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2011 Prediction: The Year to ARM Yourself with Tablets and Apps

By Wayan Vota on January 10, 2011

2011 ICTworks Prediction

As you may have noticed, I’ve been compiling 2011 technology predictions on the ICTworks Network, looking for trends and ideas that would shape our industry this year. After reading those posts, talking with technologists, and surveying the tech landscape, I’ve come up with my thoughts on 2011:

ARM Yourself with Tables and Apps

I think this is the year that we’re gonna see disruptions on par with 2008, when the introduction of netbooks created a whole new hardware category, dropped the price of all hardware types, and even drove Microsoft to extend the life of XP and pretty much give it away to keep marketshare.

There are three big trends that will radically change the technology industry status quo and through that, the ICT4D community too. They are:

1. ARM in Ascension

After years of power greed, computer users and manufacturers are finally realizing that power efficiency is a virtue in consumer goods and absolutely essential in the developing world. In fact, when Intel introduced the Atom processor, it was a disruptive innovation in energy efficient computing.

But guess who’s been sipping power all along? ARM. And in 2011, we’ll see a low-power renaissance with ARM appearing on all manner of mainstream computers. OLPC already has a 2-watt ARM-based XO-1.75, and Microsoft announced it would have an ARM-based Windows OS out later this year.

Once that happens, expect to see ARM-based laptops popping up everywhere, with battery lives measured in days, not hours.

2. A Sea of Tablets

With the surging popularity of the Apple iPad, ever hardware vendor is pushing out a tablet in 2011. Some will be good, many will not, yet, its time for you to get at least one to experiment with. Buy any of them and think of how you can build a sales strategy around a tablet in 2012.

That’s right, 2011 will be messy with tablets. Too many models, all too new and buggy, will wash across our digital lives, and it will take at least a year for the good ones worthy of our time and effort to show themselves. It will also take a year for their practicality to be proven in everything from education to industry.

Or maybe sooner. Check out the World Reader Kindle pilot in Ghana

3. Apps Attack!

Regardless of the hardware, downloadable applications sold via app stores will be all the rage in 2011. Starting with the success of the Apple app store (now for Macbooks too!), software companies are realizing the money to be made in curating an easy software purchase experience. Software developers are also seeing the money on the table and jumping at the chance to sell directly to the consumer.

I hope 2011 will be the year that the ICT4D community takes infoDev’s lead and starts focusing on application development for development (Apps4D), where investments in software development capacity building show real and immediate economic gains in upcoming development centers like Nairobi, Lagos, and Jo’Burg.

No matter what, these three trends will change how information and communication technologies are used for social and economic development across Africa. And I firmly believe these changes will be for the better.

Welcome, 2011, I’m so glad you’re here!

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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2 Comments to “2011 Prediction: The Year to ARM Yourself with Tablets and Apps”

  1. Karen Smith says:

    I think the whole idea of apps is going to blow sky-high this year and in the next 2-3. The innovation happening with apps development is astounding. As soon as you can CONCEIVE of a problem you could solve with the technology built into a device like an iPhone, you find there’s an app for that. Incredible.

    My prediction is that productivity and life-management apps as well as higher-end entertainment apps will balloon soon, and come to a TV near you. The TV experience will change with apps, and devices like the iPhone or other smartphones will have the corresponding remote app so we can move away from idiot hardware designers pathetic attempts at usability.

  2. App Logic says:

    It will be a great year for Apple, but also for other producers. These apps make life easier for us, so is perfect normal that in the next years the sales of apps will increase significantly.