Back To The Future I: The Dinosaurs of 2020

The Year: 2020 Pile the kids into your time-traveling DeLorean, hit 88 miles per hour, and travel all the way back to your 2008 home. Once they get past the gasoline-powered SUV in the driveway, use your now old-fashioned key to open the door to life in 2008. What items are the kids most likely to point at and say, “Hey, what’s this?” Here are our predictions for future dinosaurs. Tell us your predictions in the comments. Landline Phones (and Dial-Up) That last home phone will have been sold in the early 2010s and by 2020, only businesses will have stationary phones which, of course, will be VoIP-powered, not analog. Dial-up modems will finally die along with the landline. See ya, NetZero! Desktop Computers By 2020, the only mini-tower on your desk will be a scale model of the Eiffel Tower. As the price difference between portable and stationary systems dwindles, manufacturers will gradually stop producing desktop PCs. Notebooks will reign supreme, but stationary and mobile touchscreen PCs will also be quite popular. Wired Chargers At some point in the next 12 years you may be able to hurl your collection of wall warts onto a roaring pyre and cheer in the streets with your fellow technophiles. Contactless charging technologies will mean the end of proprietary adapters. Hard Drives It’s going to be all solid state, all the time. Mechanical rotating magnetic storage will seem as antiquated and impractical as a record-playing jukebox today (without any of the charm). Up to 128GB SSDs will be on the market by the end of this year, so it’s certainly feasible that we’ll see 1 terabyte SSDs inside notebooks in 12 years. USB and Video Cables Okay, wires might never completely disappear, but the most annoying snarls will be a thing of the past. Short-range wireless will take over USB, video connections, and especially headphone cables. And technologies like TransferJet will let you move huge files in seconds by simply touching two devices together. DVDs (Optical Media) Blu-ray may have won the high-def format war against HD-DVD, but it will ultimately be left in the dust by HD content you can download or stream on demand. It’s already happening with devices like the Vudu set-top box and Apple TV, and by 2020, all of it will go mobile. Thumb Drives The cheap and cheerful USB flash drive is really nothing but a capacious floppy disk. Ubiquitous connectivity to your data in the cloud will largely replace these devices. Someone will have to devise a new standard for corporate swag. Satellite Radio With ubiquitous mobile broadband will come the end of the expensive Sirius/XM experiment. Audio broadcasts streaming live from the Internet will be available everywhere, even in your car. A handful of HD Radio AM and FM stations will cling to life.

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  1. PocketRadio Says:

    “Chrysler announces wireless Internet access in 2009 models”

    “As long predicted in this blog and elsewhere (okay, everywhere), it is inevitable that every new car driving off a showroom lot will eventually be high-speed Internet enabled. And the consequences for the radio industry – both good and bad – are profound… Fourth, that tiny whimper you just heard was the final gasp of HD Radio. Time to move on to the real challenges, radio.”

    I hope that you and Mark Ramsey are right, so we can put an end to those HD Radio/IBOC jammers!

  2. Steve Says:

    As the evidence that cell phones cause cancer grows, I cannot see how they will replace land lines ever. What happens if we learn that much of the electromagnetic spectrum we use (wireless internet, cordless phones. etc) causes cancer? And then there are the many toxic chemicals used in manufacture or actually present in our gadgets. What if we find they’re lethal as well? We may find out that a lot of our tech is killing us? Then what?

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