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Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

November 16th, 2010

(Originally Posted October 26)

Every day I marvel at my Android Incredible.  It really does live up to its name.  As I write this I’m listening to the local police dispatcher on it.  It can take pictures, track where I’m at, give me current news and weather, play games, watch videos, link my computer to the Internet, act as a flashlight, measure my heart rate, detect metal, and oh yea, you can talk to people on it.  I could use it as a music player but my old iPod has higher capacity.  Tablet PC’s are taking the next “small step for man” but what “giant leap for mankind” will follow?  Moreover, where are we stepping and leaping to?

The early years of the computer were text-based.  Basic graphics and sound followed with the advent of home computers in the 80′s and 90′s.  For the past ten years or so society has become more connected via the Internet.  First it was slow dial-up and then broadband emerged.  Now the wireless revolution is upon us.  Wi-fi, 3G, and 4G, are making our wireless connections faster and more prolific.  E-mail has spawned texting which spawned tweeting.  In the world of the future we will all have video phones and flying cars.  I think that I’ve got my video phone, now where’s my flying car?

Computer applications have gone from centralized, to distributed, to client-server, to browser-based, to apps that run on our smart phones.  Likewise data has gone from centralized to distributed.  The trend now is storage in “the cloud”.  Is this not an extension of the connected culture?  …to have access to everything from everywhere?

As I see it, hardware is irrelevant.  The application, nay, the experience drives the innovation.  You can have your iPods, iPhones, iPads, Androids, Blackberries, tablets, laptops, netbooks, notebooks, MP3 players, e-readers, wide-screen TV’s, and home theaters.  What people ultimately want is to do some work, read a book, watch a movie, play a game, listen to music, communicate with others, and …be entertained.  The evolution for the future is convergence and integration.  I will want my work, books, movies, music, and communication to be with me everywhere, not tied to a specific device.  The downside is that somebody/everybody will want to make money on that integration and convergence.  We may have our own “virtual private clouds” but we will probably have to pay for access.  …by the byte …by the song  …by the movie  …by the minute  …by the second.

So much for predicting the future.  Good thing I still have my old records.

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