Let's face it: 2009 is going to suck. Product sales will drop, and projects will get canceled. Raises will be non-existent, and employers will keep slashing jobs.
Despite all that, I am optimistic about 2009. A lot of DSP products are well-positioned to ride out the storm. In fact, some products could even see growth during the next year. Here are my top technologies to watch:
Smart phones. Overall phone sales are expected to drop, but smart phone sales are expected to keep growing. Makes sense to me. If you're on a tight budget, you can't buy a digital camera and a portable media player and a PDA and a handheld game console and a phone. But maybe you can buy a smart phone that does all this and more.
And you might not even have to pay much for that smart phone. You can get an Android G1 at your local Wal-Mart for $179. The iPhone is scheduled to land at Wally-world next year, with some speculating a retail price as low as $99.
Wireless broadband. The FCC recently approved rules that open up so-called "white space" in the TV spectrum to unlicensed devices. The FCC had planned to go one step further and require free Internet access in this spectrum, but recently decided to leave that step to the next administration. I'm guessing that Obama will push for some kind of free access, as he is making broadband access a key part of his stimulus plan.
Speaking of the stimulus plan, there are several other components that are likely to boost broadband and wireless networking, including putting more computers in schools and taking medical records digital. All in all, I think 2009 is looking like a good year for communications infrastructure.
Medical. This is a big area, so I won't try to make specific predictions. However, I will note a few obvious points. First of all, the coming Obama administration clearly has health care as one of its top priorities. Its push to digitize records will have a major impact, as will its larger push to reform the health-care system. Technology is going to be a key component of pushing down costs and providing better, more accessible care.
Then there is the simple fact that people need health care in good times and bad. And the US has an aging population, so the need for health care is likely to rise over time.