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2011 Geek Tech Crystal Ball

2011 will be an exciting year for Geek Tech, there is no doubt.

There are plenty of already revealed plans, and exciting rumors to stoke the imagination.

Such as…

Google just announced and showed off a preview of Honeycomb, their upcoming version of Android for tablets. It looks like a huge step up from the current Android GUI, and if it can land on hardware that is priced competitively with Apple’s iPad, it could really shake things up.

Laptops running Google’s Chrome OS will also start shipping this year.

I find Chrome OS to be exciting, while most are cynical about it’s prospects. I understand the pros and cons, and why it could fail, but I think it’s a clever take on mobile computing: not a tablet, not a full-on laptop, but not a traditional netbook. Ironically though, Chrome OS running on a light laptop is probably the truest definition of “netbook” yet. I’m predicting that Google’s ulterior motive behind Chrome OS is enterprise. Super light “dumb terminals” that run Chrome OS and offer on-demand cloud apps seem like a real possibility, and possibly eventual threat to Microsoft. Why not?

Palm was purchased by HP last year, and 2011 will be the year that HP releases devices running Palm’s innovative WebOS. We’ll see phones and tablets for sure, but we’ll also see WebOS running other devices such as printers.

Apple is going to have a big year in 2011. This week we are probably going to see the iPhone 4 on Verizon, finally.

The iPad 2 is also rumored to be announced and/or released in a few weeks.

I do not yet own an iPad, but already intend to get the iPad 2 as soon as it’s available. It will have more RAM, at least one camera, and possibly even a higher resolution display, which would be fantastic. I’m also hoping for a 7” iPad (iPad mini?) in 2011, despite Steve Jobs’ vocal criticism of tablets that size.

I think it’s fair to expect iPhone 5 in 2011. It probably will not be anything too revolutionary, but simply newer, better hardware.

Apple will be releasing OS X 10.7 Lion in 2011. They’ve already announced some new features, but I think they are holding back. I think 10.7 will see a big GUI overall. No more blue bubbles? A sleeker, flatter UI is probably in store, and I’m looking forward to it.

I think we could see an Apple TV App Store in 2011.

It’s inevitable. Other “smart TV” devices already feature that kind of expandability. The current Apple TV already has two 3rd party apps – YouTube and Netflix. I’m sure we will see it opened up eventually. It would be nice if it happens this year. I can think of plenty of apps that would be great – Pandora comes to mind.

Apple has been building a massive new data center, and many are wondering what it means. A popular belief is that iTunes will move to the cloud and offer a subscription model for music consumption. I definitely think this could happen soon.

A wilder theory is that Apple is going to offer a suite of “cloud” services that take what they already offer with MobileMe and evolve it into something bigger and bolder, including perhaps new low-end Macs. Perhaps a “Mac nano” and a “Macbook nano” that run some a tweaked version of iOS and rely heavily on tapping into this new hypothetical Apple cloud service, as well as 3rd party web apps?

What else can we expect in 2011?

Better and cheaper computing, period.

Intel just released a new line of CPUs that are cheaper and more powerful than ever. AMD has a new family of CPUs that are light and innovative. Microsoft has announced that they are porting Windows to ARM, and there are even rumblings that ARM is eyeing the desktop market. NVIDIA is innovating as well, and it looks like 2011 could be the beginning of a transformation in the CPU market.

There are other key reasons to be optimistic about computing in 2011. Memory prices continue to plummet like never before, as do SSD prices. USB 3 and Light Peak will hopefully take off in 2011, giving a much needed boost to data transfer speeds to external devices.

As a technology geek, I’m really looking forward to 2011. Computers, and how we use them are changing faster than ever before, and in revolutionary ways.

We are in a golden era of Geek Tech.
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