What are the big technology trends for the coming year? My previous predictions have certainly been an interesting read, and while they may prove more fiction than fact it’s always fun to take a stab at what the next round of technology may hold.

Of course the software development trends that were evident on TIOBE a few years ago continue to hold true, Objective-C is now one of the top 3 programming languages right behind C and Java. The meteoric rise of Objective-C is clearly evidenced in the popularity of the Apple iOS and Mac OS X platforms, and was something on my predictions list as part of 2011 but will certainly continue in the near term.

  1. Revenge of the Start Menu. Microsoft will resurrect the fabled Start menu in Windows 8, and will provide a startup option that allows users to run in a Windows classic desktop mode or the new tiled interface. This will very likely coincide with the Surface Pro early in the year, and may in fact help them gain some inroads to the tablet market. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the rest of the year will continue to be dominated by all things Apple.
  2. Intra-Cloud Networks. Many organizations currently undertaking cloud initiatives will re-examine ways for these to get managed in-house. If you already oversee network infrastructure, particularly in a production environment, there is little benefit to cloud-sourcing components in this configuration. As such, you can expect the boon of cloud sourcing to dwindle without many of the larger organizations ever really getting onboard.
  3. Autonomous Vehicles Hit the Road. There is going to be a lot of this, but before the end of the year expect to have one or more cars to choose from that support some kind of autonomous driving. This will very likely mark the end of the hybrid craze as drivers start shopping for cars with advanced cruise control capable of regulating both the speed and direction of the vehicle.
  4. Android Growing Pains. This may be nothing, but we should expect to see some Android vendors defecting to other platforms, with Windows Phone 8 being a logic alternative. The legal wrangling with Apple and Microsoft has many of these vendors scared, and so far Google has done nothing to ameliorate these concerns.
  5. Apple Content Deal with TV Networks. This will be the lynchpin of an AppleTV product; a content licensing agreement for TV on demand covering the major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, FOX) at a fixed monthly cost similar to your current cable. Imagine if $15 a month gained you access to on-demand access for all of your favorite shows using iTunes and of course the as yet unannounced AppleTV.

As always, the real surprises haven’t even been imagined yet. It is quite likely we will see the end for both BlackBerry and Nokia in the months ahead, along with potentially a few other technology giants as the economy continues to drive a downturn in consumer confidence.