Year past, year to come

No Flash-oriented “predictions” here, just what we may reasonably expect from general trends.

2009 was a transition year — not just the economy, but also the gestation period for Flash’s new role. In late 2008 the Player and Mobile teams were merged… last January the Consumer Electronics Show featured big news about the Open Screen Project… mobile partnerships were announced throughout the year. Meanwhile Player Engineering has been creating a single engine that will work across the range of the world’s display screens… to do for interactivity what PostScript did for printing.

2010 is when we’ll see the first generation of results. The Consumer Electronics Show runs January 7-10, and Mobile World Congress is February 15-18. I don’t know what announcements various manufacturing partners will make, but I anticipate much significant news.

But it will take awhile for the next generation of devices to amass sizable audiences. As Scott Janousek notes, content developers have a tricky time assessing which development workflows will reach which audiences when. Some devs prefer the leading edge, while others stay with larger audiences, but everyone developing for interactive screens needs to discover their own best path. The good news is that more options are coming. But the bad news is that more options are coming, too… more to think about, evaluate.

If Flash was quiet in 2009, expect it to bubble and pop in 2010 — not so much with new features as with new audiences, new possibilities for businesses. Expect a lot of discussion about new types of experiences that audiences simply could not have in 2009. It will be a time of experimentation and testing for all of us. Some early adopters will likely have startling successes, while others will not. Best plan for 2010 may be to keep your eyes open, ask questions and stay skeptical, but don’t be afraid to buck the crowd.

I suspect 2010 will be a lot of fun…. ;-)