As we approach the final countdown to the end of the year I thought I’d list some of the big stories and some of the important angles that otherwise might be missed. So as you are enjoying your hot chocolate and marshmallows let’s get to it.
Windows 10: The Rebirth of WinTel
Windows 10 has been looking incredibly strong in early testing as it is more Windows 7 enhanced and vastly more similar to what we got with Windows 95, which was when Microsoft peaked. The thing is that the hardware manufacturers tell me that both Microsoft and Intel are behaving much more like they did in the 1990s—when both firms were hungry and customer satisfaction was still important. This should represent the rebirth of both firms and the return of the once powerful WinTel alliance.
Drones, Drones, Drones and Boom
Looking at the CES leaks we are going to be up to our armpits in Drones next year. From those that take pictures to the ones being developed by Google to provide wireless and even some that are designed to fight each other. The problem is that with all of that stuff floating overhead it is just a matter of time before one hits a police helicopter, airline, or lands catastrophically on a child. Any of this will likely put the FAA into overdrive with regard to regulating these things. The FAA is far too small to do that job so it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bunch of FAA long duration drones get launched to catch the rest of us trying to have fun with them.
3D Printer Market Crash
One of the uncovered stories of 2014 is that most of the 3D printers in the market are basically crap. They print objects that cost dollars that you wouldn’t pay pennies for, and are a far sight below what folks actually expect these printers to do. Some of the materials won’t take paint, others collapse if they get wet, and the high end industrial printers are still very, very expensive and often not cost effective as a result. What the market really wants in a 3D printer is likely a decade or more out.
Self-Driving Exploding Car
One of the concerns about self-driving cars that didn’t get much interest in 2014 will likely get a ton more in 2015 as more and more of these things are put on roads in test. The opportunity to turn one of these into a self-driving car bomb will likely put some rather hefty restrictions on where these vehicles can roam. I expect darkly tinted windows where you can’t tell if someone is inside the car will become even more illegal than they now are and laws more aggressively enforced as a result.
This whole Internet of Things effort is way over the top and at CES you’ll see refrigerators that have cameras inside so you can see what is on your shelves over the Internet and washer dryers that can text you what cycle it is on. Wait until someone connects these to Twitter, this could kill Twitter singlehandedly. As with most trends, this will likely get out of hand—wait until some hacker takes over a bunch of these things and mucks them up. The secure Gateway that Intel is developing will become invaluable.
Wearables to Smart Clothing
We’ll be looking forward to the release of the Apple Watch to see if it can create a bigger Wearable craze than we had this year. In 2015, we’ll see an increasing number of jackets and other items that have technology built in. The question in my mind is how well wearable technology will hold up to cleaning. The problem with the watches is the displays are generally too small to do what the folks that make them seem to think they should. Growing the size, particularly for folks with small wrists is going to be problematic.
With all of this new tech, one thing for sure is that we are going to be wired and privacy will be something that the children of tomorrow will look at like we look at unicorns today—completely fictional. Drones hitting planes, texting appliances, and clothing that is smarter than I am. Suddenly, good old 2014 is looking a lot better to me. Hope you all have a very Happy New Year!
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
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