10 technologies for the next decade

Having experienced the technological wonders of the last 10 years, what have gadget and technology fans got to look forward to over the next 10. What will be big in 2020?

Here are 10 buzz areas that you'll be talking about for quite some time, changing the way we interact with the world and how our world interacts with us.

The cloud

No, not a new weather system coming in from the Atlantic, but the way we save data to a server in the sky and then access it from a plethora of devices. You're already using cloud services without necessarily knowing it like Google, Flickr, Facebook and other social networking sites. Over the next 10 years more services like Spotify and even operating systems like the Google Chrome OS will take away the need to store content locally and therefore allow manufacturers to create smaller, thinner devices with better battery life.

Tablet computers

We've already started to see some make it to market, and others rumoured, but a shift toward tablet computing in the home could finally hit real life from 2010 onwards. Why? Because device makers like Apple, Dell, Archos, and Nokia want to make interacting with the Internet, your pictures, and video something that you can do as easily as picking up a magazine from your coffee table. Although the early adopters and the tech-savvy are happy to sit on the sofa with a netbook watching television right now, that isn't the case for the vast majority of people who will need a glossy new device - and some buzz about the tech - to reach for the credit card.

Augmented reality

One that has already started to make inroads thanks to innovative apps for Android and the iPhone, expect augmented reality to start becoming more common place in the future. While consumer applications are still being developed away from the phone arena, think more head up displays (HUD) like you get in first person shooters for the army, for sports or driving.

Ebook readers

Yep, ebook readers have officially landed in the UK and the US for Christmas 2009, but it's just the start of the journey we are going to take in digitising the book. The technology has a lot of interest right now, thanks to some high profile launches, but also a long way to go before it sees mainstream consumer adoption. Will we see a colour screen, flexible device by 2020? Highly likely.

3D TV

There's been a lot of talk about 3D TV so far, but outside of the cinema all the televisions we've seen from the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Philips, and Samsung have largely been demo units and not mass-market consumer models. Whether or not consumers embrace the technology, which is likely to depend on what products the manufacturers chuck out, the price of them, and the availability of decent content, 3D is going to be talked about for some time yet.

OLED

They are out now and available to buy, but unless you're a banker who is still getting a massive bonus this year (even though the economy has collapsed) you aren't going to be buying one yet. Flashforward 10 years and OLED displays will be cheaper and will be seen in devices like digital cameras, tablet PCs, televisions - or anything else that needs a screen. With flexible and transparent variants already being demoed, expect to see them in places you haven't even thought of.


Internet everywhere on everything

At the moment getting online is restricted to your PC, phone and laptop in most cases. Within the next 10 years that's all going to change. Everything from your digital camera to car will have direct access to the Internet to keep you updated with the latest developments, be it road traffic details, the news, or just so you can upload content. Digital life will be instant.

Better battery life

In 10 years we will laugh at the notion that a mobile phone's battery was only able to last a day before it needed recharging. Developments in fuel cell technology are still steaming ahead, meaning that it shouldn't be long before our gadgets will be able to last longer before they'll need charging. If the fuel cell doesn't look after our power needs, by the end of the next decade wireless power should be coming online in more ways than just the charge pads available now. Already demoed by Intel - imagine walking into a room and having every gadget on you automatically start charging. Electrifying. 

Gaming becomes truly interactive

Nintendo has already shown us the way here, but with Project Natal from Microsoft and the Gem from Sony looking to change the way we interact with games consoles, expect to have to get off the sofa a lot more in the future. Games won't be about just clicking your fingers, but actually running the bad guy down, with only the fittest winning.

Location, location, location

We've already started to see a wave of games and services like Gowalla and FourSquare put location-based tourism on the map. These are just the start of a wave of applications and services that will have us dashing around the world to become the mayor of a bar on an island we've never heard of. Just imagine how cool World of Warcraft would be if the world was planet Earth.