Technology is a delightful field, where, if you look just beneath the surface, you will see trends of the future shaping up. It is difficult to predict the timing and the magnitude of where things will be, but some things are such that there is no way you can go wrong on the direction of it all. Well, almost.
So, here I am, sticking my neck out on what 2009 may bring for Net, gizmo and digital lifestyle lovers.
Every handset will be a smart-phone (nearly):
Things are getting cheaper and smarter to a point where (as a piece in Hindustan Times last week testified), it is difficult to distinguish the tech giants like Nokia from consumer brands like LG or Samsung. This is because increasingly, all phones are like mini-computers now, with Internet browsing, Blackberry-like e-mail and cameras and music players thrown in. Google-supported Android phones will become more dominant and this will bring prices down on established brands.
USB sticks will become powerful tools: I just read about how the USB stick used to store files is reaching a new standard called USB 3.0 in which the speed is 10 times faster. USB memory capacities getting bigger and bigger and cheaper and cheaper is old news. The faster speed, combined with USB computing software built into these finger-like sticks, will make them as good as real machines.
You will buy more phones from your operator: I expect that anyone with a monthly mobile service budget of Rs. 1,000 or more is a target for operators to sell bundled phones they can buy in bulk from manufacturers. With competition hotting up among service providers, partnerships between handset makers and telcos in India will become very common. AT&T is selling a new, cool Samsung phone in the US, the way it sold Apple's iPhones earlier. India will increasingly see such deals.
You will buy digital music players with pre-bundled songs: I mean, why should I spend so much time and energy downloading or buying music or CDs and storing them in a tiny iPod or MP3 player? Why can't I buy 500 favourite songs loaded into the thing beforehand? They say content is king, and I would like to see this happen in 2009—though I suspect it might take a year longer for the trend to catch on.
You will see Indian election speeches on YouTube: India will see its first elections after the arrival of YouTube online videos and Facebook and Orkut groups. Expect a lot of political action on social networking and media sites. But it will be nothing compared to the subsequent election, when local language content and incredible 3G phones will take things to a grand buzz.