How advanced technologies will shape tomorrow's PCs
As technology improves, every aspect of computing will change but according to Robert Strohmeyer, some improvements are already long overdue.
WiMax: Back in 2003, WiMax was heralded as the ultimate solution to the world's connectivity problems, capable of covering an entire city with ubiquitous broadband. WiMax today, however, is little more than an IT backbone for long-distance line-of-sight wide-area networks, largely because it's not very effective for the kinds of mobile devices that most people use for wireless internet services. The basic technology of WiMax may yet evolve as part of future 4G mobile networks, but that's still a long way off.
IPTV: Oh, how we hungered for the video nirvana of IPTV, TV over the web. But broadcasters have yet to produce the amazing lineup of high-def channels, on-demand shows, integrated gaming and digital voice calling that broadband providers promised - and it's anything but ubiquitous. Meanwhile, digital cable has taken the wind out of IPTV's sails.
RFID: If early predictions were to be believed, by now we ought to be walking through supermarkets filling our trollies as tiny radio frequency identification (RFID) tags announce the contents and an RFID-enabled credit card pays the bill. The biggest hold-up has come from industry in-fighting over standardisation.
Virtual reality: Second Life boasts a 3D space in which users can buy and sell property, create objects and socialise, but its graphics still feel more virtual than real. Virtual reality as we imagined it in the 1990s isn't likely to emerge until someone invents a wearable display that people will actually wear.