Beyond hoping to spend more of my time writing applications rather than ETLing data from one place to another, here is my list of things I’m looking forward to in 2012.
Windows 8 – this is the big one for 2012. If Microsoft get this right, then the future is bright. Any missteps are going to be pounced on by the Tech Press and the Microsoft haters. I love the developer preview. It has its flaws on the desktop but on a touch-device, it really works they way I want to.
Office 2012 – if a new version of Office is forthcoming this year, I’d like to see it make use of the touch / tablet / slate paradigm. An improved OneNote designed for Metro on Windows 8 would be great. Improved stylus/pen support being a must. I’d like 2012 to see the end of my need to carry paper-notebooks to meetings. I want to be carrying my cloud enabled OneNote device and pen.
Visual Studio 11 – hopefully the final version of this will be out before the end of the year. I haven’t had much chance to play with the Developer Preview outside of Windows 8 development. VS is my main tool for my day job, so any kind of productivity improvement and increased tooling support for modern day development scenarios will be most welcome.
Windows Phone – I hope Microsoft find a better balance in how they release updates. The curse of all the “social” integration built in at a low-level, is that new features and functionality have to wait until a major update instead of as and when they become available. For the moment, I’d be happy if the actual Facebook Application was kept more up-to-date with the site changes and with the iPhone and Android apps. Twitter on Windows Phone is served better by great third party apps like Rowi, but it would be great if the “official” client kept pace with the other platforms. Google+ integration would be nice too, but I won’t hold me breath.
Nokia Windows Phone – The Lumia is a wonderful phone but without a front-facing camera, it’s not for me. Hopefully we’ll see a new model with front-facing-camera and near-field communication announced this year. For now, I’ll stick with my HTC HD 7, even though the camera experience is frustratingly poor.
Skype/Live Messenger/Lync/Kinect Video – hope to be able to use any of these clients to video call any of the others by the end of the year. Even better if they can support a similar function to the Google Plus Hangout feature.
Integration across platforms – 2011 was a good year for integration across platforms. OneNote on Windows Phone and iPhone. The ever improving Windows Live SkyDrive and Office Web Apps. The new Xbox Companion app on Windows Phone is a personal highlight. Controlling my Xbox from the phone is remarkable smooth and useful experience. The whole new Metro Xbox interface giving a taste of the 3 screens and a cloud strategy starting to come alive. Whilst many have pilloried Microsoft for creating apps for competing platforms, to me it seems like a sound strategy to stay relevant. Being able to access my data using any device I have to hand seems like a big win for me. I hope to see more of these cross-platform apps and a bigger investment in Microsoft cloud based software services.
2012 is going to be a big year on the software front, it is probably going to give us a better idea of whether Microsoft can stay relevant or if there is going to have to be a big shake up in how the big MS is organised.
One thing for sure, it’s not going to be a dull year.