Your 2009 Tech and Media Outlook

2008 was a big year. An economic recession, presidential election and wild weather certainly made the year exciting; for tech and media, we saw the continued adoption of smartphones, the advent of online mobile application stores, the success of Twitter, and an increase in the use of social media tools by both young and old.

And 2009 should have a few big stories up its sleeve as well. There’s a lot coming, and hopefully most will be good. Here’s what I see happening…

I, like others, are predicting intense competition between high-speed internet providers to offer greater bandwidth at lower prices. Frankly, it’s about time. For the longest while, Comcast and a few select cable companies dominated the market, keeping bandwidth low and prices high. No longer. 2009 should see some good, old-fashioned capitalistic competition between high-speed broadband providers.

Expect to see a large number of Android-based handsets. Google has made it very clear that it intends to do what it can to drive Apple into the ground in the mobile arena, and there’s a good chance that simply due to the quantity of phones that will carry Android, that could happen. The iPhone will still amass followers, but Android will the year’s OS.

You can be sure you’ll see even greater drops in smartphone prices, as well as BIG jumps in handset hardware. Real camera phones will be everywhere, and manufacturers will need to build better, cheaper handsets to remain competitive. 8-10 megapixel camera phones will be available on every network. WiFi, 3G, UMA, high storage capacities, and GPS will be built into most smartphones.

With the increased competition between handset manufacturers, expect to see more competition between wireless carriers as well. Lower termination fees, plans that allow more people to be in your “circle,” cheaper upgrades, and big steps towards improving customer satisfaction will be the name of the game.

Apple, Apple, Apple! Though Apple has been steadily building a following in the computer market, I’m guessing we’ll see a big boost in adoption rates. Rumors are already going around that Apple is preparing a tablet-sized version of the iTouch with a screen of 7 or 9 inches, which should be announced at Macworld in January. If that device launches, expect to see it become just as popular, if not more popular, than the iPhone.

Smartphones will be everywhere, carried by everyone, and apps stores like those of Apple and Google will be offered by all carriers and manufacturers. Mobile social networking will receive massive support with new and improved mobile applications, which will push the adoption of social media and networking in general. You’ll live by your handset, not your computer.

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter (I like saying things three times when its important)! Facebook made a move last year to acquire the micro-blogging platform, and Twitter wisely refused. All the haters will try to imitate and replicate the popular client, but Twitter will stay on top. Even more people will use it, and Twitter will find a way to monetize its operation without ruining the experience.

Let’s not forget Obama. No, he isn’t social media or technology directly, but the man is more popular right now in media than JFK was. I’m honestly excited and curious to see what develops in Washington with Obama and his interesting potpourri of cabinet members in 2009.

There’s probably a lot more predictions that could be made, but these are the few that top my list. What are your predictions?

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