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The year ahead: Steve's top 10 predictions

by Steve Kerrison on 31 December 2007, 11:28

Tags: HEXUS

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The first five

Following much merriment and festivity - and a drinking session involving copious amounts of brandy - HEXUS' Steve Kerrison has joined in the journalists' Christmas tradition of "compiling some sort of end of/beginning of the year list".

Conveniently, the end of one year occurs mightily close to the beginning of another, giving freedom of choice when it comes to deciding whether this list should be about what has happened, or what will happen.

Predicting the future seems more fun than bitching about the past (although with enough requests I'll happily do that too), so here are my top 10 predictions for 2008... These are my favourite predictions, not the most likely, but with 10 of them, hopefully some will be right!

So, in no particular order...

The HD format war will be won

Come Christmas 2008, you'll still be able to buy both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs in stores, but one will have a hell of a lot more shelf space than the other. There'll be enough HDTVs in circulation for the market to be big enough to 'make a decision'.

The companies behind each of the two formats are unlikely to accept co-existence, so one must fall while the other prospers. But which will it be?

Right now, the only people who know the answer to that are fanboys - and even if they turn out to be right, rules of the Internet state that fanboys are always wrong.

If I was a betting man, I'd be reluctant to put money on either format, but backed into a corner, I'd have to say that I reckon HD-DVD may prove the more successful disc because it's a little more prosumer friendly in terms of restrictions.

Either way, this time next year, there will be a 'winner'... And with the discs DRM'd up in both cases - the winner definitely won't be the consumer.

Ubuntu on the high street

Imagine walking past your high street computer store (what's left of them) and seeing Tux in the window...

Dell recently pledged continuing support for Ubuntu Linux. Couple that with recent news that the once 'direct sales only' company will soon be selling in both Tesco and DSGi stores, and it looks likely that the real mainstream users will get their first taste of penguin.

Let us not forget, of course, the Asus EEE PC. It may be a conundrum to pronounce, but it's a Linux-powered mini-beast set to win the hearts of those looking for a truly mobile PC. The EEE PC - and its friends that may follow this year - could well spread the Linux love further still.

Return of the Jedi AMD

AMD's share price could be considered as low as Barry White's voice right now, thanks in part to Phenom delays and tough competition from Intel's Core 2 processors.

But Phenom will hit us en masse this year, and AMD will make a dent in the market with it - even if things haven't gone splendidly for the K10 architecture so far.

It'll be nice to have a bit more choice again, and hopefully the threat of K10 will keep Intel busy and we'll see some nice new CPUs from them too this year (Nehalem, anyone?).

Of course, some idiot suggested that Intel might go bankrupt this year. He changed his mind, pushing back the predicted date. I predict that this year, he'll still be an idiot.

Hard Disks will get in a Solid State

Over the past year price per GiB on SSDs (Solid State Disks) has become favourable enough for some products to start shipping with them.

This year there'll be a steep rise in the number of laptops ditching hard drives for SSDs. We'll have the joys of better battery life, faster access times and higher reliability, so SSD makers would have us believe... let's hope they're right.

Oh, and some people will build RAID-5 arrays of 32GB SSD modules... the first person to do it with their desktop PC and document it in the HEXUS.community gets a virtual cookie from me. (Yes, I realise this incentive does somewhat affect the likely of this prediction).

Taking away BD+

AACS crumbled this year, although there's still not a library quite like DeCSS out there yet to help the free-spirit consumers do what want with their purchases.

Such a thing will probably appear this year, but more importantly, BD+, Blu-Ray's augmented 'anti-fair-use' technology, will take a hit too.

Slysoft's already had a go at it, and I commend them for that, but BD+ remains a problem for Linux users.

Still, if the format war goes as I predicted earlier... who cares?