Monday, January 04, 2010

A Review of my 2009 Predictions...Not Bad

For the last couple years in early January, I have made some predictions about the electronic products and services that I thought would be popular during the coming year. I will do this again in next week’s column for 2010, but this week, as promised a year ago, we will review what I predicted for 2009. As you will read, I didn’t do too badly.

My first prediction was a no-brainer. Last January we were looking down the barrel of the analog broadcasting shut down, then scheduled for February. I said then that this was going to be a mess and it was. As you may remember, February came and went and we were still watching analog TV. After delays in the Converter Box Coupon Program and the FCC’s failed leadership, we delayed the shut down till June. Those extra months helped and after a week of viewers adjusting their antennas, programming their converter boxes and in some cases buying new TV sets, all seems to be well in family and living rooms throughout the land.

Another prediction that seemed to have been on target is the continued miniaturation of all things electronic. The once “cigarette-pack-size” original iPod MP3 player has now shrunk to the size of a postage stamp. As the physical size contracted, the capacities increased and the prices dropped. You can now buy a very nice MP3 that measures 1.5 x 1.5 inches, has space for 500 songs, a built in FM radio and audio recorder for about $30.

Small is not always better. Many of these devices use Micro SD memory cards. While they can hold lots of songs they are about the size of the fingernail on your pinky finger. The other morning as I was inserting one into my MP3 player it popped out and went flying to the floor of my kitchen. It took me about five minutes to find it. Thank heavens the carpet was light colored and the SD card was black.

The last prediction I made was less clairvoyant. I thought that mobile video services would expand once the digital TV transition was complete. While there are more mobile video services available with programming available on smart phones and other hand held devices, it is still in the early adopter phase. While the technology has developed, the lack of risk capital to fund these expensive networks has slowed progress.

Next week we will look ahead 12 months.

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