Top Tech Trends – ALA Midwinter 2010

I just realized that I had yet to post my Trends from Midwinter 2010. I will say that I was incredibly pleased with being on the panel with such a great set of librarians, and was overly nervous about the whole thing right up until we started talking. I know it’s silly, but Top Tech Trends is the event that I’ve been attending since my first ALA, and it immediately became a personal career goal to someday be a Trendster. The fact that I actually got to do it still hasn’t really sunk in, especially so early in my career.

I was planning on linking out to a ton of stuff, but this amazing page of links collects pretty much everything that anyone talked about…awesome job putting that together!

Without further ado: My trends, exactly as written before the panel started. I went off the tracks a bit once I started talking, needless to say.

The Year of the App
2009 was the year of the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch App Store….over 1 Billion Apps were downloaded in the first nine months of the App Store, the second billion only 5 months later, and only 3 months from that for Apple to announce 3 billion downloads. 2010 is the year that Apps show up everywhere…small, specialized programs that do one thing in a standalone way are going to be everywhere: every phone, printers, nearly every gadget is going to try and leverage an App Store of some type. Libraries have started down this road with the OCLC Worldcat iPhone App, the DCPL iPhone App, and more coming.

The Death of the App
2010 is also the year of the Death of the App. Many developers are using Apps because they allow functions that were non-existent in other ways. Many of the reasons to program stand-alone Apps disappear when the HTML5 and CSS3 standards become widespread. HTML5 allows for many things that were previously only available by using secondary programming languages or frameworks, like offline storage support, native video tags, svg support for natively scalable graphics, and much, much more. As an increasing number of web developers become familiar with the power of HTML5, we’ll see a burgeoning of amazing websites that rival the AJAX revolution of the last 2-3 years. No less a web powerhouse than Google has said that they won’t develop native apps in the future, and will instead concentrate on web development.

The Year of the eReader
This year will see the release of no less than a dozen different eReader devices, based around the eInk screen made popular by the Amazon Kindle. While Sony and Barnes and Noble launched new readers in 2009, the choices available in 2010 are going to be dizzying. How libraries handle this shift to electronic texts remains to be seen. New and exciting eBook technologies like Blio and Copia are going to revolutionize electronic texts.

The Death of the eReader
Early 2010 is going to be the height of the eReader, and late 2010 will see their decline, as the long-awaited Tablet computing form factor is perfected. The heavy hitters of computing are all producing a form of Tablet system this year, and with a wide variety of customized User Interfaces. With the rise of the Tablet form factor, we’ll see a slow decline of the stand-alone electronic reader, especially as display technology and battery life extend the usability of the Tablets.

9 thoughts on “Top Tech Trends – ALA Midwinter 2010

  1. So I admit to being unfamiliar with HTML5, but the thing that sprang to mind when you made your death of the app prediction at ALA Midwinter was — accelerometers. Insofar as mobile devices have these capacities adhering to the specific device, these feeds of data (acceleration, GPS, whatever) being generated on-board, how much can HTML5 capture that vs. just pushing out content? I can see how having a platform-independent way to do fun multimedia stuff is preferable to redevelopment for every platform, but I don't think it can *replace* apps unless it can handle, not just interactivity between user and content, but interactivity between site and device. Can something like Earth Dragon (disclosure: written by an elementary school classmate) be implemented in HTML5?(As for Google…I can see that as a statement about technology…but I can also see that as a statement that they have their own mobile device, they can build the hardware to play however they like with HTML5, and so it's no skin off their back to go in an HTML5 direction, and anyway lets them leverage their Godhood of the Web…)

  2. So I admit to being unfamiliar with HTML5, but the thing that sprang to mind when you made your death of the app prediction at ALA Midwinter was — accelerometers. Insofar as mobile devices have these capacities adhering to the specific device, these feeds of data (acceleration, GPS, whatever) being generated on-board, how much can HTML5 capture that vs. just pushing out content? I can see how having a platform-independent way to do fun multimedia stuff is preferable to redevelopment for every platform, but I don't think it can *replace* apps unless it can handle, not just interactivity between user and content, but interactivity between site and device. Can something like Earth Dragon (disclosure: written by an elementary school classmate) be implemented in HTML5?

    (As for Google…I can see that as a statement about technology…but I can also see that as a statement that they have their own mobile device, they can build the hardware to play however they like with HTML5, and so it's no skin off their back to go in an HTML5 direction, and anyway lets them leverage their Godhood of the Web…)

  3. It _is_ possible, but some of the issue is whether hardware manufacturers expose their hardware in the right ways. For instance, there is a standard for passing GPS information from the hardware GPS in a mobile device to a web-based app via HTML5. There is no particular reason that other information like this couldn't be passed…although there are speed issues/latency/lag to worry about.

  4. It _is_ possible, but some of the issue is whether hardware manufacturers expose their hardware in the right ways. For instance, there is a standard for passing GPS information from the hardware GPS in a mobile device to a web-based app via HTML5. There is no particular reason that other information like this couldn't be passed…although there are speed issues/latency/lag to worry about.

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