[FoRK] "Golden Girls" architectures

Gregory Alan Bolcer greg at bolcer.org
Mon Jan 13 11:38:04 PST 2014


In 2004, laptop prices should keep dropping. And that will mean laptops
will claim an ever-larger share of our PC-buying dollars.

2014: Laptops and PC prices will continue to fall as nobody will use them,
thus the demain dries up.

One of the most expensive parts of a laptop is the screen. The glass for
laptop liquid crystal displays is created in huge factories, many in South
Korea — and as manufacturers invent ways to cut more display screens from
ever-larger pieces of glass, the overall price of LCDs comes down. In 2004,
some larger manufacturing facilities will be cranking out glass — and that
should translate into lower laptop prices.

2014: Screens are cheap as glass.

Bluetooth, the wireless technology that replaces the cables on electronics,
is set to have a big year in 2004. The companies that see the trends first
— companies like chip maker Broadcom and testing-equipment maker Agilent
Technologies — are confident of it. In the past, the companies said,
manufacturers of products like keyboards and headsets had focused on
perfecting one piece of the Bluetooth technology. But now they’re ready to
introduce full-fledged products. Once a few PCs start shipping with
built-in Bluetooth keyboards and mice, watch skeptics start jumping onto
the Bluetooth bandwagon in August, around back-to-school season. We’ll be
saying we told you so.

*2014: NFC technology which is just bluetooth + gps.  *
Megapixel phones

One-megapixel camera phones are still not great, especially considering the
fact that some three-megapixel cameras were selling for less than $200 this
Christmas. A Nokia executive told us that as many as two-thirds of the
company’s phones could eventually contain cameras. And Motorola , the
largest maker of U.S. cell phones, has pledged to set up its camera-phone
efforts in 2004. Once U.S. phones start shipping with one-megapixel cameras
built in, the pictures will be good enough to create wallet-size prints. At
that point, the entire nature of camera-phone images will change from
e-mail-only snapshots to viable keepsakes. Why should kids wait for their
yearbook pictures to come in the mail, when they whip out a phone and make
their own?

*2014: HD phones are pretty much the norm for 2014.  Expect iphone to join
the HD game.  See if megapixel camera technology like Pelican Imaging from
an array of lenses or Nokia's 40Megapixel catch on....but one definitely
will.  *
IPod’s competition

IPod maker Apple Computer doesn’t like lowering prices, but it might have
to. One of the more damaging things about the Cupertino company is that it
believes its own hype. Each time it innovates, it believes none of its
less-clever competitors could ever catch up. Well, Dell is doing something
almost as good as catching up to Apple’s top-dog iPod digital music player:
It’s building a cheaper product that’s good enough. The Round Rock, Texas,
company designed its Dell Digital Jukebox so that it can use 1.8-inch hard
drives from either Toshiba or Hitachi , making it bulkier than the iPod;
but that flexibility in sourcing the drives will help Dell drive down
prices faster. How low? Don’t expect things to get too crazy. Most likely,
iPods will hit the $250 level during the year, but $200 sounds far-fetched.

*2014: iPhone releases a cheap, low-end consumer model for cheap in order
to make up the gap between cheap, low-end android phones outselling them
Video iPods

An Apple vice president said in November that Apple has not considered
making iPods built to play video, in part because there’s a lack of legal
Hollywood content to store on such a device. That hasn’t stopped rivals
Archos or RCA . They have built portable video devices that can play back
movies and TV shows from their miniature hard drives. As soon as someone
devises software that makes it easier to convert DVD and TV videos into a
viewable format, the market could take off, the same way it did with music.

*2014: Facetime works pretty well on 4G and high end phones; ipods already
support it if you sign up for a facetime account.  There's quite a few TV
on demand and movie on demand services delivering full HD video.  Will the
iphone6 support full HD?  It better in 2014.  *
Faster cell networks

In San Diego and Washington, D.C., there are cell phone networks fast
enough to move streaming video onto a cell phone or laptop. Those networks,
called 1x EVDO and run by Verizon Wireless , are likely to crop up in a few
other places in 2004 — most likely because Verizon Wireless will expand its
testing to new markets. Rival Sprint , the other major U.S. carrier that
uses CDMA technology for its cell phone network, probably won’t jump in
quite yet. Sprint tends to update its network all at once. Meanwhile, AT&T
Wireless will continue the expansion of its faster GSM/GPRS network.

*2014: 4g isn't bad.  It's faster than most home DSL connections; in a year
or two, you won't be able to buy a non-smartphone. 802.11ac will do
gigabits per band in 2014.   Look for hybrid 4g/wifi on the new spec.  *

The news has come in such a trickle that you might have missed it:
Technology is enabling a new wave of voyeurs. In December, a San Jose man
was sentenced to six months in jail for hiding video cameras in his female
roommate’s bedroom. Hidden cameras in a Tennessee middle-school locker room
prompted a lawsuit in the summer. And a New York woman was disturbed to
find that her lover had been taping their encounters at a Park Avenue loft.
Add to this the trend toward banning camera phones in fitness centers, and
you have a culture where more people are humming that old Rockwell tune, “I
always feel like, somebody’s watching meee . . .”

*2014: This one was well covered in 2013, expect that trend to only get
far, far worse.  *
Video blogs

By now you’ve probably heard of blogs (also called Web logs), which have
created a revolution in self-publishing on the Internet. Blog tools like
Blogger and TypePad make it simple — all you have to do is type in your
observation for the day, and they make sure your musings get published,
looking pretty. Recently, TypePad and others have begun experimenting with
moblogging, which is short for “mobile blogging” — it most often means
using a camera phone to post images to a blog. Up next? Video blogs.
They’re new enough that the blogging community hasn’t settled on a good
name yet — they’re called vidblogs, vogs, vlogs. Sites like tim-hall.com,
solublefish.tv and weblogs.media.mit.edu/ic are paving the way. Expect
video-capable cell phones to lead the way as these become more popular. Now
we’ll get to see the boring moments in people’s lives, instead of just
reading about them.

*2014: Same here, Youtube is now an active, thriving medium for video-only
posting and responses.  There's a dozen apps waiting to breakthrough that
include everything from synchronous real time streaming to instant posting.
Vine was 2013's breakout in this category, the kiddies love it.  See if
Snapchat video becomes the predominant feature. *
Big, flat cheaper TVs

Plasma TVs are too expensive for a lot of people, at $4,000 for a 42-inch
set. And Intel is poised to turn the TV-manufacturing world on its ear next
week with an announcement that its new chips will lower the cost of
producing projection televisions. What has one got to do with the other?
Intel ‘s new chips can go into a new type of projection television that’s
thinner than today’s models, at about 8 or 9 inches. So for the first time,
consumers will begin to see a choice emerging: buy that $4,000 plasma set,
or buy a projection set for roughly half the price.

*2014: The year of OLED tvs.  Nuff said.  *

This holiday season, Gateway offered shoppers a $300 DVD player that also
records TV shows onto DVD — the first affordable DVD player that does what
the old VCR could. And Panasonic already offers a combination digital video
recorder with built-in DVD recorder but it costs $1,200. Things will get
really interesting in 2004 if more manufacturers put DVD recorders into
those TiVo -inspired systems that can pause live TV and zip through
commercials. Hollywood is already moving to make sure that TV shows and
movies don’t get pirated the way music did. But the combination
DVD-recorder/DVR will mean trouble. Shows recorded onto a DVD can be more
easily offloaded to a computer.

We love TiVo . We really do. But sometimes we have to make predictions, and
sometimes those predictions aren’t pretty. TiVo lovers know the service as
their ticket to television freedom. Not only does it allow users to pause
live television and fast-forward through commercials, it makes it easy to
do what VCRs did only halfheartedly — record TV shows when you’re not there
to watch. But it looks like 2004 will be the year that TiVo gets clobbered.

Why? EchoStar is offering free set-top boxes that do much of what TiVo
does. ReplayTV , Cox and Comcast are all pursuing similar strategies. Those
moves by the biggest providers of television programming will make it
difficult for TiVo to grow much beyond the 1 million-plus subscribers it
had tallied by the end of 2003. If TiVo manages to be the first service to
combine the DVD recorder and a hard disk player? That might be a different.

*2014: DVR doesn't need physical media.  BR-RW seems to work for most
things, but now all DVRs can do almost anything.  Most services have
launched Hoppers, slingshotting, pause and resume from locations, mobile
broadcasting, commercial dissection, etc. Looks for these thing to go
mainstream and users to get charged for the features.   *

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