Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the future is soon (op-ed)

well, its been a while since i've posted and i apologize for that. silly work, life and summer stuff.  anywho, i thought i'd get back to posting on more regular basis (in case i actually have followers/readers, j/k i love you all!).

today post is an op-ed blog on what i am predicting or think (hope?) a few of the next big things will be in the upcoming few years.  we just saw twitter hit mainsteam this last march, facebook a while back, iphones are common place, wiis can be found on the shelves.

so, whats next? keep reading for this geeks predictions and geek ramblings.

i've been pondering this question quite a bit lately.  is it a new phone that blows away even the Pre and the iPhone and Blackberries? or a new OS or GUI design that changes how we interact w/computers and applications?  or is it a new storage/memory/processor/hardware component that pushes computers to the 'next' level?

i actually think that its going to be a true marriage of hardware and software ecosystems.  true connectivity between digital distrubtion systems/networks and hardware appliances/pcs/consoles/radios/phones.  Of course hardware that allows us to do this is also on the list too.

the most obvious example first step taker was apple in its App Store and iTunes.  no, this is not a lushy apple fanboy post (i am def still a windows man/household but apple is getting a foothold w/the airport extreme base and macbook air and iphone).  iTunes allows apple to distribute and stream its music to almost every piece of hardware it makes.  iTunes syncs your iPhone/iPod; streams movies/music/radio/podcasts to your macbooks and imacs. appletv puts it on your tv.  the limited options and lack of more streaming abilities doesn't fulfill what i would deem true connectivity.  i can't even sort my movies listing in front row on my mac i'm streaming from. yes, i know you can do this w/software but with apple its native software and its apple software.

next example is microsoft and xbox live / zune store / media center and how windows interacts w/the xbox 360 and zune with windows.  not nearly as streamlined as apple but getting better each try.  the xbox 360 just seems like its microsofts 2nd attempt at getting a foothold in our living rooms (and stfu to all of you gamers who say 'i just play games' on my console.  if that's true, your missing out on a lot of cool stuff and paid a hell of a lot of money just for a console /end rant).  their first attempt was/still is the HTPC (home theater pc) genre.  however, us HD early adopters still have a pretty sour taste in our mouths with the whole cablecard fact.

the last example is sony and the playstation brand.  i actually think sony is really going to be the most break through ones give their PR departments and CEO don't ruin their image before they can.  sony's PSN and Video delivery service that started on the PS3 is really just the start.  Sony has a one up on both apple and microsoft in that they make EVERYTHING.  from hdtvs to radios to cameras to laptops to phones to receivers.  they have the hardware presence that they could start adding embedded systems into them and in turn start hooking in the XMB interface or PSN connectivity to basically everything.  think of bravias that can download apps from the PSN store to show weather, stock, twitter, facebook or movies and music to the builtin hard drives? platter based storage is SO CHEAP and the fact that TVs basically never move is a perfect marriage.  the XMB interface can be the knot-tyer.  tvs need a simple and sleek interface to deal with; thats all there is to it.

i did leave out nintendo for now since they do only have the DS and Wii (which i know is a megaton user base), but they have not shown any interests at all in making online connectivity a priority or even media on the devices (dsi changes that finally).

lastly, my personal hope for the next big thing is augmented reality.  with phones getting larger processors and better cameras and the idea of opensource/wikis; augmented reality is just a standard away. i would love the ability to add my own data overlays i could view on my iphone. (there is an app but its localized and only for 3gs now, the android g1 has one too i believe)

i personally think that in order for augmented reality to make a leap forward into becoming a more usable, feasible interace, an open standard for creating data overlays must be established and abided by.  i also believe that a central wiki-type database needs to be setup and maintained so that users anywhere can add any relevant data from areas they live/commute/visit.  the data would be more public usable data vs private/personal experiences.  however that could be a filterable layer, like a facebook of augmented reality.  WHOA! merging of facebook/twitter/etc and augmented reality is the future. who knows, it could be.

we all know what the true end result is. cybernetic implants, retina overlays, additional mind-storage. hehe.

well, hopefully my guestimates aren't too off base or obvious and i didn't waste 5 or more minutes of your life. till then, peace.