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Directions 2008

An Incremental Year

In the areas of small business and consumer electronics, don’t expect anything market changing in new technology to rear its head. There most certainly will be improvements. Chip technology is getting not only more powerful, but more energy efficient and capable of delivering full basic PC capability on a very small platform. Although dual-core and quad-core systems will become more affordable, the software to run on them effectively is still sorely lacking. Hence, nothing exciting here unless you’re into serious gaming, overclocking just for the sport of it, or video/graphic production and development.

Laptops and Mobile devices

Laptops are also getting more powerful, but with the power comes that eternal nemesis, battery life.  It’s better than it was, but 4 hours of consistent use still seems to be more of a wish than a reality. Nothing we’ve seen so far indicates that this will change soon.

Form factor will probably be the most interesting issue in this sector. Apple has already demonstrated that with its pricey MacBook Air. Look for other manufacturers to also try this ‘glitz’ approach.

Linux will also play an interesting role in the price point arena. We’ve seen several laptops and similar devices that come with Linux pre-installed.  Expect some interesting announcements in this arena.

Smart phones, pocket PC’s and other related devices keep getting sleeker, smaller and more powerful. Expect more of the same here where form rules over function. Also, expect to see a lot of product introductions and updates for the producing and viewing of video and streaming content on these devices.

The Big Screen

I think by this time everyone has realized that there is a screen size available for even the most ‘mid-life crisis’ challenged. If you’ve got a blank 10 or 12 foot wall, there’s a flat panel or projection system to fill it.

The major change this year will be seen in the migration of 1080p sets from 60hz to 120hz. What’s that mean? With the faster speed comes twice the frame rate of the current sets. The result is a smoother sharper picture. Expect a lot of activity here and in the 32”-37” form factor, or what we call the ‘second room TV’.

Concerning what to watch on these screens, keep the following in mind. Broadcast HD is at 720P, standard DVD’s can do an upconvert to 1080i, and as far as high-def DVD’s, that war is over. With the defection of Warner Bros. to Blu-Ray and Walmart announcing the cessation of HD-DVD format equipment sales, this issue is closed. Blu-Ray will be the format moving forward for watching movies in 1080P on that new TV.

All that being said, it’s actually a good thing for the technology to have a season or two to gel. It allows consumers to catch up or come on board when things are stable as opposed to the ‘let’s wait for the next version so ours isn’t obsolete when we buy it’ mentality. It also allows manufacturers to tweak the finer points of their products and improve reliability.

2008 promises to be a lively year in software.. more >>