Saturday, January 3, 2009

Consumer Trends in 2009

Netbooks: These smaller than normal (9-12 screens) computers are fast becoming the growing edge of computer sales according to some market analysts. Portability, battery life and most of all a modest price point make them extremely attractive to a public already indoctrinated into handheld computing with the iPhone. Big question: Will Apple get on board with their own netbook (perhaps a larger version of an iPhone/iPod Touch?)

Get ready for Windows 7, Microsoft’s new generation of operating system if only because Redmond has got to shift the focus from its much maligned Vista OS even if Win7 is the same thing under the hood. No more dawdling, Mr. Ballmer; put up or shut up in 2009.

Feast on Memory (RAM) and Stock up on Storage (Hard Drive). Prices on both RAM for your CPU and Hard Drive space have dropped like the stock market. Why not save some money and just juice up that old computer? Find out how much memory your computer can use (remember that 32 bit machines can only use a little more than 3 Gigabytes of RAM); I recently bought 4 Gigs of RAM for my MacBook Pro for around $60. Look for quality in the hard drives but buy big and back up! Prices are so low! ( The cost per gigabyte of memory in Feb. 2000 for a 20 GB Fujitsu hard drive was $19.73/GB. In April 2005 a Western 250 GB sold for $1.15/GB and right now a Western My Book 1 Terabyte (1,000 Gigabytes) sells for $.18/GB.

The impact of a tech-savvy president will be felt far and wide. Soon-to-be President Barak Obama is a child of the electronic age and is completely comfortable communicating in that format. What impact will this have on political life and our national future? Probably not much to start with but what happens when Pres. Obama is stymied by Congress and takes his case to YouTube or social networking sites to make his point to the American people directly?

Telcom feeding frenzy. Expect the few remaining, giant telcom players to start squeezing consumers for higher rates, e.g my wife just got a text message on her ATT phone inviting her to activate text messaging so that she could be charged $.20/message incoming and outgoing. Parents, watch out for those exploding phone bills when your teens start tapping incessantly to keep in touch with their many BFF’s. A major cable company is “bragging” about a $24/month local digital phone call plan! Vonage offers the whole country and a few of our neighboring nations for about the same price. I predict that one of the major telcoms will gobble up Vonage soon and silence it so that they can reduce competition and wring the most out of the customer. Long live capitalism!

Are you my “friend”? Social networks sites will start having a deeper and deeper penetration into the culture first as baby boomers with time on their hands join Facebook to see the grandchildren who are often spread all over the country because of scare jobs. Secondly, because finding work is all about who you know and not so much what you know, professional networks like LinkedIn, Plaxo and Pulse will become the place to find new jobs, clients and colleagues.

What are your predictions?


bgawk said...

Good predictions, 1 small correction about jobhunting. As Gary once said on Internet Advisor, "It's who knows what you know!" So specialized knowledge is important, but it's just as important for others (potential clients) to know that you know. It's something I'm working on since I have been involved in many different kinds of jobs including IT over the past 30 years and what I think is obvious is really not that obvious to everyone!

Foster Braun said...

Good point. So what are your predictions.