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21 Tech Predictions for 2015


It’s the holidays, a time for looking back and reflecting on the year that was.

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One question. Why?

Sure, some good things happened, but so what? We live in an attention deficit world. Good news lasts about a nanosecond. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched bigger iPhones. They’re great phones. Whoopee. Where’s the TV?

As for all the crappy stuff that happened, what’s the point in dwelling on it? Uber’s CEO said some dumb things. Whatever. Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel was a jerk in college. Get over it. Time to move on.

Besides, we’re geeks. We’re into retro but it’s a little too soon to start getting nostalgic about something that happened like nine months ago. I don’t see a bunch of programmers drinking beers after work going, “Hey, remember where you were when Mt. Gox got hacked?”

Still, we should probably take a quick a look at last year’s predictions to see how we did. (Check them out here). Well, what do you know? I killed it except for the one about a killer app for wearables. Some say it’s fitness or health tracking but I’m not ready to call it yet. And I didn’t foresee the Apple Watch delay to 2015. So sue me.

As for my crystal ball for 2015, I promise to be a little more serious and a lot less cynical this time around. Then again, you know what they say about promises?

Magic Leap will make virtual reality a reality. The “cinematic reality” startup that recently raised nearly $542 million in funding will send shockwaves through the tech world when it unveils its first product, a revolutionary eyeglass-type wearable that seamlessly merges real-time and virtual images in 3D and projects them directly onto the retina. The technology could revolutionize how humans and computers interact.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable will merge ... and cut a deal with Apple. After clearing all regulatory hurdles and closing, the new cable giant will sign with Apple, which will reveal its first fully integrated Web – TV solution, including Apple interface and DVR functionality, in the fall. After merging with AT&T (NYSE:T) a DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) deal may follow in 2016.

The Nasdaq will break its all-time record of 5132 and then, pop! This tech bubble won’t burst like in 2000, but just sort of deflate a bit. Cloud computing, Software-as-a-Service, and other overvalued momentum stocks will get killed and take the market down into correction territory. That will chill the IPO market and private company valuations.

Smartwatches will be the next big thing. Apple Watch will dominate this now hot “must have” category with Android Wear devices from Motorola and Samsung a distant second and third. A killer app will emerge (I’m pretty sure about that, this time).

Samsung will get clobbered. Sandwiched between Apple at the high-end and Huawei and Xiaomi at the low end, the Korean electronics giant will continue to lose market share in smartphones. I’m afraid this is going to get ugly.

Social media will continue to mature and fragment. More users will adopt apps for messaging and other specific purposes, take their formerly public sharing private, and integrate live streaming video into their communications. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) will remain strong but user engagement and retention issues will continue to plague Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). CEO Dick Costolo will be pressured to resign.

Net neutrality will flop ... again. The FCC will come up with yet another set of proposed net neutrality regulations and, in trying to please everyone and fend off the sort of legal challenges it faced last time, the hapless agency will once again manage to achieve exactly the opposite result. Everyone will be opposed to the regulations and sue to block it.

Mobile payments will finally take off. The market will remain fragmented but Apple Pay will eventually gain critical mass, at least among the Apple faithful. Samsung will cut a deal with LoopPay to keep pace, but while LoopPay works with existing payment systems, the CardCase is bulky and Apple’s NFC solution is more elegant.

Sony will become Sony Entertainment. CEO Kazuo Hirai will finally figure out that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation) are the company and divest the rest.

Apple’s iOS will become the de facto standard for enterprise mobile. It’s the best-in-class platform with the highest quality app development, including what’s coming out of the IBM (NYSE:IBM) – Apple partnership. Besides, companies already write big enough checks to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and nobody trusts Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and rightly so.

And now, here’s the lightning round for the attention challenged among us, present company excluded, of course:

- Microsoft will continue to transform itself into some sort of mobile – cloud – device company. I’d tell you more but I think that’s all CEO  Satya Nadella’s come up with so far.

- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) will free itself from Bing and reenter the search business. It will not buy AOL (NYSE:AOL). CEO Marissa Mayer will keep her job for another year.

- The Internet of Things will still have absolutely no discernable affect on your life (it’s all sort of behind the scenes).

- Apple’s HomeKit smart home initiative will finally begin to make home automation a feasible reality for mainstream homeowners.

- Google will continue to be evil, learning more about you and your personal life than the NSA, the CIA, the Sony Hackers, and all the rest of the cyber crooks and identity thieves combined.

- Uber will file for an IPO.

- Tesla (NYSE:TSLA) will continue to grow, lose money (in spite of all the government subsidies), and be little more than a niche player that has absolutely zero impact on the auto industry and the environment. And yet, everyone will still think CEO Elon Musk is the second coming.

- Zillow (NYSE:Z) Trulia (NYSE:TRLA) will merge and nobody will notice.

- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) will launch a direct competitor to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY)  in the U.S. Book publishers will continue to consolidate to increase their negotiating clout with Amazon. Amazon will continue to bleed red ink.

- Bitcoin will continue to be the currency of choice for drug dealers, conspiracy theorists, and loony enthusiasts who really should get a life … and a job.

- Silicon Valley will change its name to App Valley.

What do you think?

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