MyTechBox [Manila Standard Interactive: January 03, 2005]
In 2004, we saw tremendous leap in advancement in terms of technology, particularly in consumer electronics. Even prices have gone done considerably. Imagine, back in 1996, a 500Mb hard disk drive would cost you P5000.00; today, you could get a whopping 80Gb hard drive at the same price, even lower in fact. That’s about 160 times more hard disk space for less money!
Last year alone was a record sale for digital still cameras worldwide. Consider this: I had an early model Kodak digital camera that cost P17,500 back in 2001 and sports only a 1.2-megapixel resolution. Two years later, a 6-megapixel Taiwanese-made digicam sells less than P10,000. Incredible.
That goes to show how fast technology is and its getting cheaper too. Do you even remember playing a VHS or even a VCD, now that DVD is king in home theatre entertainment? Well, hold on to your LayZ-boy armchair as 2005 unleashes some of the best that is yet to come. Take note that the following list is not a prediction nor is it a fearless forecast of mine of what you should expect. These have already been announced a year or two ago, and 2005 is the year the following will finally see the light of day.
1) 64-bit Windows XP: The arrival of 64-bit CPUs dedicated for home computing is the very reason why Microsoft would be releasing a 64-bit Windows XP operating system. AMD, the chipmaker who first introduced 64-bit computing for x86 compatible computers and along with all those PC users who already went 64-bit, are anxiously awaiting for this updated OS from Bill Gate’s team, which it promise to deliver by early 2005.
2) 64-bit applications: And with the upcoming release of a 64-bit Windows XP, applications for the new OS won’t be far behind. The next generation of video games will run on 64-bit computers in 2005, that’s for sure.
3) PCI-Express: The old PCI card format for computers, which replaced the older ISA card architecture back in the 90’s, is also aging in terms of technology and speed. Manufacturers are now slowly by surely equipping motherboards today with PCI-Express slots. This only goes to show that PCI-Express is now the next generation of PCI card standard for upcoming computers. Say goodbye to AGP graphics cards as well.
4) Blu-ray DVD: Sad to say the truth, but our current DVD player hasn’t yet reached the final standard of the DVD format. Blu-ray DVD players (as against today’s player with red laser) started sprouting out in store shelves in Japan in late 2004; expect these new DVD format to hit worldwide in 2005. Now the thing is, there are two competing Blu-ray DVD formats. It’s Betamax vs. VHS all over again.
5) Wireless USB: At home, I have twelve, yes 12, USB wires connected to a single PC. The promise of the wireless USB, now arriving in 2005, will definitely free me of all these spaghetti wires, finally.
6) Intel Sonoma Chipset: Centrino is old news. Intel will be bringing the Sonoma chipsets for the next generation of notebook PC come 2005.
7) Thinner and Cheaper Laptops: Like digital still cameras, laptops are best sellers in 2004. And with the widespread deployment of wi-fi around the globe, laptops will be the gadget of choice for the urban tech warrior, for the thinner and cheaper models that is. (see MyGadget of the week)
8) 3-G Mobile Phones: The biggest hype in mobile phone technology is actually here. The only problem is, local telcos are still cashing in on their investment with 2G and 2.5G. It’s a wait and see attitude out there. The first telco to provide 3G to the Filipino people may either end up a winner or a loser; it’s a Catch-22 thing, really.
9) Dual-core CPU’s: Technically hard to explain in one paragraph what a multi-core CPU is, but believe me this next generation of processing chip is costing both Intel and AMD plenty of man hours just to come out with a CPU model that would get things running for future desktop computers. The two giant chipmakers literally burned out trying to reach the 4GHz clock-speed (too much heat emanating from the chip), and dual-core chip technology may just be the answer for their current never-ending need-for-more-CPU-speed dilemma.
10) 802.11g/802.11n: Forget about 802.11a. What most of us are using right now is 802.11b, meaning we get about 11Mbps wireless network connection speed inside coffee shops and airports. With 802.11g, which is also now a standard in many areas, you’ll get 54Mbps, about five times faster than the previous standard. Now, it’s 802.11n with connection speed that can go more than 100Mbps, and could probably even reach 320Mbps. Wait ‘till they finish off all the alphabets.
11) Wi-Max: the next wireless by-word next only to Wi-Fi. You’ll be hearing more of this term in the coming year as broadband wireless internet (between your Wi-Fi access point and network provider) becomes the norm in many areas around the world.
12) “Kei” cars: Small cars are British invention that made it big in Japan. And with fuel prices hitting record highs, it’s about time to reconsider the size of the next car you’re buying. Choose from Honda Jazz, Kia Piccanto, Toyota Echo and its ilk.
Now, my only question is: How come when international fuel prices go up a dollar, local pump prices go up a peso almost immediately, but when the same oil prices go down more than a dollar or so, local fuel companies have a hard time pulling down prices? And if it does go down, this oil cartel makes it seem that we owe it a lot for the measly 10 cents it deducted. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Maybe country club membership is really taking its toll for these oil company executives. A Sunday without golf? Keep those pump prices high!
MyGadget of the Week: Balance CN4301 PC Notebook
A re-branded ECS A535 and available only online at the Walmart website, this is one of the cheapest wi-fi ready notebook you can get for less than P35,000.00. Highs: wi-fi 802.11b ready; large 14” LCD screen; large 256Mb RAM; 4 USB v2.0 slots; large 40Gb hard drive; fairly fast 1.1GHz mobile AMD 4 processor; acceptable size and weight; with all the features selling at an average price of $600.00, this notebook is a real steal! Lows: bad battery life; available only online. MyVerdict: Price will double if you pay tax and handling; the best way is, have it delivered to a relative in the U.S. if you know that one of them will be coming back to Manila anytime soon.