We have one big prediction hanging over our heads as we try to decide what lies ahead of us in the next 12 months, and it has to do with a certain calendar put together by a certain tribe a long, long time ago. Given the number of apocalypses that have come and gone over the years . . . this looks like yet another one.
So, given that it's not The End Of The World As We Know It, what's ahead of us during the coming year? Let me get out my crystal ball and figure this out . . .
Tablets: With the coming of the Kindle Fire, people are unwilling to settle for a non-Apple tablet product at an Apple-like price anymore. The race will be on to make Android tabs cheap, cheaper, cheapest without sacrificing quality, and some will be better at it than others. (I can see netbook king Asus making a splash in this department). Meanwhile, Microsoft will finally debut Office for iPad . . . and it will leave something to be desired, kicking the door open for others to craft productivity apps.
Publishing: This is the year the tablet magazine, which was starting to gain traction toward the end of the year, will finally take off – but it won't be the major publishers like Conde Nast who will have the biggest successes. Rather, it is smaller publications that serve niche markets that will dominate – look for one or two of them to challenge the big boys.
Video Games: Nintendo and Sony will both stubbornly refuse to give up on their handhelds, despite all the handwriting on the wall that points to mobile being the platform of choice for casual gaming, And the platform of choice it will stay, despite at least one console maker loudly announcing they are going to bring out a next-generation console by the end of the year, resulting in a buying frenzy (complete with store riots) that will have some wondering if the Mayans were right after all.
Anime/Manga: Hollywood will descend on the anime catalogue at last, after Spike Lee's Oldboy attracts major attention. The results will be widely mixed – including Warner Bros. finally making a move on a Death Note movie (which will prove to be controversial with fans of the original).
Media: Streamng will become the home of niche programming that doesn't have a home on regular television – soap operas will migrate here (both former network shows and DIY originals), anime will continue to make streaming its home and there will be a boom in hyperlocal programming, like webcasts of local events and school sporting. And speaking of hyperlocal . . .
Web: AOL will finally give up on the ill-fated Patch program, but that doesn't mean hyperlocal is going away. It will thrive in the hands of DIY entrepreneurs, both in the form of web sites and local news apps, and become an important part of community culture – replacing the traditional weekly newspaper.
Geekery in General: The mainstream will continue to embrace geeks . . . and still not quite get it. The geek dating and "geek Jersey Shore" reality shows will debut to a chorus of headdesking – but at least some of the general public will get the "hey, maybe not ALL geeks are like this" idea. Which will open the door for geeks to tell their own story from the inside – and that can only benefit all of us. – Bonnie Walling