Cable vs 3rd Party Services. Sadly enough there are many people who believe they can't get basic network channels without cable (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CW). As more and more people realize that you can and Net Neutrality rules assist in keeping Netflix & Hulu alive. There will be much more of a rock'em sock'em fight next year.
The CD/DVD drive gets put on final notice. It had to come sooner or later. It took 25 years before VHS died and now its looking like only 10 years for CD/DVD to die. You will probably see more companies using USB sticks to distribute software when you can't get access to the web.
Verizon iPhone. Ok, two things need to happen before this is even remotely possible
- VZW starts using SIM cards (currently on their 4G network)
- VZW agrees to not having control over the phone at all (one reason they lost the contract in the first place)
Tablets, tablets, tablets
So they aren't new, but leave it to Apple to polish up a turd of an industry and make a killing. BlackBerry, Samsung and a few others are working hard to bring their iPad-killers to market. Kudo's to Samsung for actually getting theirs out the door. We have yet to see one that can truly go touch-screen to touch-screen with the iPad, but companies are coming close. For 2011 expect to see more tablets than you ever wanted to see.
3D. I have never been a fan of 3D. I had my first 3D IMAX experience and it was ok. I think the industry is realizing that home-based 3D is probably not going to cut it. I've ran across several 3D televisions and the experience is not there, unless you've spent 10 grand for stadium seating in your mini-mansion. TVs will be thinner, bigger, and have more web-capability built in (a la Google). 3D will be an option (as some manufactures have done) that is seldom used.
Robots!! We've seen some pretty crazy things with robots this year. It will only get better next year. There are more and more "consumer ready" robots, either as toys or vacuum cleaners. We should start to see more in every day work settings.
Gesture based control of EVERYTHING. Thank you Microsoft for finally putting something fantastic out into the world. The MS Kinect which has been hacked, rehacked, and deep-fried (figuratively) to bring us some amazing control over a myriad of things from robots to Netflix. Minority Report has finally arrived. All the hacks are in alpha or beta stages now, but expect real usable software next year.
CoarseSmart, BlackBoard, and a host of other educational platforms will begin taking off as more students are walking around with tablets instead of books. Keep an eye out on companies like Inkling that are providing more social connections in the learning process. The big publishers need to be concerned with the ever increasing avenues available to students to obtain books.
That's it. Of course non of this could be realized by the end of 2011 and we could face 2012 right where we are now. What does your crystal ball say?