OK, it takes a big man to admit when he's wrong -- and an even bigger man to gloat about being right... or....something like that.
On this, the eve of the last day of a fairly weird year, let's take a quick trip back and see how I did for tech predictions for 2008...
- The end of the RIAA Reign of Terror
WIN. Rolling score +1
Ironically, it wasn't all of us fighting against the RIAA that made them stop stalking single mothers, it was the economic downturn. Apparently, record labels have better things to do with their money then give it to thugs who sue hospitalized teens?. Who knew? Now they are going to turn to ISPs to "help stop piracy." Good luck with that, guys.
- Massive adoption of non-DRM'ed digital music from the recording industry.
WIN. Rolling score +2
And, done. Turns out that people LIKE having the ability to move their digital music from machine to machine without restrictions... and that by removing digital rights management from digital music, people actually...and this is amazing... buy more music then they steal! Who knew? Oh, that's right... everyone else in the world except the record labels.
BTW, personal Rocket-Fav? Amazon MP3 store. Just...wonderful.
- The age of digital books begins in ernest.
EH..call it a WIN. Rolling score: +3
I can't really tell, but I'm taking the credit anyway.
Sale figures for Amazon's Kindle are still hidden by Amazon, but there's indication that the sales have been at 400,000 through this Christmas season. Sales figures for Sony's eBook reader are estimated at 300,000 for the same time period. Now there are indications that eBook sales on the iPhone have added to the mix. So, those numbers total out at about +1M eBook capable devices in the field just between those three companies. (For comparison, iPod sales hit 1.3M within its first 2 years of operation.) In addition, audio book companies, like Audible, seem to be gaining traction.
Despite Steve Jobs famous, and idiotic, comment that people don't read anymore, it seems that they do - they are just changing how they read. Newspapers are dying, but the content is moving to the web. Physical book sales are dropping, but people are getting their read on in other ways.
For the record, I would never expect that eBook sales will keep pace with other forms of digital media, it's a different audience and consumption model, but I would expect the same ratio of readable media to audio/video media that has always existed...it will just move from the physical realm to the digital realm.
RocketMan's personal fave? It's still the Sony eReader. Granted, I'm a Sony fanboy, but the design of the 505 eReader is just too sexy... plus it's smaller and ergonomically better - you don't accidently flip pages. The eReader store is getting larger by the day, and there's indications that Amazon will open up it's book content to other eBook manufactures...which makes sense - it just enlarges their content sales channel.
- Fold-up, roll-up displays.
LOSS. Rolling score: +3
This one really bums me out - I was expecting to see more out of this technology, and it looked promising at the end of 2007. But, nadda. I'm assuming manufacturing costs coupled with the "are people turning to ebooks" angst has kept the funding low for for foldable displays.
I think we need to put this one back in the oven for 1 more year.
- GPS enabled, well, everything really
WIN. Rolling score: +4
Do you really need me to document this one? Hell, my fracking toothbrush has GPS now.
- The mainstream emergence of "new media."
EH...Jury is still out. Rolling score: +4
Ok, something is happening - but I'm not sure you can call it a "mainstream emergence," yet. Jobs says idiotic things here too, in order to make himself feel better about the poor sales of the Apple iTV. (Which, honestly, is owing in part to the trademarked captive environment of the Apple ecosystem.) However, TV viewership is down, digital video downloads from all sources are up, Netflix and Blockbuster got into the set-top box game, movie theater ticket sales have remained crazy-constant over the past decade... so, who knows?
Does granny have a set-top box streaming movies from Amazon yet? No. Are people moving to a completely digital realm? Yes.
So, no - it's not "mainstream" yet -- but as long as "mainstream" means "people who have just figured out that a computer is more than just a porn machine," that answer will remain "no." However, that demographic is going to, in a very short time, wonder why there's nothing good on the telly anymore...its because the content channels have moved out from under them.
- Verizon will pick up the 700Mhz spectrum.
WIN. Running score: +5
Yup, they got it. Now the real war starts: LTE, WiMax, 4G, or...something else?
- Porn and Wal-Mart don't matter! (The HD-DVD/BluRay war)
WIN. Running score: +6
Jeez, this was over literally as I was writing the words last January. (Thank you Warner...or, rather, thank you Sony for paying off Warner.)
Now the question is: will physical media remain relevant, and what will happen to Blu-Ray versus downloadable media? If the Blu-Ray OEMs don't take a loss leader with their hardware and start selling those boxes for sub-$100, then Blu-Ray's "win" will be a hollow victory
Nah, crap! I can do better. Let's see what I come up with for 2009 this weekend...