technologizer corporate card in an Apple Store, I get a pitch for small-business services. And Autodesk announced it was bringing AutoCAD back to the Mac.]

Andy: Apple will finally launch a subscription plan for music, and maybe videos. [Not yet!]

Jill Elswick: Apple will allow Google Voice on the iPhone. [Yup!]

Ryan C. Meader: Apple will release their tablet, and every other company under the sun will attempt to produce a “me too” version. That’s why the software (and unique features in web sites that target it) will be so unique. [Apple did release a tablet, and it’s inspiring competitors by the boatload–although most of them won’t show up until 2011.]

Renchub: Apple will not release a tablet computer, at least not one that’s a big iPod touch. Get over it already. Aside from the Gee-whiz factor of having a tablet computer, how would you use it in day to day life? [You decide whether the iPad counts as a “big iPod Touch” or not.]

Renchub: Apple will lose market share to Windows, because of the success of Windows 7, and not due to a massive upswing in netbook sales. [There were indeed some stories saying the Mac was losing ground. But there were also ones saying its U.S. share was increasing and that Apple Stores were driving explosive market-share growth. Meanwhile, netbooks are still selling in large quantities, but it looks like the growth in netbook sales has stalled.]

Darryl: Apple will decouple its Mac OS from their hardware allowing it to be a platform of choice for cloud-based solution. [Not yet, but the idea persists in rumor form.]

Tom Markworth: Apple will launch iPhone and iPod models with a magnetic power/data cable, abandoning the years-old dock connector. The use of wireless phone chargers will multiply. The entire mobile industry will begin to rethink the use of fragile, proprietary power cables. [The dock connector remains with us, but the industry is indeed trying to jumpstart inductive charging with initiatives such as the Qi standard.]


Heulenwolf: Tech media will finally get what ChromeOS is about – and stop calling it the comeback of the thin client – when an actual product comes out and they can see it. ChromeOS is about getting the consumer to the browser as quickly and efficiently as possible (where Google makes money) and about making the browser more useful (so that Google can make more money). [Google delayed sales of Chrome OS machines until 2011, but released a test device called the Cr-48. From what I’ve seen, there still isn’t a real consensus on whether Chrome OS is a neat idea or an idiosyncratic misadventure.]

Jake: At the end of 2010, you still won’t know anyone who can explain what a Google Wave is. [Kinda doesn’t matter whether anyone can or not.]

Pete Steege: Google Water Cooler launched; quickly dominates traffic for cat videos, funny photos and chain emails. [Not yet.]

Evan: Chrome OS will be released to quiet hoopla and will fail to gain more than 1% market share in 2010. [It’s available only on the Cr-48, which presumably has way less than 1% share. And the hoopla hasn’t been that quiet.]

Aaron Neyer: Google will control more and more. Their programs and services will become more popular than almost any other. Google Chrome will improve to become a leading web browser. Chrome OS will become a very popular operating system as cloud computing becomes increasingly popular. Many more of Google’s things will grow popular and new things will emerge. Current things that will likely expand include G-mail, Picasa, Android, Google Maps and Earth, Google Docs, Google Voice, and obviously Google Search. I think Google will try and make even more programs and services, so they can control more, things expanding to possibly even a Google Security Suite, although that might be stretching it a bit.

Google will also expand into the hardware field, starting with the Google Nexus phone. Soon they will be producing their own netbooks running Chrome OS and Chrome OS may expand or become an entirely new operating system that would do more for notebooks or desktops, which could be produced by Google. Google could make more and more phones besides the Nexus and possibly even create their own network, which completely changes the way we think about phones by making it all VOIP, making it much cheaper, but relying more on your 3G, or 4G network, as I believe by then, 4G network will be very widespread. [Chrome is getting better and better and more and more popular. And every significant Google service has received significant upgrades this yea. It did release a Chrome OS machine of its own and dabbled in VoIP by letting Gmail users make Google Voice calls over the Internet, but its attempt to sell phones flopped. And there’s still no Google Security Suite.]

Randy Giusto: Google Wave will start to show some practical applications by mid-year but 2010 will still largely be a experimental year for the platform, although other communication/conferencing/sharing platforms will get increasingly nervous and see their business models threatened. [Anyone who was nervous has probably calmed down by now.]

Dattatray Jadhav: Google’s Chromium OS will be released and will fail big time as I don’t see much potential in web based computers I mean, what Google is offering is already there on smartphones. Why would I use an extra laptop just for that? [Hasn’t been released yet, so the jury is still out.]

Tim Joiner: Google will be hit with a major privacy breach, involving Gmail. Massive amounts of private email will be on the torrents. Celebrities and politicians alike will be skewered. [There was a breach in January, but it wasn’t quite massive. And then there was Wikileaks, although it didn’t involve Gmail.]

Stephen Turner: The war of words between Murdoch and Google will continue. However, Murdoch won’t remove his articles from Google altogether. Google will make just enough concessions that he can keep them on Google without losing face. [Murdoch has a paywall in place for some content, but he sure controls a lot of stuff that you can find on Google, including much of the supposedly-not-free Wall Street Journal.]

JustCallMeBen: Google buys Canada and makes it Ganada, a free playground for everyone, as long as they wear their GPS-trackers and camera-equipped goggles. [This hasn’t launched yet. Yet.]

Bill R.: A city, university or large school district will begin adoption of Google’s Chrome OS for most of its users. An experiment sponsored by Google. [Didn’t happen, but sounds like a good 2011 prediction.]

Melissa Cleaver: I think that Google will rule the world…Google apps will be on everything we own, including our own TV! [Google TV got off to a bumpy start, but it did indeed bring Google apps to the living room.]


JustCallMeBen: Microsoft will try to repeat the success of Windows 7 on Windows Mobile 7, but people won’t care. [It’s trying for sure, but it’s a bit early to tell whether enough consumers care.]

Scott T.: Steve Ballmer will step down from the helm of the world’s largest software company. Coinciding with this event will be the return of BIll Gates in a day-to-day roll at the company. They will attempt to spin this in a way to make his return appear like the “triumphant” return of Steve Jobs to Apple. [Ballmer is still in charge. but predicting or demanding his ouster is a popular pundit pastime.]

Evan: Microsoft will create a spin-off of Indie Games that emphasizes non-gaming applications, and open an API that allows arbitrary networking. Expect to see applications for websites like Flickr and Wikipedia, and perhaps a generalized RSS reader, pop up on the console. [Hasn’t happened yet, but it’s an intriguing idea.]

Renchub: Microsoft will release a hand held gaming platform that will play X-box and classic windows desktop games. It will be hated, but sell like hotcakes because they are willing to take the financial losses to move units. [Microsoft seems to be putting all its mobile gaming eggs in the Windows Phone 7 basket. It’s got some XBox-related features. I don’t know if anyone loves it, but it doesn’t seem to be widely hated.]

Alvin: Microsoft will cancel Windows Mobile. [It renamed it Windows Phone and didn’t kill it. Then again, there was the Kin saga…]

The Web

Heulenwolf: Wide adoption of HTML 5 by web app developers is necessary for offline usage and to move away from proprietary, closed plugins like Adobe Flash for rich content. Frankly, full screen, HD-ish video playback through a browser shouldn’t require a Core 2 Duo. Unfortunately, I think this one is more of a wish than a prediction for 2010, too, but it would be nice. [HTML5 video didn’t take over the Web, but it certainly made progress. For instance, YouTube launched an HTML5 player.]

Jake: The “cloud” will experience a dramatic and highly public failure involving stolen data. [One word: Wikileaks.]

Bill Pytlovany: Advertising will finally show up on Twitter. [It did. in the form of promoted tweets.]

JHM43: Media 2.0 meets Gov 2.0 to create Community 2.0. In Community 2.0, the relationship between government, the press, and the citizenry evolves into something that is much more transparent, engaging, and active. It is about redefining the idea of the Fourth Estate . Members of the former audience are now producers, not just consumers. Members of the former constituency are now actors, not just voters. Community 2.0 creates a living, evolving ecosystem of citizens. [Does Wikileaks count here, too?]

Michael: Facebook’s recent policy woes continue into 2010, as the company tries to backpedal from its new privacy settings fiasco. Led by several high profile defectors in the media, users abandon the site in what starts as a trickle, but becomes a monsoon as more and more people fall victim to the site’s new openness allowing sensitive data to fall into untrustworthy hands. By the end of the year, Twitter has overtaken the ‘Book in users. [Facebook suffered a major meltdown involving unhappiness over privacy in the spring, and responded with new settings. I know a fair number of folks who talk about quitting Facebook–and a few who have pulled the trigger–but it’s still growing by hundreds of thousands of users a day and is five times bigger than Twitter.]

Bill: Cloud computing will be all the rage, but no one will care to call it cloud computing because “cloud” will be viewed with either increasing suspicion (over security and reliability) and/or because it will no longer resonate as a “cool” marketing term. [I wish “cloud” would go away. But it hasn’t.]

Mike: Facebook starts letting retailers sell products straight from their Fan Pages. Consumers have the option to share stories with all of their Facebook Friends about their purchases, and Facebook gets a small cut of the revenue. It’s a win-win-win situation. [I don’t think this happened. Did it?]

Simcha: In 2010, we will see more and more companies and governments building their own “cloud”, in order to get the benefits of the cloud, minimizing the hazards. This move will lead to an increase in hardware sales. (everyone has computer + the company has lots of computers in its own ‘cloud’) This will also give linux a big push, both in market share and in contributions to the kernel. [The concept of the “private cloud” certainly gained some traction.]

Digital Entertainment

Dan: 2010 will be the year of high quality music downloads and personal media “lockers,” (I hate that word. We need to come up with a new term for that. Maybe our own personal clouds, or our own personal media servers that we don’t really own?)

Anyway, 2010 will see the proliferation of high quality music downloads. The first shot will be fired by Apple or Amazon, obviously. Apple will begin selling Apple Lossless files and Amazon will begin selling aiff and flac. Actually, if you look at HDTracks and what they are selling, that is along the lines of the options that Amazon will make available. Although, it is possible that eMusic will throw the first punch here and surprise us all by adopting high quality before anyone else. [Doesn’t seem like high-quality downloads were a big story this year. But the concept of storing entertainment on the Web certainly was.]

Heulenwolf: As DRM’ed music gradually fades from the market and is replaced by un-DRM’ed music and streaming services (e.g. Apple’s acquisition of Lala), the music industry will start to get it. Just like in the days of the cassette tape, they can make money even when consumers copy their stuff. In fact, as CD sales continue to drop, adapting to the new web-based music delivery model will be their only way to stay in business. Lawsuits against little old ladies by the RIAA will drop sharply. The movie industry, on the other hand, won’t get it. The MPAA will continue to sue and lobby worldwide to protect their aging business model without realizing that podcasts and IPTV are gradually taking the space they could have on-line. Consumers and the developers of Boxee, the Roku box, and libdvdcss will be blamed. [Both the RIAA and the MPAA seem to have concluded that suing entertainment fans isn’t a great idea.]

Alastair Goldfisher: Pandora will reach profitability in 2010 just as Apple continues its push into streaming music and buys the VC-backed online radio music company for between $100M and $150M. That’ll be a return of about 2x to 3x for investors. [Pandora is profitable. And Apple has four days left to buy it and make this prediction come true.]

Mark Prestash: In 2010 the movie industry will finally “get it” and adopt a more customer friendly movie streaming policy. With all of the devices that can now stream content from the web (roku box, the soon to be released boxee box, TIVO, popcorn tv, Vudu box, and the more upscale blu-ray players) Hollywood will begin to support those devices with more current releases and move away from the old “staggered release” model. I would gladly pay a few bucks more a month for my Netflix account if there were more current releases available to watch streaming. The new streaming model could come in a PPV form, a DL to own, or just streaming from websites you all ready pay a subscription to. The streaming version should have all the extras that come on a disc (making of, audio commentary etc) as this adds value to the customer. [In many ways. things moved in the right direction on these fronts in 2010–but maybe not quite this far.]

Mark Prestash: 3-D T.V. will fail in 2010 in a big way. The sets are very expensive, they require the viewer to wear special glasses, and there will be almost no content to view in 3-D for quite a long time. I’m sure the digital TV conversion is still hurting many television stations financially, so adding more/new hardware and software for 3-D TV broadcasting may just not be economically viable for them. lastly, if viewing 3-D TV is anything like the crop of 3-D movies Hollywood pumped out this year, I’m not impressed. Sure the content had an extra dimension to it, but it was in no way shape or form so good and ground-breaking I want the technology in my living room. [The industry loves 3DTV but it remains unclear whether consumers are impressed. (I’m not!) And there still isn’t a critical mass of content, thanks in part to silly exclusivity deals.]

JustCallMeBen: Hulu will stop being free… At least as we know it: most popular shows will be pay-per-view, at least for a short period after broadcast. [Hulu Plus arrived, and the company is trying to figure out how to make it appealing without killing the free version. But it isn’t making new episodes pay-only.]


Randy Giusto: The eight smart phone ecosystems (old term- operating systems) – iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, Maemo, and Samsung’s new Bada will consolidate down to five as competition increases and developer resources to sustain them all remain thin. Samsung’s Bada will fail (why do we need yet another smart phone platform?), Palm will get acquired as it struggles to establish any foothold outside the US and WebOS will end up in other things, just not phones. Nokia moves fully from Symbian to Maemo based on a backlash of developers who are fed up with writing apps for Symbian because it’s hard (too many versions) and is not optimized for the web. But even Maemo won’t be popular and the pressure will be on Nokia to move to Android. I’m just not sure they will make the shift by the end of 2010. Windows Mobile struggles badly but makes it through the year, but just barely. RIM will not be sold, but will see increased enterprise competition (not from Microsoft) and will find a harder consumer market to compete in. RIM will start re-development efforts on its OS, go on an acquisition spree, as it must become optimized for the web. So 2010 will end with iPhone and Android strong, RIM and Nokia in transition, and Windows Mobile on the ropes. [Let’s see. Nokia merged Maemo with Intel’s Mobilin to create MeeGo, and while no MeeGo devices have shipped yet, the OS does appear to have displaced Symbian as Nokia’s preferred smartphone platform. Bada has neither succeeded nor failed. Windows Mobile gave way to Windows Phone 7, and it’s too early to render a verdict about its chances. Palm was sold. RIM wasn’t, and did snap up numerous companies to strengthen itself for the Web. Overall, a pretty impressive flurry of predictions!]

wsquared: Android-based smartphones will gain, if not surpass the iPhone’s market share, with full Flash support and a quickly growing app store. [Good call, although there are still numerous new Android handsets that don’t support 2.2 yet and therefore can’t run Flash.]

Andy Maslin: Because of pressure from cheaper unlimited call offers, cell phone plan prices drop dramatically. SMS and MMS costs remain high, and even increase further on some carriers. Other data costs remain static (at least on traditional carriers). [I think the big news in wireless service pricing this year was not this stuff but AT&T’s move to data plans that are cheaper but limited.]

Alvin: Palm will fail or be purchased for less than $10M. [It was purchased by HP… for $1.2 billion. Not a historic price, but also not peanuts.]

JustCallMeBen: Android will win some significant market-share from the iPhone, but the iPhone will still be the dominant mobile OS. Windows Mobile won’t be significant by the end of the 2010. [You could argue about the iPhone-vs.-Android race for weeks; the bottom line is that both are doing well. Windows Phone 7, meanwhile, is just getting started.]


Jeff Hayes: I think 2010 will be the year of both the LED AND the OLED. LED backlights are already starting to replace CFLs in LCD TVs, but except in some of the higher-end model’s, the jury’s still out on which is the superior technology. With time and technical improvements that’s bound to change. As for OLED (organic LED) technology has been around for several years, but quite expensive (Sony debuted an 11″ OLED monitor for $2,399, I believe, back when Harry was still editor of PC World). But the tech has been slowly getting less expensive and getting to be the norm on cell phones and other small screens and is now becoming more of a standard on laptop screens. I predict a major price breakthrough on OLED will bring it to ever bigger screens and that possibly even some HD TVs will be available on OLED by the end of 2010. [OLED TVs aren’t yet a big deal, but OLED smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S models were popular in 2010. And LED backlighting certainly made inroads this year.]

NickAVV: Transparent OLED displays lead to wearable visor computers with Augmented Reality, although without a good way to control them they would be set to perform specific tasks, such as giving you walking/driving navigation overlaid on reality, or information on restaurants and other businesses floating next to them. [Transparent OLED displays of this sort aren’t yet a consumer reality, but they sound cool.]

wsquared: Archos will update the Archos 5IT to include a capacitive touch screen, Android Eclair, Snapdragon processor, both front and rear web cams, and access to the full Android Market. This will be a strategic move to be the top competitor (and lower-cost alternative) to the $800 Apple Tablet. Archos will announce the Archos 7IT (with the aforementioned specs) when the Archos 9 fails to gain traction. [Archos introduced a bunch of tablets, but nothing with precisely those specs. And the Apple tablet started at $499.]

John: Cameras and printers will become sufficiently connected that you can take a picture in Kathmandu and have it print in Toledo, i.e. the camera/printer equivalent of GoToMyPC. [You might be able to pull this off, but most cameras still don’t have built-in wireless connectivity. On the other hand, there was lots of news about wireless printing, such as HP’s ePrint technology, which does let you print from any device to any ePrint-enabled printer in the world.]

Jeff Hayes: I see 2010 as the year that Touch Computing COMES ALIVE! HP has had a few touch computer models for several years, now, but with Windows 7 including it native in some versions, I think by Q3 we’ll see A LOT of new monitors, computers and all-in-ones that are touch-based, and by the end of the year you’ll probably have your pick. Within two to three years, it will likely be very difficult to find a monitor that’s NOT touch-based, but we’re talking just about 2010. The iPod and a few other cell phones already have similar capabilities, so MILLIONS of people are already familiar with the concept somewhat, and Bill Gates was demonstrating tabletop touch computing on the news a year or more ago. I think we’ll see this sort of thing first in high-end bars, ON the bars themselves, as a way to play games, order drinks, play songs or TV or whatever the bars choose… But it won’t be long before there will be “touch tables” in homes, as well as millions of touch-screen computers — particularly laptops, which will likely roll out more quickly. [Touch interfaces on traditional computers certainly made progress in 2011–lots of major companies released touch notebooks, all-in-ones, and monitors–but I’m not sure if they quite came alive. But the iPad interface surely counts as a major development.]

Brian Wilkes: 300GB solid state hard drive for $200 by the end of 2010. Interest in the BluRay media will not increase, it will be replaced by NetFlix and services like it. 3TB Hard drive by the end of 2010. 52 inch Plasma TV for under $500. Google Chrome OS will gain a huge market share. [SSD prices haven’t fallen that far yet, alas; Blu-Ray does seem to be a disappointment and Netflix Watch Instantly had a huge year; 3TB drives arrived midyear; TV prices tumbled, but not that far; Chrome OS was delayed until 2011.]

Jonathan Hirshon: 2010 will be the year of dimensionality – 3D on the Web from WebGL via HTML 5, uber-accelerated 3D on the desktop via Tesla, plus everyone having supercomputer-levels of performance via OpenCL even on older 3D cards, killer 3D interfaces via OpenGL ES on iPhone, Droid and HTC (plus others). 2D gets a kick in the ass via Direct2D, giving killer font renderings on Windows, Cairo does the same for the Web through Firefox, Apple laughs and gives Quartz its long overdue launch in the new tablet for killer 2D font renderings. 🙂 [Progress was made, but 2011 stands a better shot at being the year of dimensionality. Or maybe 2012?]

Darryl: MANY notable universities and colleges will drive the replacement of text books with eBooks creating a new markets for course material and annotations for entrepreneurial grad students acutely familiar with peer-to-peer networks. [Some of this happened this year, although still more in pilot-program form than as an all-out revolution.]

JustCallMeBen: The first 13″ OLED laptop will be released. Nobody will be able to afford it. [We saw some concept OLED laptops, but no shipping products.]

ChrisF: Projection technology will make a big breakthrough shrinking the device size needed and eliminating the costly projector bulbs. [Picoprojectors are a viable category, but I’m not aware of any huge technology sea changes in 2010.]

About (Blush) Technologizer

Sharla Lane: Technologizer hits 5,000 followers on Twitter. [The @technologizer feed, which we don’t promote much, isn’t there yet. But @harrymccracken is ending the year with almost 26,000 followers.]

Bill Pytlovany: Technologizer will expand and receive support from a well known Internet content provider. [Well, we expanded for sure. And we partnered up with to create a weekly Technologizer column.]

Leigh Anne Varney: Harry McCracken and Technologizer will be recognized (finally) for journalistic integrity and prescience! [Not my call to make…]


Dan Schaeffer: Personal jet packs and flying cars. (I will make this prediction every year until it comes true.) [The jetpack part is reality, at least sort of!]

Thanks, everyone! We’ll talk 2011 predictions shortly…

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  1. @MuDaeBoJongShin Says:

    Microsoft did cancel Windows Mobile! Windows Phone 7 is not a rename of the previous product.