Two years ago, on December 31, 2003, I made a series of predictions for what would happen in 2004. Well, OK, so I'm a year late reviewing how I did...sue me.
Anyway, I had some hits and some misses:
Prediction: PalmSource will release Palm OS 6 to much fanfare. It will be a marked improvment for the operating system, and devices running on OS6 will be available before July. They will rock.
LOL! Man, can I blow a prediction or what? In case you've been under a rock, Palm OS 6 never made it into any consumer devices (the closest I saw was some prototype phones from Asia) and PalmSource has switched to a Linux-kernel future for Palm OS and has since been acquired by Access, an Asian phone software firm.
Prediction: Samsung will continue to encroach on Sony's market share in nearly every consumer electronics product area except for gaming.
I think this was a pretty much dead on. As a direct competitor for Sony in nearly every product segment, Samsung's sales are way, way up -- 44% higher in 2004 than in 2003 -- with a lot of that momentum coming at Sony's expense (revenue down 7.2% compared to 2004). Sony's forthcoming PS3 will definitely grab some market share and Samsung so far has no competitor for it (and I can't imagine it doing so any time soon).
Prediction: LCD televisions will continue to expand as prices drop, brands multiply, and sizes increase. Plasma TV sales in 2004 will plateau, leading to a year-on-year decline (the first ever) in 2005.
Pretty close, but my prediction was a bit early. While plasma sales have continued to rise, they're increasing much more slowly than before. LCD TV sales, however, are skyrocketing and are set to pass plasma sales in 2006.
Prediction: Wi-Fi mania will continue to build and someone will announce a low-power, low-range Wi-Fi variant that effectively obviates the need for Bluetooth. The "death of Bluetooth" will be once again announced by the press...and this time they may be right.
Not quite. Bluetooth is that technology that really hasn't achieved its full potential. Even now in late 2005, it's hard to configure and finicky with most hardware combinations. Rumors of wireless USB and some other interesting technologies are still poised to replace Bluetooth, but it may take a few more years. In the meantime, we'll continue to mutter "you couldda been a contender!"
Prediction: Bad news will continue to pour forth from the US Congress and White House in terms of poorly conceived, technology-ignorant legislation and cow-towing to powerful media lobbyists (e.g., RIAA and MPAA). Environmental devastation and deregulation will increase at the hands of the Bush administration.
Well, this wasn't really a fair prediction since it was almost assured to happen. From the FCC's crackdown on "smut" on TV to MPAA/RIAA-friendly bills requiring digital flag handling in hardware to total refusal to participate in the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhous emissions (justified, as usual, with selectively edited "scientific" studies), the US government has had a banner couple of years regarding technology abuse.
Prediction: Convergence in home entertainment (audio/video) electronics will be hampered by an industry that is unable and/or unwilling to agree on and follow technical standards.
Again, not hard to predict. The fact that we are STILL wrangling over Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD is just sad. Moreover, there has been little progress towards unification on either of the HDTV specs (720p vs. 1080i), but people are starting to gravitate towards accommodating both and getting 1080p sets.
Prediction: Despite technical and legislative solutions, spam will continue to increase as a percentage of total email, but more slowly (due to the convergence towards 100%).
Pretty much hit this one. Back in mid-2003, spam represented about half of all email. By late 2004, it had stabilized at around 67%, and hasn't climbed much more since then. Spammers have been using more sophisticated methods, such as phishing, to get higher returns out of the the spam they do send out. So, while the volume hasn't gone up dramatically, the danger level continues to rise faster than filtering technologies can adapt.
Prediction: There will be peace on Earth (hey, I can dream, can't I?)
Stay tuned for some end-of-the-year predictions for 2006 and beyond, to be posted next week.