The shape of things to come


So whatís going to be the next big thing in computing? Well, here is my take on whatís around the corner.


In my last Bugle article I pointed out some problems with Windows 8. Microsoft has now stated that they have listened to customer concerns and have addressed these issues in Windows 8.1, to be released later this year. Having tested a pre-release version for several weeks, I still have my concerns as itís still a messy and confusing product. Together with their recent re-organisation, it now appears that Microsoft has lost interest in domestic and small business computer users and will concentrate in future only on large enterprises.


Do you have a games-loving child? Well you better start saving because top of their Christmas list will be a new games console from either Sony or Microsoft. They will already have decided which one they want, although they might want both! This wonít come cheap. The new Sony PlayStation 4 plus one game will be about £400, the new Xbox One plus one game, nearly £500. Throw in an extra controller and a couple more games and thatís another £160. As most of the games available will be sequels to sequels, I suspect the launches may not go quite according to plan. Watch out for price cuts early next year to shift the unsold consoles.


The pace of technological change in televisions has been high over the last few years. The introduction of plasma and LCD panels heralded an era of high-definition viewing. The introduction of 3D displays hasnít been so successful though and while many new TVs have added more viewing choice, many Smart TVs are confusing to use. Now we have a new format called 4K or ultra-high definition. The 4K represents the number of pixels (4000) across the screen but it will be a long time before weíll be able to watch 4K programmes.† There will be a few trials here and there, just like we had with 3D, but general availability will be years away.


Smart Watches may be the next big thing you hear about. You may have noticed that many younger people do not wear watches anymore. They have no need - their phones tell them the time and all their other essentials, like Facebook\Twitter\WhatsApp updates. The phone, however, is either in their pocket or handbag. Wouldnít it be great if they had something on their wrist that could give them all that informationÖ.. †like a watch! Linked to their phone by Bluetooth, a Smart Watch could do just that. Good battery life and ease of charging will be key to the success of these devices. Look out for a flurry of these products on the market soon.


Personally, Iím hoping the next big thing will be larger tablets. I find the current 7Ē and 10Ē tablets too small and wonder why no one has brought out one in the universal A4 size. Presumably cost and weight are the stumbling blocks but Iím sure that in a few years people will wonder how they managed to surf websites and read articles on those tiny early tablets.


One thing you can be sure of is that there will be plenty of change for changes sake, thatís how the I.T. industry survives after all. There might also be a few cases of dťjŗ-vu.


© Peter Johnston, ByteSupport Ltd† 2013.