Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Digital Prognostications for 2011

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Now only days remain in 2010, the time has arrived to take a look ahead to what I think 2011 holds in the technology industry. 

1. Digital Disaster August 31st: Now that the switch over from analog to digital is less than nine months away there still hasn't been much if any public education from television stations leaving those who use antennas to receive over the air broadcast television in the dark.  Retailers selling electronics have plenty of television sets with digital tuners in stock, but converter boxes that are required for the millions of existing TV sets that are hooked to antennas are very few and far between on store shelves.  Unless massive public education happens between now and the 31st of August many people who are dependent on over the air signals to get television will be staring at snow after the 31st.

2. No Installment of Call of Duty coming in 2011:  In the past few years many gamers have picked an early Christmas present, the latest installment of Call of Duty.  Early in November 2011 the shelves of retail stores will have a big hole on the shelves where a new installment should be.  All this is because the gutting of executives and employees from Infinity Ward one of the developers of the Call of Duty games.  As a response to controversy over the decision not to have dedicated servers CoD publisher Activision demanded changes at Infinity Ward, and most of the company tendered their resignations.  While there is a Modern Warfare 3 already in development it's expected until 2012.

3.  EA vs. Zynga: Let the legal b***h slapping begin:  At the end of 2010 the surprise success story of social network gaming, Zynga launched Cityville a game where players build (or destroy) their own virtual city.  If this sounds like a game you've probably played before that's because it is.  Electronic Arts is probably watching Cityville very closely and getting their army of lawyers ready to launch lawsuit claiming that Cityville infringes on EA's SimCity patents and copyright. 

4. Video Game Industry Downturn Becomes A Crash and Burn:  Between mid 2009 and the present video game software sales have gotten soft so to speak.  Most game publishers reporting sales down from a year ago which were down from the year before that.  Most sales declines can probably be blamed on the excess of titles to choose from but a shortage of quality games in the market.  Many games are launching at the average retail price only to fall to bargain bin prices in just weeks.  Some games are rushed through development to get into stores, such as EA Sports MMA.  Game publishers will need to cut down on the number of games being developed in order to get better games into stores.  Otherwise the current downturn will turn into something we haven't seen since the video game crash of 1983.

5.  If the Verizon iPhone launches it will be on LTE only:  It has been rumoured since launch of the original iPhone in 2007, an iPhone that runs on Verizon Wireless.  There were rumors that Apple was ordering chips from Qualcomm for a CDMA iPhone.  However the iPhone for CDMA networks has not yet materialized.  Now that Verizon now launched 4G LTE network Apple will be considering an iPhone for Verizon.  While CDMA was a popular technology, it's now outdated.  Cellular bandwidth on CDMA is limited to under 1 Mbps which was just not enough required for many Apps.  As advertised by both Apple and AT&T making a call on a CDMA phone disables any ability to use any other data requiring application such as surfing the web or retrieving an e-mail.  LTE does not have any of these constrictions.  To make sure that the iPhone experience is the same for all users regardless of their cellular carrier (you know that Apple is all about the user experience.)  That means that the dream of a CDMA iPhone will be a dream left in the past.  If Apple announces a Verizon iPhone it will be announced at the start of the year but won't launch until the end of 2011 to give Verizon time to expand their LTE network coverage.

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