I love beginnings of years, they're really exciting technology-wise. With CES on right now, and more big tech news to come, we're going to be seeing a bucketload of new standards and revisions to existing ones, new formats (and revisions to existing ones!) and new discussions (and revisions... you get the point). Data portability and agnosticism is going to be the next big thing, and as if this wasn't enough, the topic was recently highlighted by the farce surrounding Robert Scoble being banned (and subsequently unbanned) from Facebook by scraping his contacts' details to import them into one of his other accounts... In years to come, our children will look back and laugh when they're told that we had to sign up for each web site separately!
Taken your pinch of salt yet? Right, some of the key emerging trends (I predict) are going to include:
- DRM-free audio and video content! (finally!)
- Open platforms (want to do anything with any site you're a member of? Sure, here's our API, go mad)
- Widespread CSS3 support
- Data Portability (more at dataportability.org) (which also encompasses the nascent APML and existing standards like OpenID and microformats)
... And they're just a few. Blanket HSDPA 3G coverage and the rollout of HSUPA (fast download and upload speeds, versus just fast download) is going to be the next big thing in the mobile connectivity arena - and in my opinion this has been long overdue. HSDPA is great, but the upload really stymies any real rich media interactivity - 3G video calling is awful quality because of the poor upload, and that's its main problem. As soon as the quality reaches a good enough threshold to become bearable, mobile operators will find their revenues (and usage) skyrocketing.
The TV industry's going to see a lot more convergence and shift from traditional broadcasting to IP-based shiftcasting (to coin a term) - the iPlayer's already gaining in its popularity (moreso since the site revamp, offering on-demand in-browser Flash Video streams of their downloads) and IPTV is most likely going to start to usurp your regular broadcasts, particularly given the increasing spread of high-speed broadband connections and all-in-one STBs. If you've not got some form of digital receiver in your home yet, I think it's definitely time to get one.
Broadband's just getting faster and faster, but super-fast, very short range data standards are going to be the next big thing in the home (ultra wideband support in AV devices is going to be killer when it comes to market). Sony announced its own version of short-range, high-speed (500mbps) wireless data connectivity at CES today (make that yesterday, now), so if they're bringing to market, expect others to follow suit. It's a no-brainer really, why bother with wires if you can just sit your camera on top of its dock?
Wireless charging is what I'm really holding out for, but I'm not expecting even protypes of that until at least Q1 2009.
Hopefully, 2008 will also be the year the UK begins to go fully HD (HD on Freeview is the next big step for the industry to take, though it's mired in problems and negotiations at the moment) - and hopefully I'll finally get myself an HDTV this year! That's the most important potential development of the next twelve months ;)