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Interface: Trends for 2003

We’ve got another year of computing and digital trends ahead of us, which will be characterized by some of the breakthrough developments of 2002...

We’ve got another year of computing and digital trends ahead of us, which will be characterized by some of the breakthrough developments of 2002, and the announcements of new products to be launched in the New Year.

There are particular trends which look set to prevail, here are some of them.

The operating systems battle which reach its height, as Linux wrestles more market share from the Microsoft Windows family of products. The fact that Microsoft is loosing court cases in the US, and that it will have to open up its Windows software and decrease its dominance will help! Although 2003 won’t be the year you throw away Windows at home, your company will seriously consider it as a replacement for Windows. Maybe, within this year, you’ll become a Linux user at work.

In 2003, expect a mobile-computing revolution, led by new mobile phones that are actually pocket computers with telephone features!

It seems that the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) revolution will be side-stepped by a revolution in mobile phones, which will completely replace these PDAs as the all-round gadget for users.

In our region, PDAs never really took off, so you could say that we missed the so-called PDA craze, but the year 2003 will witness the rise of multi-function phones in the Middle East. Already, you can exchange all forms of data through your mobile phone. This year, you’ll have the opportunity to buy cheaper fully-featured phones.

PC prices will continue to drop, as you would expect, however what will be interesting in 2003 is to watch how some of the newer peripherals prices drop.

Flat-screen monitors are already dropping in price, and I expect that you’ll be able to afford one this year. Already, 15 inch and 17 inch flat-panels are selling for the price you used to pay for a normal CRT monitor three years ago.

Digital accessories will also go mainstream, meaning that a digital camera or an MP3 player will cost you less this year and the ‘connectivity’ to your PC will improve all the time. It seems, finally, that the home digital entertainment revolution will happen! We’ve got all the gadgets for it, so all that remains is a drop in their prices.

One of the interesting predictions for 2003 is on computer viruses and worms, which are less of a threat because of the awareness of users, on the one hand, and because of the very high attention given to data security in recent years.

Gone will be the days of devastating, massive, world-wide attacks of a virus or worm. In response to this new environment, virus writers will switch their attention to a more ‘stealthy’ type of computer bug: The Trojan.

Trojans cannot be detected by anti-virus software, they are little programs attached to typical software you download off the Internet. They lurk inside, really deep inside, the code of your software and then explode onto the scene. Trojans are difficult to detect because they don’t have clear definitions, so watch out of them in 2003. The only way to protect yourself will be through the misfortune of others. You’ll read news that theirs a Trojan hidden in a certain software program, and you’ll stay clear of it.

There are other trends to consider, but these could be some of the most defining ones in 2003. Within 12 months, hopefully we’ll still be here to look back on these expectations, and to discuss the trends that, literally, came out of nowhere. Those will be the most exciting.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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