I stayed out of the annual New Year’s prediction derby, because my stock buying history proves without a doubt that I have no predictive abilities.
But I will give you five indisputable tech facts for 2010.
First, if the $1000 price point rumors are accurate, the much discussed Apple Tablet will be more sleep inducing than world changing. Few people in the real world want a tablet computer to begin with. Almost no one in the real world will pay more for a tablet than they plan to pay for their next desktop. Oh, sure, the Appleheads will gush over it for a day or two, and then it will fade into the same cloud of communal apathy that swallowed the Palm Pre and a horde of earlier supposed world changers. I would love a nice, iPhone looking and acting tablet. But not as much as I’d love $1000 in my pocket.
Second, Google Docs are not even remotely close to being a legitimate alternative to Microsoft Office for document-intensive users. Anyone who tells you different has never had a real job. Look, I tried. Really hard. The formatting incompatibilities, printing limitations, inability to create useful document comparisons and a slew of other glaring deficiencies made me run back to Office, with my tail between my legs and my credit card in my hand. Microsoft isn’t going to commit corporate suicide by giving us a reasonably featured, free online Office suite. The only chance we have of getting a half-way usable online word processing suite is via Open Office. Unlike Google Docs, Open Office is a legitimate Office alternative. I don’t know if there are plans for an online version, but the right people could create something really useful with Open Office supplying the underlying applications. But Google Docs? Honestly, they just piss me off. Worrying about collaboration is a complete waste of time when the tool you’re collaborating with sucks so bad.
Third, blogging, sadly, is dead. Facebook has all the non-nerds guzzling the Kool-Aid (in between shifts of Farmville), and has become the new AOL. Twitter has the attention-challenged (as well as the spammers). In our ADD culture there’s just no place for depth. Which makes newspapers, record albums, and blogs dead media. The momentum may swing back the other way at some point- and I certainly hope it does. But for now, anything that has more meat than a chicken foot is out of favor with the masses. Sure, some of us try to continue blogging, but can you name even one person who’s really into it? I used to wonder if I could blog my way into the Technorati Top 100 (not that there are many real blogs on that list anymore). Now I wonder if I’ll even finish this post.
Fourth, if Microsoft wants to finally get something right on the internet, all it has to do is put OneNote online, and make it free. It is by far the best information aggregator on the market. Only the cost and, more importantly, the lack of an easy way to synch and access your information stands between OneNote and complete dominance of the space. Sadly, Microsoft probably won’t do this, since it is such a good idea. But if it did, I’d dump Evernote in a heartbeat. That would teach them to ignore my repeated requests for folders.
Fifth, as the Twitter hysteria begins to fade, we are witnessing the end of one of the worst things to ever happen to business: the idea that free is a business model. It’s not, and it never has been. It’s just smoke and mirrors used to puff up valuations in the hope that some greater fool will wander by and start throwing money at you. Sure, some free things have always been a part of good business plans. Like samples or maybe even “lite” versions of something you want to entice people to buy. If all you have is free, you’re a charity not a business. You make money by selling something, and you can’t sell something that has no perception of value. There’s no better way to create a perception of no value than to give all of your goods away. The death of this non-business model is a very good thing that will eventually lead to real innovation. When the barriers to entry are higher, the quality of the goods that make it to market is higher.
That’s my five. What are your indisputable tech facts for 2010?