Predictions for 2011: Here is an update on what I posted from last year at this time.  Where possible, I've tried to indicate what is a continuation of a trend that started last year.


Hot technologies (largely same list from last year - new comments):

  • SSDs - next design iteration finally gets it right. OS support for TRIM increases perf. Costs drop.
  • LEDs continue to impress.  Market is just lifting off of the flat part of the 'S' curve.
  • Android-based handhelds - generic OS finally gets good enough (already out shipping Apple's iOS)
  • Tablet Clones - Now comes the wave of tablet makers trying to experiment and differentiate
  • Silicon Carbide goes main-stream to meet electric car requirements; slow growth
  • 4G actually starts to take-off and make sense as a data-offload for cellular network
  • Network infrastructure upgrade for video - core and edge need 10x capacity growth
  • AJAX applications continue to impress - creates alternative UI for applications (UI design is hard)
  • 3D LIDAR camera technology gets into other applications beyond the Microsoft Kinect
  • Lighting control systems for big building applications that let light levels be optimized for power
  • Embedded Linux everywhere - 1 second boot times for QT applications
  • Face-less applications that switch emphasis from traditional UI design to a web-UI style design

Disappointing Technologies:

  • Solar - slow market, low energy prices continue, will take a long time to make a dent
  • Wind - good technology, takes a long time and a lot of money to make a difference
  • Natural Gas - slow to grow in application, but good to keep in reserve
  • Electric Vehicles - Charging is the flaw in the usage model (idea for start-ups)

Devices:

  • Connectivity in home appliances finally makes sense, e.g.:
  • Alarm clocks that show the weather and first appointments (Chumby)
  • Picture frames that always have latest home picture files
  • Energy monitoring systems that track home energy usage
  • Automotive electronics:
    • Weather maps in cars with reasonable geographic precision
    • 3D sensors for back-up and blind-spot detection
    • IR Imagers for safer night-vision - some with head's-up displays
    • Mobile hot-spot for Wi-Max and WAN phone service
Economic Environment:

  • Interest rate rise just after 2012 election season - the only time the stock market won't count
  • Continued de-valuation of the US$, reduces debt and makes US manufacturing competitive
  • Serious competition for US Reserve currency from mix of Euros, Yen and RMB
  • VC Industry starts to come out of the doldrums, still too many firms for the market
  • Semiconductor industry recovers, but continues to consolidate - like the airline industry
  • On-line vs. brick & mortar - symbiotic existence continues (shop at store, but online)