Saturday, June 21, 2014

Telirati Analysis #7 2014 predictions

30+ megapixels under $500: As low-end cameras get kicked out of the market by phones, all the effort goes into cameras that can't be put into phones. This is already happening and as this trend matures, price/value competition will become fierce and specs now found on expensive luxury/prestige cameras will end up in products with affordable prices. By 2015, this will include specs found only on insanely expensive studio equipment.

Consumer pricing (albeit at the high end) for 4k TVs and 4k video cameras by the end of 2014: Content publishers will scramble to keep up. Or, to put it another way, there won't be anything to watch. Some will say that makes 4k a failure. It won't be because passive media availability isn't the deciding factor.

Cinema, photography, and related media will start pulling away, qualitatively, from the analog past. Except for laser enlargers and large format color prints on photographic paper, analog and chemical imaging has lost the last bastions of quality. As digital quality continues to improve for subsequent product generations, creators of media product will see new forms of expression, as yet unexplored.

Wearables do not find a mass market product format: But the quantified self moves forward as an identifiable mass market app for wearables. Apple makes something, maybe a watch, that will be an object of desire, but hard to justify based on actual benefits. Apple will find that digital "jewelry" doesn't hold the same kind of appeal as adornments that don't become obsolete in a few years. If you own a fine watch, consider how old it is.

Android in cars, cameras, and perhaps other products creates new domains in software development. Google will take advantage, but could miss opportunities by not developing APIs for new "verticals" for Android.

Android becomes vastly bigger and more important in software development than nearly anyone expects. The realization that Android will be as big and long-lasting in dominance as Windows begins to dawn on many more people.

Sales lost by US tech firms due to lack of trust exceeds worst-case estimates: Some tech firms become, essentially, government contractors. Some dither and lose even more. Some new entrants offer privacy-protecting products, which will remain an embryonic, but highly visible business. What to do about the knowledge of pervasive surveillance and "Big Brother Inside" remains muddled at the end of 2014 as lost sales mount. Most tech companies will hope the problem goes away. It won't. By the end of the year, a non-US Internet service company will offer  verifiable secure communications and storage.

Sensor-oriented Bluetooth devices will flourish and at least one that doesn't exist today will be innovative and become very popular.

The Internet of Things will see slow adoption due to privacy concerns.

The oil/gas boom in the US will paper-over many problems, as long as it lasts. Everything from avoiding a hard landing in winding down QE, to the Democrats' being blamed for the economy, to avoiding dealing with the many ill effects from the cost of the wars will be made much easier by the US oil boom. Things will be just enough better to not learn anything from the wars and the 2008 crash. 

Social liberalism in the US will march on: Gay marriage, legal cannabis, Obamacare and other progressive issues will all be more popular at the end of 2014. Hard-line social conservatism will harden and become more culturally isolated. The US will be less of one nation and one culture. A kulturkampf looms, but Republicans will try to steer clear and win based on a tepid economy.

Crypto-currency meets sovereign governments: A US Native American government is considering experimenting with crypto-currency. It's possible that a nation with a currency in crisis will take it to the next level and adopt crypto-currency as an economic confidence-building measure, or will strongly consider it. It will be compared, eventually favorably, to "dollarization" or other measures that had been taken in such situations.

Transitioning from oil, gas, and coal remains a daunting task, and we will barely move the percentages in 2014. Progress in inherently safe uranium/plutonium reactors and throium reactors will be disappointingly slow. High-tech renewables are growing fast, but from a much lower base than nuclear. The most visible positive sign in the US might be the closure of a handful of dirty old coal plants. Don't mistake renewables' share of electricity generation for fast progress. Transportation is a big energy cost in households and industry.