What I Really Want for Christmas
Flexible displays, cheap SSDs, and an unrestricted Web. I'm pretty sure none of these things are attainable in 2010. Here are seven things I wish I could get for Christmas.
Practical 3D TV
I'd love 3D in my living room, but I'm near-sighted and can't stand the idea of keeping a bunch of spare sets of 3D glasses on hand for any friends or family who might stop by to watch a game. Until I can get quality 3D TV without the hassle of expensive, specialized accessories, that whole technology category is dead to me. Several companies are expected to unveil polarized and glasses-free 3D TVs at CES in January, but we'll be lucky to see affordable large-screen models by Christmas 2011.
Solid-state drives are faster and lighter, and use less energy, than conventional spinning hard disks, but they remain absurdly expensive. If Santa has any love for me at all, he'll lower the cost of these components by 50 percent on Christmas morning.
With thousands of companies around the world cranking out Windows PCs, it's a sad fact that none of them rival the design elegance of Apple's offerings. While companies like Dell and HP have made attempts, and Sony sometimes gets close, I'm still waiting for a serious Windows-based rival to the svelte MacBook Air. (Until then, I'll run Boot Camp.)
Thanks to Google Android, Linux is taking the smartphone world by storm. But after nearly 20 years of development and evangelism, it's still a meager 1 percent of the desktop computing market, and it doesn't show any signs of breaking that virtual ceiling. Pending a miracle, the Linux desktop remains an improbable dream.
A tablet PC that you can roll up and fit in your back pocket? Display manufacturers have been promising polymer-based flexible screens for a decade, but it remains irritatingly elusive.
(Image courtesy of Pioneer.)
Thanks to a recent FCC vote on net neutrality, we can give up on the dream of a free Internet in which large ISPs and corporate interests don't squeeze out the little guys and restrict consumer choice. This bit of regulatory humbuggery will continue to scrooge both small businesses and consumers for years to come.
First-Run Streaming Movies
In 2010 my family made a gradual transition from cable TV to streaming video with Roku and Apple TV. But the movie selection on Netflix and Hulu Plus still looks more like the bargain bin than the box office. Given that a night at the cinema now costs more than $40 for two people, I'd gladly pay a premium to view opening-night theatrical releases from the privacy of my couch.