5 Technologies Dead by 2013?

I was looking over my list of draft posts (102!), ranging all the way back to 2006, and found this, which was kind of amusing:

Over at The Standard, Don Reisinger predicts the demise of a few consumer technologies:

  • Blu-Ray
  • Desktop PCs
  • Slow mobile networks
  • Local file storage
  • Desktop operating systems

As with all predictions of anything, take this with a grain of salt. We can’t predict things a few months out with much accuracy – how are we going to even begin to predict these kinds of specifics with 5 years of events left to happen?

My thoughts:

I agree with the notion that Blu-Ray will go by the wayside unless something happens to prevent it (and LaserDisk is an apt analogy), but I don’t know that the vendors can really do anything about it. They can’t just arbitrarily lower the price, and the real cost can’t come down without deeper market penetration. There’s a classical chicken-egg problem here. By 2013, portable solid-state disks may be able to compete with DVD in terms of portability, capacity, and price. Solid-state performance would put any optical storage to shame, but it’s still too expensive. We’ll see what happens, but I also do not expect Blu-Ray to survive much longer.

I only partially agree about Desktop PCs. Notebook computers have certainly improved in performance, but desktop computers have also shrunk in size and desktop cases have become more portable and stylish (like Shuttle). Despite the performance gains in notebooks, the advantage in terms of performance to price is still held strongly by desktops, and the DIY crowd (which is a significant part of the PC market) will always be ready to build the next custom PC. It’s also worth further pointing out that the best-performing notebooks don’t even begin to touch the best-performing desktops. It’s not even a real contest. I expect notebooks’ market share to increase, but PCs aren’t going away anytime soon.

I think the surest bet in this list is that slow mobile networks are going to go away. In fact, I think this is kind of an inane prediction, because everyone agrees, and we’re already halfway there anyway.

I disagree wholeheartedly with the last two. Local file storage is definitely not going to go away. I think small portable flash drives will become more and more important, but I also think hard drives are going to continue to be bought and sold in large quantities. Broadband links can only handle so much (think HD movies and games), and people will feel insecure about their personal data if it exists only online (case in point: I’m as much of an online-o-phile as you’ll find, but you can pry my hard drive from my cold, dead fingers). Local backups are vital, regardless of how reliable you think your online storage is. Also, locally installed desktop operating systems are definitely not going to go away. What does he think is going to run all those notebook computers? The Internet? Earth to Don: you can’t install the Internet. You’d need an operating system to get your network interface to work, if for nothing else. Guess which operating system has the greatest device compatibility? Microsoft Windows, kiddies. Even if you get an “internet appliance”, it still has an operating system under the covers; most likely a stripped-down embedded Windows or Linux.

I predict that people will still be reading half-baked predictions and lists in 2013, but those lists won’t be any better than this one.

Too bad the original article can’t be found at that URL anymore.  Looks like he (and I, in places) was mostly wrong, though.  We’re almost to 2013, and all those technologies are still with us.

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