1. Google Wave — which comes from two brothers, Lars and Jens Rasmussen, in Google's Australia office — will become generally available in 2010, with developers racing to create applications. The brothers sold their startup to Google and helped create Google Maps. Google Wave simplifies document and message sharing, and with it all recipients can comment on an original message in real time.
2. Google's Android software is gaining traction on cell phones like Motorola's DROID, Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10 or the HTC Nexus One. In 2010, there will be many more Android phones, challenging Apple's iPhone. Android-based devices like netbooks, videophones and cameras will start to proliferate. Apple won't take this lying down, however — it's expected to introduce a tablet.
3. Mobile eReaders will give Amazon's Kindle more competition. Plastic Logic will launch its sleek QUE proReader (quereader.com) with a large letter-sized touch screen, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this January in Las Vegas. Designed for business users, it will contain books, industry publications and office documents. Plastic Logic's US headquarters are in Mountain View and its technology comes from the University of Cambridge.
4. Better sound from MP3 players and iPods is coming. At CES, Arielle Technologies is showing their i2i Stream Two Pack that links an iPod to headsets or speakers wirelessly. It can transmit CD-quality sound up to 30 feet. They also have folding portable speakers and an FM transmitter to play tunes from an iPod on a car radio. Arda Technologies (ardatech.com) will show chips for high-quality consumer audio.
5. More video cameras will watch you in 2010. Cavium Networks provides highly integrated chips for networking, video, storage, security and communications. At CES, Cavium will show PureVu chips that can be used for remote medicine, industrial imaging, electronic news gathering, telerobotics and surveillance.
6. Expect your cell phone or computer to act as a remote for more consumer products. Arrayent provides software that connects a cell phone's Web browser to consumer devices. For example, it can connect a cell phone to home controls, thermostats, toys and medical monitoring devices.
7. More monitoring devices and sensors will warn of disasters in homes and offices. Mountain View's FireEar will receive a Design and Engineering award at CES for its FE-1100 Home Monitor, manufactured by Orient Direct (ODI), odi.net, another Mountain View company. The FireEar Home Monitor listens for a smoke detector, detects extreme temperatures and senses power outages. A FireEar service notifies the homeowner of a problem by phone call, e-mail or text message. It can also notify the fire department in case of fire. The device and a year's free service costs about $200 from resellers.
8. Mobile accessories will give cell phones office features. Spracht, a subsidiary of ODI, will exhibit Aura Mobile BT, a pocket-sized speakerphone for a cell phone, and Aura BluNote Bluetooth Speaker, a mobile, battery operated speaker for cell phones.
9. Watching TV programs on pocket devices will become more popular in 2010. Many will watch TV programs and short videos on smartphones, putting pressure on cellular networks. Alternatively, broadcast programs can be watched on small-screen handheld TVs. Mountain View's Michley Electronics, with manufacturing in Guangzhou, China, will show portable TVs at CES, the smallest being the Scout 3.5" Portable Digital TV.
10. Digital pens might finally make it in 2010. Intuit Labs have taken a digital pen and integrated it with QuickBase, Intuit's easy-to-use database. Write with the pen on a form and data automatically gets captured in the database. It's simpler than using a laptop, cell phone or tablet for many users. With Intuit's marketing strength and integration with small business applications, it might just take off.
Happy New Year!