2013 Predictions Scorecard

I made some predictions for 2013 just about a year ago. Let’s take a look and see how I did…

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Nearly every technology website I know of or frequent takes a stab at tech predictions for the New Year.  Some try to be bold. Some stay close to reality.  I tend to lean that way, myself. If I’m going to put myself out there, I’d rather analyze the trends and use that as a basis to make predictions from.  As such, I have been no different over the years. I try to prognosticate around those trends and then put it out there. However, like most of the other sites, I often fail to go back and see how I did.  Did I get it right?  How accurate was I?  Was I even close??

Well, this year, I found LAST year’s predictions and I’m gonna run through them quickly and then grade myself on how well I did. I had 5 predictions last year (6 with a bonus gaze into the crystal ball…) and I’m going to give myself a max of 2 points per prediction depending on how right, or (more likely) how close I was to what actually transpired.  I’m using a 2 point system simply because it’s easier to grade myself that way. I don’t want to make this too complicated.  Let’s dive in and see how things went.

  1. BB10 Fails – I get 2 points here. BB10 made its debut and quickly went…nowhere. The OS was so poorly received that it caused a major issue for the company. Blackberry (still RIM to many people at the beginning of 2013) reported a loss of over $4B USD last quarter of the year, as well as a CEO switch. Blackberry’s outlook for 2014 doesn’t look any brighter, either.  They’ve farmed the manufacturing of devices out to FoxConn in China and are instead going to concentrate on the OS. This may prove to be a challenge for Blackberry, as they’ve let a great many of their development staff go.  Retaining current or acquiring new development resources is going to be a challenge for them, as I’m not entirely certain they are a safe bet going forward.
  2. RIM Declines, is Purchased by Dell or Microsoft  I get 1 point here.  The company did tank, and they were nearly purchased; but it wasn’t by either Dell or Microsoft.  Blackberry has decided to focus on their enterprise customer base, but unfortunately, I was right about many enterprise users seeing that Blackberry doesn’t have the exclusive lock on Push that it did back in the day.  As such, enterprise users have a wide variety of choices available to them when it comes to mobile messaging.  I think those customers would be smart to bypass Blackberry and choose one of the other options. Getting in too deep with Blackberry could be problematic at this point. I don’t see them sticking around much longer…
  3.  Microsoft Surface RT Products Don’t Survive 2013  I am going to give myself 1 point here. Again, I was close, but it didn’t quite happen the way that I thought it would.  Microsoft took a $900M charge in 2013 , fired Ballmer, totally reorged the company and killed the Windows RT brand, in large part due to the issues and problems with Surface and Windows 8.  However, Microsoft, instead of killing the product line and marching on with something else, has decided to respin Surface, and made very quiet, but strategically sound, partnerships with organizations like the NFL and CBS.  If you watched the NFL Wild Card playoff games on CBS, you’ll notice that each NFL analyst had a Microsoft Surface 2/Surface 2 Pro device, with Type Cover, sitting in front of them.  That, along with the strong 2013 Holiday sales that Surface 2/ Surface 2 Pro enjoyed, may just have saved the product line – and Microsoft for that matter – from an early demise.
  4. Windows 8 is Declared a flop  Yeah… unfortunately, I get 2 points here. Windows 8 is a total disaster; and despite the success that Surface 2/ Surface 2 Pro enjoyed over the 2013 Holiday Sales Season, Microsoft has very quietly admitted defeat with Windows 8. They brought back the Start Button, and gave users the ability to boot straight to the desktop; but that wasn’t enough for most users who are too entrenched into the Aero way of life. Microsoft killed the Windows RT brand and has announced that it will bring back the Start Menu (to what degree remains unknown as of this writing) in what is being currently called Windows 8.1 Update 1, sometime in the Spring of 2014.
  5. No Public Jailbreak of iOS 6 will be Released  Yeah… I blew this one. Before I upgraded my iPhone from iOS 6.x, I jail broke it for, like all of 27 seconds. I quickly put it back, because Cydia and its contents are a hot mess, and there really isn’t anything that I could find from the alternative software store that I wanted or felt safe installing on my iDevice.  However, a public jailbreak for iOS 6.x did get released. It took a while; but it happened.
  6. Competition between Apple & Samsung heats up with Revamped Apple TV  I don’t get any extra credit, either. I really thought that Apple would release the iTV, or what ever it would have been called, last year. Unfortunately, I’m leaving this prediction in the past. I don’t see this happening any time soon, as there are a number of content provider issues that must first be ironed out before this hits the market with any real success, and unfortunately, I really just don’t see those deals getting done.

At the end of the day (or year) I scored 6/10, or 60%.  That’s not too bad…its better than some of the other prediction recaps I saw or listened to in the past week or so.  How did you do?  Did you make any tech predictions last year?  Did they come true/were you accurate?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments, below. Why not weigh in and tell us how YOU did?

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Can Lean Back Devices be used for Lean Forward Activities

…or can you really do that with a tablet??

6a0120a805e490970b01538e1c68a3970bI saw an interesting article by Preston Gralla the other day about how productivity boosting tablets were the gift worth giving this year. Preston sites three in his article – one Android (the Nexus 7) and two Windows Pro (Surface Pro 2 and the new Dell Venue 8 Pro). The bent of Preston’s article is that while there’s a great deal of convenience and multimedia capability built into these, they also contain a great deal of productivity power, providing the user with a well-rounded computing experience.

In his mind, this combination of lean back form factor and lean forward productivity is what makes these types of devices a sure winner. Preston has a point, but I’m not entirely convinced. I think it’s this mixing of features and form factor that are causing problems for these devices.

Tablets were originally (re)introduced as relaxation, or lean back, devices that provided basic, essential computing power in a highly portable, light weight, performance minded form factor. They were small enough to take and use nearly everywhere from the bathroom to the beach; and they got you on the internet, reading and answering email and posting to your favorite social networks without requiring a lot of bulky, computing hardware. They did just enough just about everywhere, and that’s what made them successful. Taking the lean back out of the tablet has changed the dynamic of the device.

BYOD or Bring Your Own Device was a movement that BYTE tried to address between July 2011 and April 2013 over at InformationWeek.com I wrote many BYOD focused articles there and you can still find many of the articles I wrote here. The entire house of cards starts to crumble the moment you try to bring your iPad to work. I know, I tried to do it for 3 or more years. Part of what I wanted to do on the iPad – hand written notes – really doesn’t work well, due to the type of digitizer and touch screen the tablet uses. To this day, handwritten notes aren’t easy, despite the advances in processor, memory, etc.

I have found that both iOS and Android, while capable of running productivity apps, are more suited to handling content consumption focused activities. In other words, while possible, both mobile OS’ are really better at running entertainment software – audio and video players, book reading software, game play, etc. again, even with the enhanced hardware they’ve received over the past few years.

When you put a more productivity based OS on a tablet as well as add a keyboard, you get devices like the Surface/ Surface 2 series type devices that have more in common with an ultrabook or notebook PC than they do a tablet. While this has a bit to do with hardware, its really more pointed at the OS. Windows 8 is more suited towards full-blown productivity apps than entertainment software, though they also do exist on the platform.

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Interestingly enough, my son-in-law recently received a Toshiba Satellite Click 2-in-1 13.3″ Touch-Screen Laptop for his birthday from my daughter. The device comes with a detachable keyboard and Windows 8.1 Pro. He is using it as a productivity machine for school. I recently asked him how often he had used it as a tablet. He hasn’t. Not once.

He said while he can use the device in tablet mode, the device works better as a notebook. When I pressed him for an explanation, it was clear to him that Windows 8.1, despite its live tiles and ModernUI interface, is more of a familiar notebook OS than a tablet OS. Office works better while using the attached keyboard than the on-screen keyboard. Computing in general, worked better with the attached keyboard; touch pad and extended battery than simply with the tablet. So, he is clearly leaning forward rather than relaxing and leaning back with it. He also hasn’t used it as an entertainment device – i.e. to watch movies, listen to music or to read eBooks – though he can do all those things quite easily with the device.

I’m finding that is exactly the case with the Dell Latitude 10-ST2 Windows 8 Pro Tablet. Its all productivity and very impractical as an entertainment device.

You’re likely going to hear a great deal of advertising this Holiday Shopping Season on how Windows 8.x tablets are the perfect combination of lean back and lean forward – entertainment and productivity – devices. In most of the cases I’ve seen and in my personal experience, it just doesn’t work out that way.

The potential for having both in a single device is great. If it works out for you, you can obviously save a great deal of money. However, I’ve noticed that most people don’t actually take advantage of both in a single device. Their device gets “mentally tagged” with a single or main purpose, and using the device for something else violates that tag.

I’ve seen people do that with a number of things – cars, pens, clothing, AND computers. Its not that you can’t drive the sports car to the office, its that you’re saving it for the fun times. As a child, I had school clothes and play clothes. You didn’t mix the two; and I suspect that with many people, whether they do it intentionally or not, they aren’t going to be able to put a ton of movies and music on their work machines. Let’s forget about how most enterprise admins frown on stuff like that and just say that you probably aren’t going to want to give up all the space you might need for documents, spreadsheets and presentations to MP3’s and videos.

In the end, it’s a metal paradigm that I think many people won’t accept. Its not because they can’t, but because for them, the whole idea just doesn’t fit well.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the discussion below.

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New line of Dell products for 2011

Dell introduced an expanded consumer portfolio featuring next-generation 4G capable devices and high-definition 3D-capable laptops that deliver the ultimate in mobility, entertainment and gaming experiences for just about everyone.

The new products include:

  • Streak 7, Dell’s first 4G tablet on T-Mobile’s blazing fast new 4G network;
  • Venue, Dell’s new unlocked GSM Google Android 2.2 smartphone;
  • A new XPS-branded laptop with full-resolution 3D screen; and
  • New Alienware 3D capable gaming systems

In addition to the distinctive new solutions, Dell today announced it is extending its innovative Dell Stage software interface across its entire consumer product portfolio. The move provides a unified experience across Dell’s consumer PC mobile devices and makes it easier to access and share music, movies and photos. Dell also announced it is significantly expanding its popular Mobility Hub on Dell.com, which lets people find the perfect mobile product for their lifestyle.

Dell Streak 7: Gather Around the Family Tablet
The new Dell Streak 7 with Android 2.2 is Dell’s first 4G tablet to take full advantage of T-Mobile’s 4G network, the nation’s largest. With T-Mobile’s 4G connectivity and the Dell Stage user experience, the Streak 7 is the ultimate social-networking and entertainment hub for families with kids and students, putting your favorite friends, music and movies front and center.

Venue: Your Personal Express Lane to, Well, Everything
The Venue with Android 2.2 is the perfect one-touch, unlocked GSM smartphone providing instant access to everything you love. With its pre-loaded Stage software and 8-megapixel camera, on-the-go students, mobile professionals and active social networkers can quickly capture and share life’s moments with just about anyone.

Dell.com Mobility Hub: Your Mobile Super Store
Adding to its ever-expanding selection of mobility products, services and accessories, Dell today also announced its popular Dell.com Mobility Hub now offers a wide array of mobility products from popular manufacturers, including Dell’s own solutions. The enhanced hub – redesigned to offer a better shopping and activation experience – offers Microsoft Windows Phone 7, Android and Blackberry products. All devices from the store now arrive ‘ready to use.’

XPS Laptop with HD 3D: Unrivaled Dimensions in Entertainment
Dell is taking the XPS brand and mobile entertainment to new heights with a new 17-inch laptop featuring an eye-popping, adrenaline-producing, high-definition 3D display (3D viewing requires NVIDIA NVision 3D glasses, sold separately). The new 3D capable XPS 17 joins Dell’s recently introduced line of XPS laptops featuring booming JBL sound, an integrated subwoofer and crystal clear high-definition screens and, of course, HD video streaming with Skype for the ultimate in HD camming.

For Every ‘Stage’ of Your Life: Instant Access to Content across All Devices
Recognizing that PCs, tablets and smartphones are rapidly becoming the platform of choice for entertainment, Dell today announced it is extending its popular Dell Stage software across the company’s consumer portfolio. The move gives people simpler, faster access to their favorite content – from music, to movies to TV shows. Dell Stage also makes it easier to access and share photos, home movies and more across social communities like Flickr and Facebook.

Extreme Gaming that Pushes the Limits
Alienware, Dell’s premium high-performance PC gaming brand, is continuing its universal domination with sizzling new additions that take extreme gaming to new heights and ratchet up the hottest gaming system lineup in the industry.

The new M17x is Alienware’s first 3D-capable gaming laptop, offering a realistic, lifelike, mobile gaming experience in a 17-inch display (3D capability requires optional 120Hz w/3D Bundle WideFHD WLED LCD display and NVIDIA graphics card). With its available full HD 120Hz 3D display, the new M17x offers eye-popping stereoscopic viewing for today’s most realistic gaming and mind-blowing 3D Blu-ray movie experiences.

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