Technologizer

Three Tech Anti-Predictions for 2010

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For my latest Technologizer column over at TIME.com, I peered ahead into 2011 and compiled a list of products and trends that should have an impact before the year is out. I tried to avoid making out-and-out predictions: I think that so much is unknowable that if your prognostications pan out it may be due to luck as much as anything else…and if they don’t, it doesn’t mean they were off base.

But I’m not above making anti-predictions: predictions of things that won’t happen. I figure it’s at least a little safer than guessing at what will occur, since what you’re doing is betting against a change in the status quo. And so I’m hereby making these three antipredictions:

1. 3D TV won’t be a big deal. The industry desperately wants a Next Big Thing to replace HDTV, so I expect that the show floor at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show will look like a labyrinth constructed out of 3D flat-panels. But 3D remains gimmicky. Even at its best, it doesn’t look that great. And Hollywood is doing a lousy job of making content available–I mean, it’s just sad that you still can’t simply march into a store and buy 3D Avatar on Blu-Ray. Lots of consumers may wind up with 3D-compatible TVs, Blu-Ray players, and set-top boxes, but I think they’re not going to spend that much time wearing funny glasses in their own living rooms.

2. The iPhone won’t crumble. Some pundits are predicting that Android is about to trounce Apple’s iPhone in the same way that Windows trounced the Mac in the 1980s and 1990s, rendering Apple’s handsets as also-rans. I don’t see it happening. Yes, Android will have a larger share of the market–that’s a given considering that it’s on hundreds of devices. But smartphones are mostly about what you can do with them, and the iPhone has the best-integrated package of hardware, software, and services. It has the most vibrant app store and the widest selection of accessories. And it sells for about the same price as most Android phones. A year from now, I expect the platform to be healthy, iPhone users to be happy, and Apple to be wildly profitable.

(More on Time.com: Top 25 Tech Fails of the Year)

3. Point-and-shoot cameras won’t fade away. An awful lot of photos are now being taken with phones, and the best phones take snapshots that aren’t embarrassing. Which is leading some folks to predict that point-and-shoot cameras are now redundant–why buy and carry one if your phone does the same job in a satisfactory way? The problem with this theory is that even a low-end point-and-shoot takes much better pictures than a phone. And I don’t see the limitations of phone cameras–tiny sensors, cruddy flashes, lack of optical zoom–going away. At least not in 2o11. Bottom line: When I just want to share a quick image on Twitter or Facebook, my phone works great. But when I want to take a photo that I might care about months or years from now, I’d rather use a real camera. (A digital SLR would also fit the bill, but they’re too pricey and too bulky to become the de facto digital camera.)

Got any 2011 anti-predictions–or, if you’re bolder than I am, outright predictions–of your own?

More on Time.com:

Top 10 Tech Disasters That Haven’t Happened… Yet

What We’re Looking Forward to in 2011: Video Games

New Year’s Resolution: Clean Up Your Google Search Results

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