Look ahead 2015

10 things that will happen in tech in 2015

From new international security incidents to virtual reality, these 10 tech trends and developments are all stone-cold locks for 2015.

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Making predictions can be a dangerous business, especially on the Internet where it’s all too easy for readers to go back and see whether or not your prognostications actually came to pass.

That said, I am absolutely confident that the 10 things I list here will come to pass in 2015.

1. We will see another high-profile international hacking/security incident

The Sony hack was a big deal, but now that this approach has been proven to work (there’s really no other way to look at it), we’re virtually guaranteed to see more state-sponsored hacks and cyberattacks, on all kinds of targets for all kinds of reasons.

2. DevOps will continue to go mainstream 

While many big IT organizations continue to live in fear of what they see as the chaos of DevOps, the writing on the wall is clear. Developers—not ops—are now the center of the IT universe, and smart organizations will do everything they can to support agile development and continuous deployment in search of few bugs and faster fixes.

See also: Red Hat CEO Whitehurst on DevOps, apps, and infrastructur

3. Containers— and Docker—will continue to gain momentum

Software containers are an idea that’s time has come. With the complexity of current environments, developers need help creating apps that will run in the most possible places with the least work. Whether it’s Docker or some other supplier that enables that doesn’t really matter.

See also: Red Hat product president Paul Cormier disses the Docker myth

4. Comcast's deal to buy Time Warner Cable will go through

Basically, there’s simply too much money at stake here. There may be some terms and conditions for Comcast, but the deal will close in 2015. 

5. There will be at least one more significant revelation from Edward Snowden

Think you’ve heard the last of this guy? Think again. I guarantee that there’s more to come this year from perhaps tech and security’s most polarizing figure. Bonus: SyFy’s new Ascension mini-series included the line: "We're going full Snowden!" to describe sharing sensitive info with the press.

6. Smartphones will get cheaper—everywhere but the U.S. and Western Europe

Do you really need a $900 smartphone? Just asking this question suggests its own answer. But while a top-of-the-line iPhone 6 Plus approaches the $1,000 mark, there are more and more comparable smartphones available for a fifth of that cost—or even less. Even as people in developing countries snap up these discount models from companies like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and many others, customers in the U.S. and Western Europe will continue to pay top dollar for the latest models. This year at least. By 2016 or 2017, those astronomical prices may be a much harder sell.

7. App usage will go up, but people won't be spending more on apps

The age of mass numbers of consumers paying for mobile apps is over. Free and “freemium” app usage will continue to grow, but the ranks of mobile apps that people will pay for will continue to shrink. App makers will have to find other ways to make a buck.

8. A driverless car is going to get in a serious accident

It may not be the driverless car’s fault, but accidents will happen anyway. And when somebody gets seriously hurt in a crash involving a driverless car, there’s going to be a firestorm of criticism, lawsuits, legislation, and protests. That, more than any technological issue, will be the biggest hurdle for driverless cars. 

9. Affordable virtual reality will start to catch on

People have been making fun of VR for decades now, but they’re going to have to stop in 2015. After Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion last year, plenty of commentators wondered what all the fuss was about. But the consumer release of the product is due in 2015, and based on my look at the $350 developer’s kit, it’s going to be pretty impressive. And that’s the high end! Google’s ingenious Cardboard (nicknamed “Oculus Thrift”) starts at less than $20 (free if you make it yourself) and works with your Android phone to deliver a pretty decent—and surprisingly charming—VR experience. 2015 is the year people are going to start to notice that VR can be cool.

10. If you drop your smartphone, it will break

Sorry, but some things never change.

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