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4 Tech Predictions for the Next Few Years

James Bruce 21-10-2011

tech predictionsNow is an incredibly exciting time to be in technology, and it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing as soon as it’s announced; but how much of these truly change the face of computing?


I’d like to think that after being immersed daily in the technology industry for years now, I can tell when a trend has begun and generally how things are likely to pan out – so these are my personal predictions for Windows, tablets PCs, mobiles, gaming – over the course of the next few years.

I’m not a psychic though, so know that these predictions are entirely my own opinion based upon my observations.

Windows 8 Tablets and the Metro UI Will Flop

After a burst of initial interest from early-adopter consumers and a plethora of windows 8 based tablets, the Metro interface What You Can Expect To See In Windows 8 No sooner had the dust settled over the bumpy transition from Windows Vista to Windows 7, than Microsoft started fueling interest around its upcoming new operating system, codenamed Windows 8, which is expected to be... Read More will be forgotten and Windows 8 tablets will be a flop.
tech predictions
Consumers will be far more interested in iPads and the Kindle Fire. Without consumer confidence, the developers just won’t make the apps and the entire Metro UI will fizzle out.

technology predictions

As desktop OS, the upgrade to Windows 8 will be inevitable – but for the speed increases rather than specifically for the Metro interface. Just as OSX’s frontrow was eventually abandoned, and the original Vista desktop widgets are all but forgotten, so will be the way of the Metro interface. Without a solid user base on the tablet side to familiarize users, they won’t even consider it for the desktop.


Android Tablets Market Share falls further, but Amazon Kindle Fire thrives

I already wrote last week about why the iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, and at some point the majority of Android tablet manufacturers will just get out of the game altogether, leaving a few key players and a dedicated user base.

iOS5 7 Amazing New Features You Can Expect to See in iOS 5 The iPhone and iPad are still the leading devices in the mobile and tablet market, and with the announcement of the next major version of the iOS, I see no end to their dominance. Let's... Read More with it’s free rich-media messaging (iMessage app) is going to be a big factor here – it may not be particularly unique and it certainly isn’t innovative (Blackberry has had free private messaging for ages) – but it does tie together the phone and tablet and integrates it into core functionality.

technology predictions

Amongst all this, the Kindle Fire will thrive 4 Reasons Amazon’s Kindle Tablet Could Kick Butt Rumor has it that Amazon is preparing a Kindle tablet that should launch by the end of the year. This is exciting new for the tablet market, as it’s been dominated by the Apple iPad... Read More , with the Android app store and Amazon’s media offerings backing it up. With custom branding though, it does nothing to aid the Android ecosystem as a whole – most users won’t even know it’s actually running Android. This steals a large portion of the market as a whole away from ‘officially’ branded Android tablets.


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Long term equal share for iOS and Android in smartphones

In the short-term, I believe the release of the iPhone 4S and subsequent price drops of the 3GS and iPhone 4 will give Apple a significant boost of the overall phone market – especially with some providers offering a free 3GS to new contracts; but in the longer term Android handsets will regain their momentum, leaving a overall equal share for both iOS and Android in the smart phone market as a whole.

What about Siri? I’m in two minds about that, and until I’ve had a chance to play with it myself I think I’ll reserve judgement. Android already has a native speech input SDK and voice search, but it remains to be seen if this whole voice control thing is simply a fad, or truly the next revolution in mobile technology.

tech predictions for 2012


The losers? Blackberry, of course; and Windows-based handsets will continue to be the butt of tech jokes. The share of non-smartphones will continue to decrease – but that’s not so much an opinionated prediction as just a natural progression of technology. To be specific – I may finally see my dad with an iPhone instead of an old Nokia brick (if only because I’ll break it on purpose).

Nintendo Announces Disappointing Wii U Sales, Followed By A Move To Software Only

A while back I took a pretty critical view of the Wii U Is The Wii All It’s Cracked Up To Be Or Has Nintendo Lost The Plot? [Opinion] The Wii was a ground-breaking device when it was released in 2006, and there is no doubt that it paved the way for motion gaming and indeed bringing together every generation of a family for... Read More , and I stand by it. Hardcore Wii gamers will upgrade for the HD graphics but be relatively nonplussed by the controller, while home users will have trouble justifying the new screen-on-a-controller feature and couldn’t care less about HD graphics. The Wii sold because it was incredibly innovative at the time, and opened casual console gaming to whole family. I simply don’t think HD graphics or a tacky new controller is going to do it for the current user base though, especially not if Microsoft can continue to pull 5-star family games out of it’s magical Kinect hat.

tech predictions for 2012

The next dashboard update for Xbox360 is going to make it an even more compelling home-entertainment system with services from various online streaming services and live TV (even in the UK with LoveFilm and the BBC), so I firmly believe that with further price cuts the Xbox becomes a far more attractive choice for families looking to replace their current generation Wii. As soon as the Wii U is released, Microsoft will attempt to drown the excitement by announcing the Xbox720.


tech predictions for 2012

Where is Sony in all this? Who knows! The PlayStation 3 still has a long life ahead of it yet, so I doubt they’ll be any new announcement or innovations from them. Business as usual – assuming their customers haven’t left in disgust from having their personal details leaked The Sony Playstation Network Hack [Infographic] It's not been a good time for Sony's Public Relations in the past few months with not only one but two breaches of their Playstation Network, and they didn't exactly help their cause when they... Read More on numerous occasions.

Dedicated portable console gaming hardware will disappear. After failing to excite the world with gimmicky 3D on the DS, it’s clear that consumers would much rather play affordable games on their mobile phones and tablets; the idea of purchasing a $50 cartridge game just doesn’t work anymore.

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So after an initial excitement for the Wii U, I predict the sales simply won’t be there, and by late 2013 – Nintendo will capitulate to the whim of its shareholders by committing to produce only software.

Thanks for reading this far. You’re absolutely welcome to disagree, so I’d encourage you to post your own counter-predictions in the comments, along with why you think that way. Let’s leave the name calling and insults out of the comments though, at least until next year when I’ll be happy to write a follow-up so we can all look back and laugh at my madness!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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  1. Tim Brookes
    December 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    How did I miss this one! Fun article James. Of course you know you're wrong* don't you?

    *I'm not going to disclose which part is "wrong" as we're friends and I wouldn't want to, ahem, hurt your feelings and all that ;)

  2. ptsuk
    October 23, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Are you kidding me? 

    iOS and Android equal market share? Hardly! Android is already eating apples lunch and will continue to do so.  Your also going to see the same play by play from Android Tablets are you saw with the Android Phones, many options, many price points, for any lifestyles.  Android will dominate on sheer number alone, just like pc's did/do with apple to this day.  Apple will have 2 models Ipad and Iphone  where as Android will have a plethora of models, pricepoints, etc.  Unless you're a absolute "fanboi" of apple blinded by the cult creedo then you're not a very good predictor.  As for the wii-u  it'll get the same attention that it did at its announcement and then drop off the face of the earth until someone mentions it in an article like this one.  The wii was somewhat revolutionary and the other kids had to play catch up, now the with the microsoft backing the kinetic and its changes to a "more wii like interface" its eating ninteno's lunch and the poor ps3 will go by the wayside as they don't have the best hardware or gametitles to compete, not to mention security breaches left and right.

    as for window 8, i think the jury is out and will be out until word of mouth gets out there, vista wasn't a bad system and was a better upgrade from xp, windows 7 is a must if you're running a pc these days as its pretty solid, but if windows 8 changes everything topsy turvy people will hate it and it'll fail.  I've played with some windows phones which use a similar interface and its nice but I prefer the android OS.  As far as OS's the ones that will be something to watch are the "free" linux flavors as they're going to be adopted by many who want lowcost and able to run on any platform.

    • muotechguy
      October 24, 2011 at 7:54 am

      Well, thats an alternative view of the market, but one that I dont personally think will play out. That same variety of handsets and price points (and power) is one reason developers hate Android. Add to that the fact that all these different manufacturers tend to put  their own little spin on the OS, fragmenting user experience even more - so android users looking to get a new phone may have nothing familiar. With Apple, you have  two display formats, an easily specifiable minimum requirements (ie, iphone 4+ only), and a unified UI across all standard apps and the iOS itself. Throw in a few high profile Android hacking / malware cases and the sentiment to android will change. As I said, I also think the free price point of a 3GS on contract will be a big pull for many consumers who just dont care about the OS. And just look at the reception the iPhone 4S with Siri has garnered (breaking launch sales records, again), and that isn't even the iPhone 5... 

      You can label me a fanboy if that's helps you to discredit everything I say, but I think that's just an excuse, and one could just as easily label you an Android fanboy. I'm not going to though, because it doesn't help. Let's wait and see eh. 

      The rest of your comments I think we're pretty much agreed on, actually, though perhaps you're being a little hard on the PS3. I dont own one myself yet, but if they can push the 3D it'll appeal to me personally. It's still the most powerful console out there so there's a lot they *could* do with it, though whether they will is another question. 

  3. Devildog_31
    October 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Ooh, you got me with with your clever sarcasm! Is that the best response you could come up with? Maybe you should actually READ what I said. What devices did iOS and Android release on? That's right, smart phones, which the OS's were developed for. How long did it take for real tablets using these OS's to show up? And how much did these OS's have to be changed to really be viable on those tablets? You claim to be a tech journalist, but you sure don't seem very good at it. The majority of your articles on this site are usually just Apple fan-boy tripe, based on your clearly biased, personal opinions. In the future, I'll be sure to ignore anything posted by you as you clearly can't see past your Apple bias. 

    • muotechguy
      October 24, 2011 at 7:42 am

      I read everything you said Devildog. Perhaps if you refrain from calling people idiots who are "sitting on apples dick" next time, you might get a more full response.

    • pankajsingh
      November 5, 2011 at 2:20 am

      @ Devildog: umm, so what's wrong with you? I definitely can diagnose, so do come over for a few sessions of psychotherapy. Get some help, before you have full blown 'Idiot with a Big Mouth" syndrome.

      On the other hand, quite a fun article, Mr. Bruce.

  4. Devildog_31
    October 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    All I can say is, James Bruce, you are a complete idiot and have absolutely no clue of what you are talking about. Perhaps you should get off of Apple's dick? Windows 8 will be a huge success for the tablet market. You want to know why?  Because it was actually designed for it, unlike Android or iOS. And Android is going to gain share in the tablet market. Also, big surprise here (not) but Android will continue to grow in market share, WP7 (and soon, WP8) will start catching up and Apple will be left with suing anyone and everyone to make up the difference. And lastly, Nintendo isn't going anywhere. Although I don't feel the Wii-U will be a huge success, it will do well enough on reputation alone. I honestly wonder if you even have a clue about anything that goes on in the tech industry after making this lame ass excuse for predictions. 

    • Sounds Reasonable
      October 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm

      Look at recent history:

      Microsoft only has Enterprise as a solid niche, and we saw how well that angle worked out at RIM and HP. And Enterprise is primarily interested in security -- for better or worse, iPad and kindle fire are locked down in such a way that makes it attractive for both IT administrators and casual users. And i remember reading about the forthcoming dominance of WP7 and way back when MS was making feature phones and PDAs. Still waiting for them to actually make a dent in mobile. Or launch a tablet successfully ever.

      And everyone sues everyone. People are just offended at Apple because the design they made ubiquitous seems so natural that it's ridiculous to take action. Welcome to corporate strategy.

      As far as iOS vs. Android, I wouldn't be surprised if the latter dominated market share when you can get and android device for $50. The fragmentation of support will hurt though, and isn't attractive for developers, developers, developers... which will make iOS strong competitor for a long, long time. The Fire is a special case, at it's price point and as flagship of the Amazon ecosystem.

      I do agree that Nintendos bounced back too many times to count them out just yet. But the 3Ds is failing and wii u is a joke. But you should be excited as a Microsoft fan that they have such an advantage in console gaming. I personally predict a combo console/htpc machine in the next year or so.

      Everyone in tech has their strengths and weaknesses. Apple TV is a joke. Zune, RIP in mobile heaven with psp go and Nintendos line up. iPhone is the best phone on the market, unless you think specs are better than functionality, or the jailbreak dev community is a myth and most Android users are really into tweaking and didn't just get "the thing that works like an iPhone but cheaper".

      Fanboys will be fanboys. It's funny, I own an HP which is running Ubuntu instead of W7, an overheating MacBook Pro still on leopard that I don't even feel like investing in upgrades, a Nexus running CM7 that has only been a timesink instead of boosting productivity, modified wii, nds and psp that are only fun as emulators, an old 360 collecting dust and a slim PS3 as a gloried BluRay player collecting my personal information. None of those things are as pleasant and fun to use as my year old iPad, which is single tasking wonder but has pathetic memory. But tech is my hobby, so I'm willing to spend the cash and time. But I also realize that these are essentially soulless corporations, so crying about bias like any of this stuff really matter is pointless to me.

      • James Bruce
        October 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

        Lol on Apple TV, I hadn't even thought about that one. Thanks for the comment though, lots of reasonable predictions in there. Sentiment seems to be from everyone that I was a bit premature on counting Nintendo out of the game.

        Epic console / HTPC will be a definite win for the Xbox - do you think that will be a new console though, or can will xbox360 become that? 

    • James Bruce
      October 22, 2011 at 10:04 am

      iOS and Android not designed for a tablet eh? Interesting! Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful input Devildog...

  5. sirroman
    October 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I'm not that much sold about your first prediction, the second and third are ok, but I bet against your fourth prediction.

    Nintendo survived Gamecube, bet right with Wii and numbers of 3DS aren't low enough to discard it in the mobile front. Besides... "by late 2013"? WTH? Are you seriously out of your mind? Nintendo will "give up" in the EARLIEST time frame for the launch of a competitor?

    • James Bruce
      October 22, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Yes, I think that was a bit hasty on reflection. They have an awful lot of cash lying around to just ride out through any rough patches, so even if the 3DS and Wii U do turn out to be complete flops, they wont make any rash moves until a good few years yet. 

  6. Hasseo
    October 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    1) Hmm, I actually think Microsoft was right with switching to a MetroUI as it creates an interesting computing system for a sort of "Transformer"-type tablet. Theoretically, it COULD make a tablet/dock hybrid most people's primary machine. ... that's if it's 1) thoroughly tested for bugs, 2) has enough hype out of the gate, and 3) is put on good hardware (*cough* WebOS.)

    2) Well, I agree with this assuming Android tablet prices stay the same. If they drop to $300 for a high quality tablet and an iPad stays the same, people *might* jump ship to Android. I haven't really played around with Honeycomb that much, but, from looking at it, it needs some minor improvements to become a good tablet OS. Oh yeah, and this depends whether someone starts developing WebOS and how good Windows 8 is (which I hope that WebOS is sucked up by someone who can make GOOD products.)

    3) I think in five years the cellphone market will look like this: Android > iOS > Windows 7 Phone (in terms of market share), but Windows 7 Phone will catch up within a few years after that. Though Android will reign supreme seeing as it's available on a lot of devices.

    4) It's time for Nintendo to move on and start developing stuff for iOS and Android along with some adaptors to use along with it. That's where the market is, not so much handheld game consoles that aren't phones/iPod Touches.

    • James Bruce
      October 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

      I agree, Metro UI has the *potential* to combine both worlds of tablet and general computing. I just dont think it will, ultimately. The theory is good though. 

      As for tablets, agreed. It's difficult to go into many "what if" scenarios due to word limits, but yes - IF a decent android tablet at a good market price could exist, it will certainly make a dent in iPad sales. Kindle will fill that hole for many I think, muscling out any chance for other manufacturers. 

  7. mick register
    October 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    My thoughts for Nintendo's launch process;
    1. Launch the Wii-u
    2. Announce a new DS system, but without the DS name. It will be 'new' and boast the capabilities of both the Wii-U and the 3ds.
    3. Forget the Wii-U entirely, it made a little bit of money and was abandoned.

    For X-box, I can't wait for new stuff!I am hardcore X-Box all the way!

    PS3: 0.o Nothing, really? I agree though...

    • James Bruce
      October 22, 2011 at 9:55 am

      That sounds like a pretty good summary of the nintendo action plan. 

      As for Playstation, I know. I wish I could predict something there, but I just don't see anything new on the horizon barring rumors of a long term nextgen console. 

      Although, I do think 3D is going to play a big part in Playstations future next year. I'm actually considering getting one for the new 3d motorstorm, as gaming in 3d on the xbox has been a little disappointing so far - just a tad underpowered making modern warfare unplayable in 3d mode.