Fearless Predictions for 2011

At least one person (ahem, Gary) wanted to read my predictions for 2011. So, here we go.

Let’s start by reviewing the 2010 edition. Here’s what I predicted:

Reputation will be all the rage in 2010.
Fail.  I did read that Twitter has an internal way to measure the weight of a user, and at Chirp in April, they talked about resonance, which they use to measure promoted tweets.

Sadly, Twitter hasn’t been sharing these data with users. Reputation really went no where in 2010, unless you consider Quora a reputation system.

Geo will be left at the altar in 2010.
Win. That’s what I’m calling it anyway. I predicted that major services would roll out location; they did. I also predicted that no one would use it.

From what I’ve seen, that’s correct too. Foursquare continues to grow, but it’s a scant four million users. Maybe I’m wrong, but Facebook Places and Twitter location haven’t really caught on with the bell curve. Location is still niche.

Broadband TV will gain switchers en masse.
Fail. This one is eerie. Much of what I predicted came true, except for the primary point. Google’s surprise entry into this arena caused the content producers to freak out and block Google TV, and content did become even more readily through iTunes offering $0.99 show rentals and Netflix offering streaming only plans.

Still, switching needs to be easier and possible with a single device.

As for my random predictions, it’s a mixed bag.

Stop living in the past. Here come my seven bold and fearless predictions for 2011. As usual, I’m being as specific and quantifiable as possible so we can easily declare win/fail in a year.

EBooks and self-publishing will be the new blogging, not Quora.
The rise of eReaders will drive every blogger into self-publishing.

Think about it. Bloggers create content, but very few make any money. Publishing an eBook is easier than ever, and bloggers already have a marketing platform to sell their wares.

Why not fold all that content into book form and sell it on a blog? Many are already doing this, and it makes a lot of sense for readers too. After all, you can take content with you, mark it up and read it offline.

Yeah, maybe it’s stuff you know is out there for free, but people will pay small amounts for those conveniences.

This trend will freak out the big publishing houses, but hey, welcome to the party.

Lately, Quora has been debated as a new way to blog or whatever. I joined a few months ago, but I haven’t found any reason to stick yet. We’ll see. If anything, Quora is an echo chamber for now.

This one will be tough to quantify, granted, but I think we’ll be able to make an easy call in a year.

Nokia and BlackBerry will surrender to Android.
By surrender, I mean that both Nokia and BlackBerry will release Android-powered phones in 2011.

Yeah, I know Nokia has investments in MeeGo and QT, and BlackBerry will be dropping the Playbook in 2011. Those will fail, and both giants will realize they need Android to stay relevant. The Honeycomb (3.0) release of Android will seal the deal.

2011 will mark the return of Microsoft.
Let’s quantify this one as Microsoft’s ability to hang their hat on something new. Kinect and Win Phone 7 are both too new for this quite yet, but by next year, I expect one or both will be big successes.

Plus, IE9 will drop in 2011, and Win 7 will continue to make headway.

Generally speaking, Microsoft has been turning the ship for several years now. I expect them to get it done in 2011 and finally stop being a punchline. Steve Ballmer will get a raw deal though; I don’t see him heading the company by the end of next year.

The iPhone will not come to Verizon.
This one is easy to call, and if the latest rumors are right, I’ll be proven wrong in January.

I’m being a bit perverse here; I don’t see this happening, ever. Plus, even if it does, I don’t expect the avalanche of switchers predicted by pretty much every tech pundit.

Every month that Apple and Verizon fail to consummate this agreement, Verizon sells more Droids, which changes the negotiating position between the two.

Someone will build a fantastic Android tablet.
The iPad created the market, and 2011 will bring a worthy competitor, thanks to Honeycomb.

I suppose you could argue that the NOOKcolor or Samsung Galaxy Tab are worthy, or the Dell Streak. I’m not sure, but from the mixed reviews I’ve read, the easy answer is no.

Yeah, the iPad will get a new version in 2011, but this mythical Android tablet will match it.

Kindle will be the new Facebook.
What I mean by this is that everyone you know will be getting one for Christmas. I was a bit shocked that the third-generation Kindle is Amazon’s top selling product of all time.

In light of that, it’s not tough to predict Kindle’s dominance in 2011. Again, eBooks and digital reading are white hot, and the Kindle is an affordable and easy way to scratch that itch.

The Kindle will be the ubiquitous device of 2011. You’ll see them everywhere you go where there’s waiting, airports, buses, trains, medical waiting rooms.

This is an easy one to predict.

NFC and AR will blow our minds.
Bit of a throwaway, since it’s subjective, but seven is a nice number.

The rise of near field communications (NFC) and augmented reality (AR) will produce some insanely cool technology in 2011, real sci-fi stuff. I won’t have to look hard to find at least one example this time next year.

That’s all I have, so run and tell that homeboy.

Thoughts on these? Find the comments.




  1. I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab is very good. It’s at least better than the iPad, in a smaller, more portable and usable form factor. It may be trumped by something new, but isn’t that always the case.

    Also, the NOOKColor is especially versatile as a book reader that also happens to do Web and be an Android tablet.

    I’m glad I have both.

  2. Yeah, I read your reviews of them. I haven’t had hands-on with either, so I’m aggregating the feedback I’ve read, yours among it. The reviews are mixed, and I don’t recall many effusively positive ones, unlike the iPad.

    Magical. Revolutionary. Meh.

    I expect someone to get it right in 2011, like the EVO for Android phones. That one device that levels the playing field.

  3. Louis: have you tried to hack the NOOK to run Android outright? After reading about it (http://rww.to/hNZZoX), it looks like a convenient way to have a good e-reader and some full-blown Android usage without the exorbitant price (re: Galaxy Tab). I have neither e-reader or any tablet device, but like Jake, doing a great bit of reading and consideration. Hoping 2011 delivers a tablet device that finally makes a case for Android.

  4. I was sad to see the rumor that B&N would expose full Android to the NOOK debunked. Too bad really, but I get why. I hear rooting it is a bit dicey, but worthwhile.

    FWIW I have an iPad and enjoy it immensely for reading. As an eBook consumer, it allows me access to three markets, Kindle, iBooks and now Google eBooks, for competitive pricing.

    I didn’t feel like waiting for next year’s tablets.

  5. Saw that. This isn’t the first time the WSJ said the iPhone was coming to Verizon, although the event seems to indicate something.

    I’ll believe when I see it. Bet it turns out to be CDMA iPad. Even if it’s the iPhone, I doubt you’ll see a mass exodus from AT&T. Too expensive.

    Anyway, you can’t blame me for making vanilla predictions, at least I took a stand 🙂 Hindsight is easy.

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