Predictions for 2010

Last year I made 11 predictions, some of which (in my opinion) came true in 2009.

Here are my predictions for 2010

1.  Tablet/Slate Form Factors will Finally Stick:  Apple’s tablet, combined with the Microsoft Courier, will mark 2010 as the year that the slate stuck.  I think one of the biggest reasons this will finally become reality is the fact that I think the industry has finally realized you can’t simply run Windows or OSx natively on a slate computer without completely revamping the user experience, embracing the fact we’ll be using fingers, not mice, to navigate.  Apple will be the primary catalyst behind this.

2.  Lean Software Engineering will become a first class citizen.  I actually think that Kanban will become the catalyst for this.  While the software community learns more about Kanban they will learn more of Lean in general through osmosis and realize “damn, why haven’t we been thinking this way from the start?”  The economic realities of the 09’s will also resonate through 2010 – and core Lean concepts such as “reduce waste” will resonate and promote Lean the same way it did during the 70’s economic crisis.

3.  User Experience Abounding:  After spending the last year working on pushing the way users interact with Internet based software, I believe this trend will increase dramatically.  Silverlight 4 is a huge step and I believe that businesses will now be considering it, rather than perhaps more traditional ASP.NET pages, to deliver a rich user experience both inside and outside of the organization.

4.  Windows Mobile will merge with XBox and Zune to better embrace the consumer market.  I used to be a die hard Windows Mobile user until the iPhone changed the way I use my phone.  I’m looking forward to using the new Google phone as well, and I expect that Microsoft will come out with guns blazing with their own phone that will have just a big an impact.

5.  AppStores Everywhere:  We have all realized that it is rarely a good idea to develop web solutions for mobile devices.  The solution, of course, are custom developed apps on each platform.  For example, for Facebook I can install an app for the iPhone and Android that best matches the form factor of the device.  The AppStore concept will spread from mobile devices, but to traditional hardware platforms as well.

6.  Travel Headaches will spark further collaboration technology:  Face it.. travelling sucks these days.  No carryons, full body scans, aggressive personal body searches, arriving 3 hours before your 2 hour flight.  Baggage claim nightmares.  AHHH.  From a business perspective, I know that I’ll be looking for a better way to collaborate with customers and teams without needing to fly.  LiveMeeting, GotoMeeting, Oovoo, Messenger, etc.. we’re not where we need to be yet, however, I believe in 2010 there will emerge a much more natural way to collaborate beyond what we have today (perhaps this is a want more than a prediction)

7.  SharePoint 2010 will have explosive adoption.  There are many reasons for this, however, primarily I think economic realities will drive most of the adoption.  From a platform perspective, 2010 is a healthy leap compared to 2007.  Organizations will look to this platform to build more and more line of business solutions – using the newer and more expressive views and methods of capturing and rendering data in 2010.  Instead of spending months developing .NET software, organizations will spend weeks producing similar solutions.  SharePoint 2010 will also drag adoption of Office 2010, simply due to the SharePoint Offline Client (about time!!)

8.  There will be a SharePoint AppStore:  I’m sure of it.  Dozens of small shops will start developing line of business apps that Microsoft will provide an online shopping experience for (yes, this is all speculation here).  You’re going to think to yourself “I need a SharePoint solution for managing HR reviews..” and there will be an app for it on the SharePoint AppStore – solutions will go for $99 on average.

9. 3D TV’s will be all the rage.  People will come out of Avatar and go “crap.. I now need a 3D TV so that I can buy the BlueRay version.”

10.  XBox Natal will be a huge hit.  Wax on, Wax off.  Look Mom, No hands.. this will happen around XMas, and Microsoft won’t be able to keep up with demands.  With Natal will come Natal Ripped, a new exercise game for the XBox to rival Wii fit – it will be marketed as “a more natural way to exercise.”

11.  Hardware will excite:  2010 will introduce a new wave of processing power that will significantly improve power consumption and performance.  Solid State storage will be everywhere.. by the end of the year we’ll be saying “remember when we had hard drives with things that spun inside them” – my children will be laughing at how old I am for even remembering that.  More optical technology will be introduced gradually into consumer products as well.   Hardware form factors will be diverse.  I don’t know about you.. but after watching Avatar, and the types of computers and user interfaces they were using in the future (well done by the way), I think we have a new set of standards to shoot for compared to the Star Trek future which we actually have, for the most part, today.

12.  Visual Studio Adoption will be rapid and begin in earnest by the end of the year.  Team Foundation Server will also have a huge degree of penetration.. the testing tools and modeling tools will be well accepted.  There will be a Silverlight 4.5 by the end of the year as well.  The ISV community will rally around this release with their own extensions, tools, and controls – and the ecosystem will be alive with innovation and competition.

13.  In-Vehicle user experience will dramatically shift.  Today, Microsoft is really the only “big” vendor doing cool stuff inside of vehicles… I predict that this will increase this year – other vendors will want to get into the game – all realizing that there are millions of vehicles on the road the collectively make up a completely untapped market.  What will be really cool, is if older vehicles could easily be retrofitted with this new in-vehicle technology and user experience.

14.  EBooks will continue to grow in popularity – again, driven by a set of new hardware devices.  Of course, Apple wants into this game, and will be offering their own eBook store for their tablet.  I think reference books will be the most used eBook as these go out of date quickly, and are usually discarded anyway.  More popular books will still be paper – because the rights management for eBooks still isn’t mature, not to mention the kazillion file formats.

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