Does Wireless Really Reduce Clutter?

With iOS5, Apple introduced AirPlay mirroring, a feature that would allow the iPad 2 to wirelessly stream its screen contents to a large screen. While the iPad already allowed a teacher/presenter to create and show a presentation from the iPad via a VGA or HDMI adapter, AirPlay suddenly untethered the teacher from the front of the classroom. Unfortunately, AirPlay is a proprietary protocol that Apple only licenses to third party companies for audio devices.

Apple isn't the only company that wanted to keep a wireless display technology all to itself. In January 2010, Intel introduced its own proprietary wireless display protocol called WiDi. Not only does Intel keep this protocol to themselves, they restrict it even further by only allowing it with a few specific combinations of Intel hardware and software (all laptop oriented). The only advantage that WiDi seems to have is that Intel is planning on also enabling Miracast support for newer devices (2nd or 3rd generation Intel Core systems) with WiDi.

What's Miracast? Miracast is a wireless mirroring protocol, formerly known as WiFi Direct Display, that was developed by the WiFi Alliance, and announced January 2011 (note that Apple is a sponsoring member of the WiFi Alliance, and announced AirPlay mirroring in June 2011). The certification process for Miracast was announced at the end of May 2012, and certified devices should be available by the end of the year. Miracast is important because Google introduced support for WiFi Direct (the protocol that drives Miracast) in Android 4, and Texas Instruments will have Miracast certification for its chips which support both Android and the upcoming Windows RT (Windows for ultraportable and tablet devices running on ARM processors).

But wait! There's more!

Last week, AMD held their Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS). There were a number of announcements made at the Summit, but one in particular I found quite unusual, and frustrating. AMD Wireless Display. AMD's approach is to enable wireless display without the artificial Intel WiDi restrictions. Apparently AMD is planning on working with the WiFi Alliance on this protocol (AMD is also a regular member of the Alliance). I'm not sure why AMD doesn't just support Miracast.

Wireless screen mirroring is an incredible feature that many educators are excited about. Unfortunately, it also has the potential of being the source of much frustration.

Will Windows Phone overtake iOS in 2016?

I am always curious how some analysts make their predictions. Magic 8 Ball?

I am definitely not going to say they're wrong, but it is difficult to believe that Windows Phone will actually gain as much market share as they claim. Windows 8 has the potential to combine the laptop and tablet worlds, and some of the early designs actually look appealing. At the same time, critics are pointing out that Microsoft is making too many compromises on the traditional interface in order to make Windows 8 a tablet operating system (OS). If Windows fails to be more than just a mobile-centric OS, I doubt many people will switch from their current mobile OS.

On the Google front, Android phones seem to be doing well, but Google hasn't made as much headway against the iPad as they would like. The Android-based Kindle Fire did really well, but cut Google out of the profit loop by linking to Amazon's store and not Google Play. Additionally, the Fire used Android 2.3 rather than the tablet-centric Honeycomb, and lacked several other features that are found in many other tablets (camera, microphone, bluetooth, GPS, video out, accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor). It would seem that Google is looking to get personally involved with Android's success in tablets with the rumoured launch of the $199 to $249 7-inch Nexus Tablet with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

Not to be out-rumoured, there are claims that Apple is looking to shake things up with iOS devices this year. There have been various photos of the supposed iPhone 5 with a larger screen, and rumours of a new iPad with a smaller screen.

Chances are you will want your phone and tablet running from the same "store". No one really wants to buy an app multiple times. A strong tablet launch by any of these players could really change the market share of the phones as well.

As for RIM in 2016, well... Recall that in the late 90's there were many people predicting the demise of Apple. Will RIM be like Apple, or more like Palm?

I guess all I'm saying is that there is no way I'd want to it to be my job to be trying to predict which phone/tablet OS is going to be on top in four years.