My prediction for 2008 (for developers)

Here is my prediction for the “Killer App” for 2008. Ok, I am cheating here a little bit – some things are happening now, but are not exposed by the media. You know, the best investments are the one it is almost impossible to get into, unless you build them yourself.

On average, I am working with technologies that are from 2 to 4 years ahead of mass adoption. With that in mind I think 2008 will be the year we start the “personal assistant” war. The short term goal of the game is to make people heavily dependent on the simple and convenient services provided by slightly upgraded gadgets.

The first grand frontier (2008-2009) will be the battle for your cell telephone. 2007 was year of IP telephony making into the masses. Skype was good example of building proprietary platform and luring a lot of people in it. There were bunch of companies that make Skype look like Scrooge – offering similar services at fraction of the Skype’s price. My favorite scheme is MagicJack – for $20 bucks a year you can have unlimited phone service in the US or anywhere on the planet for that matter – while robbing AT&T and other telecoms. There is a number of products coming to market that are going to be just as good for you and just as bad for telecoms. Obviously, it will be followed with legal changes in the next few years that will change the way we pay for regular phones. Second, we will stop using old phones altogether.

It is not too futuristic, and Google and cable/media companies are in the midst of taking over the telecommunications as we know it. It will be replaced with DVRs with VoIP servers in them.
To see it, just look what happens around you. GSM is moving in, with a lot of upgraded infrastructure. I travel a lot, and in my experience I get much better 3G speed/coverage on AT&T then on Sprint or Verizon. With that also comes freedom – unlocked phones, different OS, ability to choose from the much wider range of product. In US the “main” operating systems – Windows, RIM and Apple have 90% of the PDA market. Worldwide, they are less then 20% combined – about as much as Linux ones.

My cell phone is Linux smartphone with a touch screen and VoIP/802.11g. It is in a regular candy bar format, with a normal phone keyboard I can use while driving. It is a bit smaller then iPhone and fits into the same holder. When I am at work or home, calls are automatically routed to VoIP providing better call quality and extra features like unified messaging to boot. When I am on the go or outside of the 3G/WiFi coverage – I have a cell port on the VoIP appliance – so all my calls are routed for free as well. There is no comparison to the Blackberry or Windows devices – at about 50% of the cost with the plan. I would estimate that move to “aggressive” VoIP saves me personally about $1000 in telecom charges – and about as much per telecommuting employee for the company.

Google is about half way there in terms of service offering with GrandCentral VoIP solution. It needs just enough bandwidth – either on its own or with cable/media companies – to offer Gizmo ( standards based/open source Skype alternative) like service in well rounded package for the mass adoption – with “free” adapters converging your phones and PCs into “gvoice” service. If played well, Skype would either have to give in its “lock”/switch to VoIP or face massive drop out rate in the phone area – the main source of their income.

With “always on” network devices in our pockets we are looking at almost unlimited set of applications – personal automated voice driven assistants that would help you to choose (from the “advertisers and rating lists”) all the services and products based on location, preferences and “history” that you might have for better or worth. And believe me, these are very addictive – more then music or video on the go. That means more c/java me for selected few and a lot of Flex apps for convergence UI for the rest of us.

Happy New Year!




3 thoughts on “My prediction for 2008 (for developers)

  1. My wishes for 2008 would be to see the first real IDE for flex.

    Coming from the JEE world, I find it very frustrating to work with Flex Builder 2 or 3. We are getting back 8 years to the past when JBuilder wasn’t able to move a class or a method. Since that time Intellij Idea followed by Eclipse made the work of developping and maintaining applications pleasing or acceptable.

    The Flex world is desperately short of this productivity tools and I can harldy imagine managing big projects with these current “wordpad++” tools. Moreover, I’m not sure that Adobe has the skills to develop a good IDE. Sun which is a good editor (in particular in the virtual machine world) prefered to acquire NetBeans rather than developping its own IDE.

    I hope that the great guys of JetBrains will work a little bit on a real Flex support in Idea. This is the condition to make flex becoming more than a cool and shiny technology to build prototypes…

    Gaetan Zoritchak

  2. I agree that FlexBuilder 2 IDE sucks. I would have to say from firsthand experience that writing good IDE is daunting task. And Flex team got a lot of help from seasoned plug-in developers in the last year. You might want to look @ Flex 3 beta plugin over Eclipse 3.3 J2EE edition in meanwhile. If you are heavy IDEA user any Eclipse distro would not be good for you though.

    I personally do not care much about re-factoring, but would agree that automated deployment, code generation and SPEED (I know speed is not IDE but compiler, which is completely different product) are most important. That is why we developed bunch of plugins that allow us to do normal projects in fraction of time – predictably. As far as getting Flex to IDEA level – that can wait IMHO – I like IDEA on large projects but use Eclipse 3.3 most of the time on my research as it provide me with more plugins and have less assumptions about the way I set up things.
    I hope it does not sound masochistic, but I appreciate certain signals of discomfort when moving to the new technology – makes me reassess my coding habits.

  3. I can’t agree more on the command given.

    I understand almost all scripting language have same issue, but i also see a lot of good chance may just disappear…….

    To me, I am really a lazy guy, and i know how much easier if i go back to develop based on a good IDE like visual studio and Eclipse.


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