Archive for December, 2006

Tech Trends to Watch in 2007

December 31, 2006

2006 has been an exciting year.

Some key developments have been the Vista business launch, Java SE 6, Internet TV as per YouTube, white hot MP3 Player market, AJAX’d web apps, sleek new Smartphones, and cool new game consoles.

Rather than dwell on the past, here’s my list of Fifteen Tech Trends to Watch in 2007.

1. Low Cost High Speed Ubiquitous Wireless Connectivity

I just purchased Cingular’s 8525 Smartphone and went with the the $40 per month unlimited data plan. Its a great phone but the $40 buck per month data plan is a lifestyle changer. I’m addicted to being wired 24/7 now. The 8525 has a Tri-band UMTS / HSDPA radio and a Quad-band GSM®/GPRS/EDGE worldphone radio. Without getting into the 3G alphabet soup the following table may help explain the different mobile and wireless technologies.

# Technology Base Standard Network
(max Mbps)
1 GPRS TDMA and GSM 2.5G Mobile .040 21 miles  
2 EDGE EDGE / EGPRS 2.75G Mobile .384    
3 EVDO Rev A CDMA2000 / IS-95 3G Mobile 2.500    
4 EVDO Rev B (future) CDMA2000 / IS-95 3G Mobile 4.900    
5 HSDPA WCDMA / 3GPP 3G Mobile 3.600    
6 HSDPA (future) WCDMA / 3GPP 3G Mobile 14.400    
7 UMTS WCDMA / 3GPP 3G Mobile 3.600 1 mile 850/1900 MHz
8 UMTS (future) WCDMA / 3GPP 3.5G Mobile 11.000 1 mile 850/1900 MHz
9 Wi-Fi 802.11a Wireless 54.000 300 ft 5 Ghz
10 Wi-Fi 802.11b Wireless 11.000 300 ft 2.4 Ghz
11 Wi-Fi 802.11g Wireless 54.000 300 ft 2.4 Ghz
12 WiMAX 802.16e Wireless 30.000 1-3 miles 2.6 Ghz
13 WiMAX 802.16a Wireless 70.000 3-5 miles 11 Ghz
14 WiMAX 802.16d Wireless 75.000 4-6 miles 11 Ghz

The cool part of the 8525 is that it may eventally get the ability to switch between 3G and Wifi services on the fly. So if you’re on the phone using UMTS and you walk into a Starbucks with Wifi, the phone will switch to the lower cost higher capacity VOIP via WiFi connection.

This new type of adaptive network capability will be a catalyst for a flood of new types of SW apps. We just need to get Cingular’s monthly cost to come down to $15 bucks to fend off the ghastly digital divide.

2. Declarative Programming

The declarative programming wave has been building ever since the advent of rules engines and XSLT. Declarative programming is the alternative to old school imperative programming.

Microsoft’s new .Net 3.0 has a new declarative presentation layer called WPF/E that uses their new XAML spec. Java has embraced declarative programming in many ways. The new Java EJB 3.0 depends heavily on the new declarative annotations features in JDK 1.5.

Another new approach to take note of is intentional programming. I consider it a derivative of the Model Driven Architecture (MDA) effort from a few years ago. The famous Charles Simonyi is pioneering the effort.

3. Apple "iPhone"

There is much speculation about Apple’s rumored iPhone. As overly reported, Cisco launched a VOIP phone called iPhone recently so Apple can’t use the name iPhone or iFone. Apple will use other names like iMobile, iCell or MacPhone but my guess is that the name of the Apple phone will be “iPod Phone”. In 3 years, all iPods will have 3G Cell Phone and WiFi but in the mean time, the iPod Phone will be the hot item.

4. One Billion PCs Sold

5. Multi-point UI

6. Zune Flash Player

Despite the Zune bashing in the press, I am impressed with the Zune sales forecast. The expectation is to sell 1 million units by end of June. That’s not bad for a product being on the market for just 7 months. That comes to 143,000 units per month. According to Amazon’s best seller list, and comparing it to the other 30 GB hard drive-based MP3 Players, Zune is in 4th, 7th and 8th place. In any case, I expect to hear announcements of a Zune Flash player that will compete with iPod’s Nano within the next 6 months.

7. Low Cost GPS Services

8. Federated Identity

Microsoft Cardspace (formerly InfoCard) and Identity 2.0 will start to bring user-centric federated identity to the masses.

9. Object Mapping

Microsoft’s new language integrated query (LINQ) may spark new interest in the OR mapping space.

10. Terabyte Disk Drives

2007 should be the year of the Terabyte disk drive. Having one terabyte on one spindle will be a significant single point of failure risk. This will highlight the importance of having adequate RAID and backup services. The largest hard drive available to date is a 750GB barracuda drive from Seagate.

11. Microsoft’s new Home Server

Home Server will be used to control everything in the home (e.g., lights, thermostats, entertainment, phone, windows, washing machine, kitchen appliances, garage door, car, etc.).

12. Team Foundation Server (TFS)

TFS will gain some traction this year.

13. Virtualization

Virtual OS’s will be important this year too. OS X 10.5 (leopard), Vista Server and Solaris 10 have added virtualization to the OS.

14. Automotive PCs

15. Some Adoption of 64-bit desktop apps

I expect to see interest in 64-bit versions of the resource intensive apps (e.g., video compressors, video editors, CAD, CAM, CAE, Mathematica, etc.). Both AMD and Intel have compelling 64-bit processors now. A 64-bit MacBook Pro and this Dell Inspiron 1501 may start the 64-bit desktop revolution.