Analyzing where technology will go should be done with the same mindset as analyzing the direction of financial markets: with skepticism, an open-mind, and an acceptance that predictions are largely impossible. This makes business planning difficult, but some trends are on a more sustained path than others. The demand for cloud computing is certain, helped by the growth of services like Pinterest, Dropbox, and Netflix. This observation was supported by growth on AWS, or Amazon Web Services. Amazon.com fueled its growth with aggressive pricing and rapid deployment times.
There are three trending topics making the news in recent weeks. We all seem to think the outcome of these trends are predictable, even though it is not entirely clear how things will play out. In attempting to forecast, first ask questions.
1. Galaxy Nexus 7
Google entered the tablet market by announcing Android 4, also known as Jelly Bean. The Google Android tablet, priced at a competitive $199, will run the latest Android system. Not to be outdone, Apple is rumored to be releasing a 7-inch tablet. Apple reported exceptionally strong earnings, helped by demand for its 4S phone and its iPad. “The New” iPad does not seem so new, with Google under-pricing Apple by more than a two-fold.
Will Nexus 7 successfully dethrone Apple’s dominance in tablets?
2. RIM “Death Spiral”
Research in Motion traded close to 80% below its 52-week high after reporting earnings that were worse than anyone predicted. That RIM was late in responding to Android’s invasion is a tiring but valid story. Currently, RIM is facing deterioration in margins due to Blackberry 10, a consequence of the “Osbourne Effect.” Its earnings were weak because the company sold more lower-end devices than the more expensive models.
In the short-term, RIM could do a number of things to stem its short-term decline:
I. Explain why Blackberry 10 is Delayed
II. Release Blackberry ‘Alpha’ on the Playbook
III. License Blackberry Messenger (“BBM”) to Windows Phone 7/8 and Google Android
IV. Pay 3rd Parties to Build Apps
V. Have a Plan ‘B’
VI. Offer Upgrade Path for Consumers buying Blackberry 7
VII. Focus on Core Strengths in the Interim
Will RIM be here next year?
3. Google+ vs. Facebook
Speaking from personal experience, something is happening to Facebook. After the company went public, activity on Facebook dropped dramatically. Seasonality may have something to do with it: in “liking” versus being outside in the summer, summer wins. Facebook also enforced email addresses on its users with negative reception, and will soon make “timeline” mandatory, to encourage users to keep coming back. Google+ appears to be yielding greater interactivity. Google shows “What’s Hot” posts on the stream effectively. My number of followers grew from under 100 to over 250.
Many Google+ notifications:
Google also added an events page to “celebrate what matters with the people who matter most.”
Even though your friends may not be on Google+, will you consider using it?