I predict… more predictions…

Over at the Guardian, chief techster Charles Arthur has recently posted up his technological predictions for 2009, and as he did pretty well on his scorecard from the 2008 ones, his list is definitely worth a once over to see how it’s going to affect you.

From a PHD point of view, I thought I’d bring out a few of his predictions that are most relevant to us, and extrapolate out a little… but rather than write one big long essay on them, let’s break it down into sections…

…the first being:

Portable devicery

So, Charles touches on several areas which affect people ‘out and about’…

There will be more “netbooks” – aka ultraportables, aka liliputers, like the Asus Eee PC – than ever, and their sales growth will far outpace that of the PC market.

Palm will come close to death, but advance sales of its Pre webphone, plus a little more money from its venture capitalist backers, will save it.

Dongles will fall in price, and data charges will too… So they’ll become pervasive. Let’s put a number on it: 3 million users, PAYG or contract, by the end of the year.

This is probably the year of to be out and about with your technology; connected to the web wherever you are.

Firstly there’s the rise of the netbook; small, inexpensive laptops built to connect to the web, rather than store lots of data, or process lots of information at a time.


And if Microsoft are following Google to host their document programs like Word, PowerPoint etc online, and you can store your documents there too, then a netwbook will be great for a mass audience to work off on the move (rather than simply a few folk blogging from them at the back of conferences).

Then, thanks to the iPhone, there’s the smartphone touchscreen revolution… why bother with a netbook, when you can do it all from your phone (because, of course, it’s way easier, but that’s another point). 


Charles notes the ability that one device, the (potentially) brilliant Palm Pre, has to rescue a company from going under… and equally, if you look at the kicking RIM have got for underdelivering on their attempt (the Blackberry Storm), you realise just how important this sector has become.

Finally, there’s the soon to be ubiquitous ‘dongle’ – USB Modems.  Whilst the whole wi-fi and wi-max debacle sorts itself out over the next couple of years, take up of these devices (as accompaniment to netbooks, laptops etc) will increase rapidly.


It’s the simplest way to connect your computer whilst you’re on the move; you don’t need to buy a coffee to get a connection, or piggy back on someone else’s wi-fi connection… you’re in control, and people like being in control.

Right then, what does that mean for us; the people who connect other people to companies..?

Well, it’s clear that access to the internet is moving out of the bedroom and the office… people are much more likely to be able to access online stuff while they’re on the move.  And if they’re doing it on the move, the things we should be engaging them with should be more fitting for that purpose. 

Less long, intensive experiences, more short snappy helpful things.  Trying to get a handle on where they are, and the circumstances they find themselves in.

For instance; mapping (or geo-targeting-location-based-engagement, as someone will undoubtedly start calling it).


What with handsets that have GPS included, and the triangulation possibilities of wifi/dongles etc, we should be thinking about how we can help people make the most of their environment…

…not bombard them with endless messages they don’t want, but provide something useful they actually want (useful being a key tenet of brand 2.0 functionality).

So think about how you can help people, through technology, out in that thar real world…

More to follow tomorrow 🙂