Blogs and podcasts are so 2005. In 2006, it's going to be all about vlogs, mobisodes, and cell phones that can swipe credit cards. Tech expert Omar Wasow explained the biggest technology trends predicted for next year:
Expansion of Wireless Internet Access
Wireless Internet access will become more and more pervasive. We have WiFi hot spots, then hot zones. But this year, entire cities -- including San Francisco and Philadelphia -- will be entire urban zones of wireless Internet access. More cities will follow as new technologies make this possible. One technology is called Edge, which uses the next generation of WiFi, called WIMAX. Some of this access will be free; other places you may need to pay a small monthly fee.
Video on Cell Phones
Your cell phone is fast becoming just as overladen with bells, whistles, features and functions as your remote control. The new cell phones can do almost anything. Two new models, which will be available in early 2006, the Motorola PEBL and the Motorola SLVR, have instant access to news, sports and other info. It used to be necessary to download the information or get Internet access through your phone, but Motorola will be pushing this to users. Other new cell phone features will include: video, credit-card swiping and global positioning system functions.
Video on Demand -- Everywhere
There's a new term out there -- "mobisode" -- which is a mobile TV episode. From HBO and movies-on-demand to TV shows, soon you'll be able to watch just about anything on your iPod.
Customized Technology at Home
Companies are looking to make technology in the home more friendly. One company called HANNspree is making customized TVs, and people are already customizing their cell phones with faceplates.
Blogs were so 2005. In 2006, vlogs, or video web logs, will be all the rage. Instead of words, vlogs use video as the primary content and is usually accompanied by supporting text and images to provide context.
Boom in Internet Phone Service
Companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! are getting into the Internet phone-service game. They'll offer international and long-distance phone service at radically reduced prices, and if you place an Internet phone call to another Internet phone connection, the call is free. If you call a landline, it's just 2.5 cents per minute, much less than traditional phone service.
Integrated Digital Media at Home
Home-theater systems that connect your TV, DVD, CD player and iPod into one system will become more popular. These systems retail for about $999.