Four Disruptive Technologies for 2009

We’re nearing the end of the year, and now happens to be a good time to single out some of the disruptive technologies that are likely to affect web workers next year. 2009 is slated to bring a few very major connectivity technologies that have been years in the making, mired in the standardization process, to fruition. It also promises to bring some surprises from the world of open source into the spotlight.

Here are four disruptive technologies that could have a big impact on how you work.

USB 3.0. A few months ago, I wrote about the status and the promise of the new, proposed Universal Serial Bus 3.0 specification. This week, at the USB Superspeed Developers Conference in San Jose, the USB Implementers Group delivered the specification, and the race is going to be on to deliver products.

USB 3.0 promises mighty speed increases for data transfer via USB ports–up to ten times faster. According to speakers at the conference, a flash drive based on USB 3.0 can move a gigabyte of data to a host device in 3.3 seconds, compared to 33 seconds with USB 2.0. Digital camera-based photo transfers via USB, external storage drives, and many other common things will see big boosts here. I expect quite a few products to arrive in the second half of next year.

802.11n. Many of us already use Draft-n Wi-Fi technology, but the ratification of the 802.11n standard, expected toward the end of next year, will be when many businesses standardize on it, and will lead many new products to market. If you’re still using 802.11g, 802.11n is far faster. GigaOm also did an eyebrow-raising piece recently on a dual 802.11n device from Proxim Wireless that purportedly transmits data at speeds of over 300Mbps, almost seven times faster than current wireless networks.

Android and Linux phones. Amid all the hubbub about the T-Mobile G1 phone, which runs the open source Android operating system from Google, the fact that Android is version 1.0 technology gets lost. I expect the Android phones to become much slicker next year, and applications to proliferate online, giving the iPhone a real run for its money. If Google is smart, they’ll subsidize some of this.

Meanwhile, phones based on the Linux-based LiMo platform will get better, and come in more flavors. The LiMo Foundation has many big backers, and some of these phones should be inexpensive and competitive as well.

Instant-On computing. Many of the netbooks, and some laptops, are already offering Linux-based Instant-On features, mostly based on SplashTop’s technology.  Meanwhile, Phoenix Technologies–a long-standing player in the BIOS technology world, is proliferating the trend outside of the Linux realm, and Dell is buying in with some of its laptops. These features are very convenient for when you want do something like check the weather at your destination just before you leave for a flight. You don’t have to wait for a system boot, which Windows users especially appreciate. There will be much more of this next year.

Image credit: Flickr user Bloomsberries.

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