Time to dust off the crystal ball and have a wild stab at what may happen in the coming 12 months. There were some disappointments in 2009: Google Wave certainly didn’t live up to the hype but maybe things will change for the better now that the EtherPad guys have been bought on board. Wolfram Alpha also flopped. Frankly, I’d almost forgot it ever launched in the first place but they still thought that people would pay $50 for their iPhone application.
Twitters recent acquisition of Mixer Labs indicates the way things are heading: location-based services will be this years real-time web. Google’s attempted courting of Yelp provides further evidence for this. I’m still mocked among my non-tech friends for using Twitter so I’m expecting more of the same when Foursquare becomes more prominent. Augmented reality will also be a large part of this location-aware shift.
A faster, more widely available, always-on connection will obviously be an important factor for location-based applications but for the renewed attempt at tablet computing and a thin client model running Google’s Chrome OS, connectivity will be more important still. Cities in Norway and Sweden recently gained a 4G network which is up to ten times quicker than 3G.
Now that HDTV has been sold to the masses, it’s time for the electronics companies to tell us once again that we out-of-date and we need a new television set. What has been the big thing in the cinema of late will now be pushed at the consumer level. Sony has signed a deal that will see up to 25 matches at the 2010 World Cup be broadcast in 3D but only at special events. If the biggest sporting spectacle in the world can’t drive demand then there could be trouble ahead for 3D in the home.
Another thing set to take off next year that will become huge is making and taking payments with mobile phones. While the Japanese have been doing this with the handset itself for a good while now this has only been used like the contactless cards we’re starting to use here (i.e. paying for things). Square and possibly the iPod Touch system used by Apple will allow anyone to take payment for goods and services.