Birnbach Communications’ Top Predictions for 2011, Part V

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Here’s Part V of our predictions, Top trends from 2010 that will continue in 2011.

  • Mobile access will become increasingly important in 2011, thanks to the popularity of tablets and the rollout of 4G wireless networks.

  • In-flight Internet access did become more widely available in 2010, and we expect it to grow more popular in 2011.

  • Online credibility will continue to be important.

  • Location-based services and behavioral targeting by advertisers.

  • Online privacy will continue to be important.

  • Three tech companies received the bulk of media attention in 2010, and they will continue to so in 2011. According to a study for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, those companies were Apple (15.1 percent) and Google (11.4 percent), followed by Microsoft (3 percent). (Tech writer Farhad Manjoo wrote an article that discusses the reasons in an NPR interview, “Does Apple Get Too Much Media Love?“) We think that Facebook will join AAPL, GOOG and MSFT in being the most written about tech companies.

  • Two main topics were the focus of much of the consumer tech coverage in 2010, and they will continue to do so in 2011, too. The two topics: smartphones and digital cameras (although fewer people feel the need to use the word “digital” to describe cameras anymore). Tablets will become a more important topic in 2011, as noted above.

  • Videoconferencing no longer resides just in executive conference rooms. You can now get videoconferencing a growing number of devices and a growing number of carriers thanks to 4G rollouts.

  • The continued growth of e-books and e-reader sales, following record e-reader sales and some e-books outselling their deadwood version. There are now best seller charts for e-books, for example. And after a record year in the sales of e-readers, expect another record year in e-book sales, leading to articles in 2011 that talk about the inevitability of the shift to e-books, especially after the expected launch of Google Editions, which is set to offer read-on-any device e-books. The one exception will be children’s books, especially popup books (to be known as 3-D books).

  • The continued evolution of communications. People under age 28 don’t use their smartphones to place or receive calls – instead, they use them to text, not email, their friends. People above the age of 28 prefer email. The telephone carriers love texting because they make significant margins from texts. Expect more coverage, and more people switching to texting.

Notice, too, what did not make this list:

  • MySpace: Obviously not 2010 technology, but clearly not one of Rupert Murdoch’s successes. I saw an article in my town’s local weekly paper that touched on MySpace by asking, “Does anyone remember its URL?” Ouch.
  • Chatroulette: Which blasted onto the scene in early 2010, quickly becoming the source of jokes for late night comedians, hadn’t been in months until an article in the Times reminded everyone. The Times thinks that options you might call Son of Chatroulette — connecting via text, connecting via video using Facebook IDs (to reduce the likelihood of bad behavior) will succeed where Chatroulette’s naked men failed the effort. We’re not so sure. We can’t keep up with our friends and friends of friends even now, much less to make connections to new people the way these Sons of Chatroulette make possible.

Check out Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Let us know if you agree or disagree.

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