This article spotlights a dozen major technological innovations, on the near horizon that will soon impact business and change everything about computing at work, on the road and at home. The author gives readers an overview of each technology development and provides the information and insights needed by companies to prepare for and exploit the coming changes. Among the interesting technological changes about to arrive:

Wireless charging of electronic devices (laptops, phones) by simply placing them on a universal charging pad. The technology will hit the market in 2008, with wireless charging likely to become commonplace in 2010.

Roll-out displays. The smaller and more powerful that electronic devices become the more difficult they are to use. Eink and Philips have developed a malleable alternative to LCD screens, so-called “electronic paper,” that sandwiches light emitting diodes between flexible polymers rather than glass. These ultra-thin displays are shatterproof and can be rolled into tight spools. The result is a wide-screen monitor that can be carried in your pocket or rolled out of PDAs, cell phones or other electronic devices. The screens are inexpensively manufactured by printing them directly onto sheets of plastic. The first flexible displays are already here but aren’t that flexible yet. Rollable displays will reach the market in 2008 in a 5-inch monochrome display on a Telecom Italia cell phone. By 2010 larger color displays will hit the market.

Table-top computing. Also known as “surface computing,” this allows multiple users to work with data projected onto the surface of a table by touching on-screen objects with fingertips. Microsoft and Mitsubishi are leading the current effort. Microsoft’s surface PC will arrive by the end of the year, though strictly for showcasing in public locations. Microsoft expects to offer conference room versions for businesses by 2010. Home users will get them 1-3 years later, by which time Microsoft claims it will be able to put surface PCs into any flat spot in the home.

This article includes a brief discussion of technology beyond 2010 as well as a brief look at items due within the next few months. A list of over-hyped tech trends is provided, as is a list of promising technologies that the author believes are overdue and likely to remain a long way off. [This last list includes WiMAX – see the previous article “Wi-Fi On Steroids” in this section.]

Source: Robert Strohmeyer, PCWorld, Nov, 2007

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