2011 – Predictions

I can’t believe that we’re already into November (still depressingly far away from payday though) and the end of the year is around the corner!

Well that means it’s time again to look forward to the new year.

  • Tablet Wars – It started (or should we say rebooted) with the iPad in April. I always marvel at the time to market of the likes of Samsung who already have the Android based Galaxy Tab on sale. It’s a little rough around the edges – some software doesn’t work well for example. The same cannot be said for RIM and their new Playbook due out in Q1 2011 (See picture). This boasts a POSIX based OS which will enable true multi-tasking , a 5mp camera and an automatic Blackberry phone sync and a new App Store to mention a few features.

    The new Blackberry Playbook

Don’t expect Apple to rest on their laurels though – I think we will see an added camera to the 2nd generation iPad. There could be even bigger things in the pipeline from them.

Microsoft Tablet Prototype (c) Gizmodo

Then we have Google weighing in with a possible Google tablet, Steve Ballmer announcing that Microsoft is back in the tablet game (see other picture), we have the Dell Streak, HP Slate and a bunch of others coming in. So expect this then: 2011 is going to be the year of the Tablet Wars.

I think, based on the public memo by Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie, that we can see some serious focus on tablets coming from Redmond. Stylus and Multi-touch on the same device?

All in all it’s going to be a fun year for tablets and the consumer will benefit.

I think the Kimble will die a natural death though – sorry Amazon!

  • Cloud Computing – I don’t expect this to become full mainstream yet, but I do expect some fairly serious development to be done in 2011. I think that 2012 will be the year of the Cloud as providers really start to gear up and IT departments start to spend again. As we see the uptake in Mobile taking off, and believe me it will, the whole cloud discussion becomes more pertinent. I expect to see a lot more being done on private clouds, but we should see some interesting public clouds popping up as well – think news streams, weather streams, finance etc. Of course the advertisers will make sure we see their message somehow.
  • Some sneak previews from SAP? Well expect to see big things with in-memory databases. HANA (for Advanced Analytics) and some cool stuff coming out of our alliance with Sybase.

It’s the Holidays – What’s 2010 holding for us?

Since I have very little time for most “futurists” I thought I would try the whole prediction thing myself. Basically how most people do it, is they make 500 predictions in the hope that one or two will actually come to fruition. Never mind 498 were rubbish!

Well let’s look at first things first:

1. Blu-Ray Players. These will drop to below $150 in 2010 and the result will be a big adoption of the format by most people who now buy DVDs. We’re out of the early adoption phase now so I’m sure this is a safe bet. Expect to see Sony, Samsung and other smaller companies leading this charge.

2. BaselWorld will be launching a record number of new watches and expect Rolex to be amongst them. This is just good business sense – since there is at least a 6-12 lag between announcement and sales peaks in the watch world, it just makes good sense for the guys to catch the upswing by anouncing in March/April. I have a feeling that will we see something interesting in the tool watch department. Glashutte have already previewed a pocket watch for 2010.

3. Windows 7 will see a much faster adoption than any other recent MS OS. Again this isn’t rocket science as most analysts have given a big thumbs up to the new OS. Interesting to note though is that rumours will be circulated towards the end of the year (2010) about Windows 8. Apple will also launch a “Tablet” format PC and the feeling is that they may do a lot better than Microsoft with this format.

4. Of course, being an SAP employee I can’t comment on anything we might be launching. All I can say is that 2010 will make a lot of companies very pleased they chose to run SAP. Buy shares now – no really – you won’t be sorry.

5. Carbon trading, Greenhouse Gas and environmental reporting will all be hot topics in 2010, despite Copenhagen’s dissapointments. Countries and companies will see the benefits of sustainability and start to act accordingly. Lets call this the early adpoter phase.

6. GPS technology will be driving some interesting apps in 2010 and I expect to see more of the Google Latitude type of application. With a lot of cell phones using GPS these days the possibilities are boundless. Police could track a suspect vehicle or person based on Neighborhood Watch “blips” (patent pending) from GPS enabled cell phones. Traffic “blips” (patent pending) could create an accurate traffic report by pressing a “bad traffic” button on their cell phone.

7. RFID chips will be getting smaller and cheaper so I’d expect to see a better uptake of RFID technology in 2010. Can’t be sure about this though, but the benefits are huge if we can get this right.

8. Apple – I’m not the only one predicting this -will launch a radical new device to make up for a lack-luster launch year in 2009. I mean iPod nano with video – not the best thing they could have done but 2009 was a conservative year for most. Most people predict a music playing tablet. A beeeg iPod or a small tablet. This could be very interesting so we’ll be watching closely.

9. In the Home Entertainment zone – we can expect a  price drop in OLED against LCD TVs. Some are saying there will be an alignment, but I don’t think this will happen in 2010. Again I expect a faster than normal adoption for those who haven’t already gone plasma or LCD.  I’ve seen Samsung’s full HD OLED and it is VERY impressive.

Well I suppose I could go on and on, but I’ll be interested to see what happens – one thing I can tell you is that there will NOT be a computer mimicking the human brain next year, or the year after that, or for the next 50 years Mr. Kurzweil!

Have a happy Christmas and New Year folks (or whatever you celebrate) and drive and fly safely.



Windows 7 Release Candidate

Well here we are on the cusp of the official release of Windows 7. I’ve now been running W7 for quite a few months so I think I can now give a definitive but hopefully objective view on the product.

The RC runs the Ultimate version so there is a fair amount to play with. My first reaction is that it is faster and uses less memory than Vista. I’ve calculated – albeit roughly – that it uses between 10 and 30% less memory than Vista. As a result it is marginally faster. Startup time and auto connection to my wireless network is an order of magnitude faster than Vista.

So my original perceptions were correct on performance. We do have a much better OS than Vista. Over the months I’ve accumulated software as one does 😉 and the performance has slowed marginally as you would expect as I run more services.

On the compatibility side there is nothing on my Lenovo T60 that was not detected, including the fingerprint reader. In fact the fingerprint reader is even better now than the native software that came with Vista.

I’ve had one problem with a game that uses Star Force authentication. Star Force seems to give endless problems to users. I am told that UbiSoft will no longer use it on their products. This is not really a Windows complaint, but more a Star Force complaint. They have released W7 drivers, but they are picked up as “incompatible” and disabled. I run the game on my Vista desktop now without any problems.

So, in conclusion, I would heartily recommend that people on Vista upgrade to W7.
It’s faster, uses less memory, is more compatible and is more stable than Vista.

Windows 8 is rumoured to be coming out in 2012, but from what I have seen so-far it will be more along the lines of evolution not revolution. See http://windows8center.com/ for details.


Ubuntu 9.04 Tested

Well Mark (Shuttleworth that is).. I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news.
What Ubuntu tries to do is, according to the tagline, make Linux for Humans. That means that this baby needs to be almost as plug in and go ready as Windows 7. Server side Ubuntu – well that’s a different kettle of fish – let’s just talk desktop here. After all, that’s where Canonical are pitching IMHO.

Ok.. so the Good News is that Jaunty goes a long way to being a plug and play desktop system. Bear in mind that this does not cost you a cent to download and install. I loaded it on my Lenovo T60 which has 3gb RAM. It picks up everything except the fingerprint reader (Windows 7 does the same) and runs all my devices – even my plug in PCMCIA card Creative Audigy 2 sound card. Just like that, out of the box. If you want to load some software, you just have to browse the available programs and download the ones you want. And there are a ton of them. So from the point of view of making “Linux for Humans” I’m going to give MS (Mark Shuttleworth not MicroSoft) a very good 8/10.

Other plus points are an extremely easy install (although Partition Manager did kill my Windows boot sector when re-sizing the partition)
and very easy to run. Boot time is very quick (20 seconds) and the memory footprint really is tiny. The appearance is great and I love the extra features (Wobbly Windows when you grab and move) and the clean design and fonts. I must say that I am very impressed and I could have quite easily have never gone back to Windows 7.

OK, but I will and this is why. The Bad News .

I work in IT, all day, every day. The last thing I want to do when I get home is become a Linux admin. I really just want things to work. Full stop. I want my games to work, I want my personal development to work (Eclipse runs fine on Jaunty) and I want email, etc to just work. I needed to dowload the latest firmware for my Garmin which doesn’t really have a linux version, so I loaded it up using Wine (Windows emulator) – it hung – there is software around I suppose, but like I said I don’t have the time or the inclination in the evening to go looking for it, dowload it, try it, trash it, try another.

I can’t buy iTunes apps – not earth shattering I suppose, but inconvenient – they even have a petition going to Apple to re-write iTunes for Linux.

Games are crap. No really – I haven’t found any games on the Linux platform that come up to commercial standard. Open Arena keeps going to a window instead of fullscreen, which then requires you to minimize and then maximize again. A little irritating when someone is about to frag you! Other games that run in full screen do the same. Open Arena on Windows runs fine. But really compared to Crysis this game is not in the same league.

So..to conclude. Ubuntu 9.04 – Jaunty Jackelope has real potential to give the commercial platforms a run for their money. For the first time in a very long time I actually strongly considered keeping it loaded on my test laptop. If it wasn’t for the fact that I want to test Windows 7 Release Candidate  – there is a wee chance I would keep it loaded.  Well done Canonical – I think that MS (Microsoft this time) should be worried, very worried. Let’s see what the next release or two of Ubuntu bring. I will be watching in anticipation.

I’ll give you a run down of Windows 7 RC soon. Have a great weekend.


Ubuntu 9.04

Just loaded up Ubuntu 9.04.screenshot So far I would say that on the face of it, it’s a nice jump ahead of 8.10, but I’m going to do a bunch more testing and let you know! There were some screen glitches (jerky redraw etc) on my Thinkpad T60 with 8.10  but that seems to have been resolved. It’s nice to see OpenOffice 3.0 comes with it now. It picks up all my wireless connections but I need to test it on my Creative card and put it through a more serious work out. Right now I have to focus on a go-live on Monday so it will take a back seat. Later then.