2006: Google Netscaped, DVDs Die, Nicole Kidman’s Eye and Robots Fly

  1. Google (GOOG) will be Netscaped. It may take a few years. But flanked by Microsoft andPredictions Yahoo on one side and just about every scorned VC on the other, where’s the sustainability? (OK, maybe it’s envy).
  2. NASDAQ at year end = 2,512.16.
  3. Downloadable movies (not just TV shows and videos) hit mainstream. Portable media devices also gain popularity, become easier to use and create more headaches for Hollywood studios struggling with digital rights management.
  4. The Donald’s squeeze redux – Trump feels the real estate squeeze. Sells off assets, cancels upcoming projects, and trys to ride the slowing Apprentice gravy train for every phony baloney penny.
  5. DVD’s release simultaneously with theater premiere. Finally movie moguls will realize the potential of all-guns a blazing marketing campaigns that give consumers two buying options at launch of a movie: theater or DVD. And maybe eventually a third…download?
  6. DVD sales growth slows (see #3).
  7. Intel re-brand effort (“Leap ahead”) will be hugely successful and spur new revenue streams, increase brand awareness beyond PCs and laptops, and mark the end of the Grove era (hail Otellini). Expect other once-glorious tech growth stars to follow. Cisco? Sun? IBM?
  8. Real estate: home price appreciation slows, but bubble does not burst.
  9. On the auto front: the emergence of complete digital LCD dash displays, more luxury hybrids hit market, Hyundai continues quality and market share increase as do other Korean automakers, Toyota will become world’s #1 automaker.
  10. LCD displays become newsprint-like. Flexible LCD displays will start appearing on the market that enable screens to fold, and bend like their paper counterparts.
  11. BlackBerry will settle NTP patent issue, see stock increase and strong 2006 financial and subscriber performance.
  12. Microsoft: XBOX 360 numbers miss, PS3 knocks it out; Vista OS still does not ship in 2006, pushed to early 2007 launch; pressure on board and Gates to oust Ballmer.
  13. World Cup 2006 Germany: Argentina.
  14. Enron saga finally nears end with strong penalties, fines and jail time for Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
  15. Price of gold, gas, and guns: down, down, unchanged.
  16. Interest rates: up in 1H’06, down slightly in 2H’06.
  17. Celebrities: Tom Hanks = Biggest Comeback; Steve Carell = Biggest Star; Tom Cruise = Disappeared; Nicole Kidman = more plastic surgery.
  18. More HDTV channels will finally be available, and be accessible with simpler all-in-one set-top boxes at prices that don’t break the bank.
  19. More robots in the home. Not just vacuums (Roomba), but also robots for security, entertainment, home repair, and personal pleasure.
  20. Burn your hard drive, flash memory rules! It’s the bottleneck on every PC, that dreaded “chugging” and “ticking” sound your hard drive makes as it does who knows what. Those days are nearing an end…bring on flash memory. But not just for storage. How about instant-on? Zero wait time. Look for devices to start using flash memory instead of traditional hard drives. Operating systems will be optimized and eventually even designed for flash memory.
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