2011 in a nutshell

2010 is behind us. Time for some thoughts on what to expect, and what not to expect in 2011.

January 1, 2011
2011 in a nutshell

It’s that time of year – everyone is full of predictions of what will happen in the coming year. Not wanting to be left out, here are few more thoughts on what will happen in 2011, together with a few things that won’t.

Linux won’t take over the desktop

It will take over everything else. For the best part of ten years we in the media have been touting Linux as the desktop of the future. Each December there is the general declaration that the coming year with be the year that Linux takes over the desktop. The truth is that Linux will probably never oust Windows on the desktop. Not the least because it won’t get the chance: web applications are going to start proliferating in the coming years and the Linux versus Windows debate will fade away.

What will most of these web-based applications be hosted on? Linux and other open source software, of course. So, in fact, Linux may well be considered likely to dominate the desktop within a couple of years.

Windows 8 won’t be released

The successor to Windows 7 in all likelihood won’t be released in 2011, despite what some commentators have recently suggested. There may well be an early alpha version late in 2011 but a final release will probably be held over until mid-2012. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing in July 2009, so a July 2012 release date for Windows 8 is very much in line with Microsoft’s preference for three-year cycles.

Meego won’t go

At least not onto consumer desktops. I’d love to see Meego (Intel and Nokia’s Linux operating system) do well but I suspect it won’t. Perhaps in set-top boxes and in-car entertainment systems Meego will be a comfortable fit but not as an actual end-user desktop, even on mobile devices. There are simply too many other options available, from Android, to iOS, to WebOS and Chrome OS.

The electronic wallet will remain elusive

It’s another of those long-running predictions: One day your cellphone will replace your wallet. Well, it’s unlikely to be any day in 2011. While most mobile makers have committed to Near Field Communication (NFC) which makes it possible to make payments from a cellphone, the technology will be too new in 2011 for it to gain any momentum. Part of the problem is that retailers will need terminals to accept payments, and a small user base makes this an unnecessary cost. Also, banks still have to work out how to get their cut out of these types of payments, so rollout will be delayed until they have a model in place.

Location-based applications will be big

In 2011, users will become more comfortable with sharing their location using services such as Facebook and Foursquare. Companies will start tapping into these users, offering them discounts and competitions between checked-in users. Others not willing to share their location using social services will be driven insane by constant updates from associates checking into new locations. Someone will (hopefully) devise a tool to auto-unfollow users that are constantly telling you where they are.

2011 in a nutshell << Give your predictions for this year

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