At the end of last year, I made some predictions for 2004. Let’s take a look at how I did.
My predictions are in bold, and my new comments are in regular text.
Devices running Palm OS 6 are going to come out in the first part of the year.
Nope. In fact, no handhelds or smartphones running Cobalt (the new name for OS 6) has been released – or even announced — yet.
I went on to predict that the first generation of Cobalt device would exhibit “sluggishness when multitasking and all-too-frequent crashing.”
We’ll have to wait and see about this one.
I’m confident Windows Mobile 2004 will bring us all the interface improvements we’ve been asking for.
BZZZZZ! Wrong! While Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (the OS upgrade Microsoft actually released) did offer support for VGA screens and landscape mode, it didn’t include any of the other improvements we’ve been hoping for, like a way to easily close applications.
After pointing out that Toshiba had recently released the first VGA Pocket PC, I predicted that several other companies would follow suit, both Palm OS and Pocket PC.
I was half right. There are now VGA Pocket PCs from HP, Dell, Toshiba, ASUS, and Fujitsu-Siemens on the market.
However, no company has released a Palm OS model with a 640-by-480-pixel screen. I assumed Sony would lead the way in this area, and instead it pulled out of the market.
There won’t be any devices running these new [Intel Bulverde/PXA270] processors until the second half of 2004, at the earliest.
D’oh! Intel formally took the wraps off the XScale PXA270 processor in April, and in May Dell announced the Axim X30, the first handheld to use it. At least I was close.
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that someone will release in 2004 a handheld with a tiny hard drive, called a microdrive, built in.
Yes, I finally got one right! This fall, Sharp released the Zaurus SL-C3000, which has a 4 GB Microdrive built in.
By the end of the year we’ll see handhelds debut with dual forms of wireless networking for less than $300, and ones with just Bluetooth for significantly less than that.
Wow, two in a row! In May, the 312 MHz version of the Axim X30 debuted for only $279.
We’ll also see our first handheld with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and some form of cellular-wireless.
Spot on! There are actually several models available now that meet this description, like the iPAQ h6315 and the Siemens SX66.
The Handheld Market
I see a noticeable increase in handheld sales this year, though it won’t be huge.
It’s a little too early to say for sure, as the results for the fourth quarter haven’t been announced yet. But a slight decline in shipments during the first quarter was followed by strong increases in the second and third, so all the signs are positive.
Looks like I got four right, three wrong, and one half right. Pretty darn good when it comes to the difficult job of predicting the future.
I’m carrying on the tradition and I’ve made some predictions for 2005. You can be sure I’ll be back in 2006 to see how I did on them.