An Overview of the Future of Technology
The following was inspired by a TWiM episode from before the new year.
Convergence is happening, just slowly. Cell phones are getting better internet access. Computers are becoming more mobile. And other devices (cameras, video cameras, etc) are becoming more connected. Give the designers and the engineers a couple of years and we are going to see some truly awesome stuff (iPhone).
Now onto the predictions. There are two camps of people: pros and everyone else. The pros will continue to use expensive cameras and bulky laptops for their work. Their lives will get easier because those computers will continue to adopt new technology like EVDO which enables mobile uploads. For the average person this is just too much stuff. User-created content will continue to grow, and will become even easier to generate. Cameras in phones will continue to advance and the phones will become easier to use to the point where I can shoot a video of my friend at a party and upload it on the spot to youtube, myspace, etc. Video quality doesn't matter much, convenience does: just look at youtube for example. A little while later, this behavior will enter into mainstream journalism, and I predict we will start to see journalists upload pictures and write stories from mobile devices. If these stories are uploaded to pro new sources (papers, TV stations) or blogs is yet to be seen, but citizen journalism is only going to grow.
Now that we have all this great content, we need a way to view it. Sure, computers will still be able to view all this, but the majority of viewers will shift to mobile devices and television-attached consoles (video game systems, iTV, etc.). The quality of the viewer doesn't matter because the content is already low quality. And the quality of each part of the system is only going to improve. As far as the pro content goes, people will still want to see it, but they want to see it on their terms. People are going to demand cheap and easy access to the content. People want to watch their sports event, movie, music video or something else on their phone, TV, computer, ipod, whatever for one low price. HD will continue to grow.
Last, the level of interactivity between all these platforms and devices is going to go through the roof. Friends will be able to send text messages from phones their friends TV consoles with a link to the latest viral video. The level of integration and communication in the future will be unprecedented.