According to Gartner’s predictions, by 2012, 50% of traveling workers will leave their notebooks at home in favor of other devices such as iPad, Tablets, and Smartphones.
By 2012, 80% of all commercial software will include elements of open-source technology. Many open-source technologies are mature, stable and well supported. Open Source is here to stay. Such as: specific applications such as Gimp (GIMP.ORG) which are now contenders for the commercial market. Look at the CRM market for good open source examples.
By 2012, at least one-third of business application software spending will be as service subscription instead of as product license (SaaS). The web will allow SaaS providers to compete worldwide against established players. Cloud computing & SaaS will be a big push this year – Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, etc are all moving in that directions. I think this will be big for development projects – many organizations will be showing Proof of Concepts with it — and it offers an option to crowded data centers. This type of development will go in conjunction with the changing view of Desktop platforms to the new alternative devices.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to Gartner’s views since they get it close 33% of the time. The OSS trend has been happening for 10 years now, the mobile trend has been visible for some 3-4 years now, and the service oriented trend has been visible for some 8 years now. They have little forward thinking.
In my opinion right now the trend is towards mobile. If you are a developer and you are not developing your application to run on mobile devices, you are behind. IOS, Android, Mac OSX, and Linux are the targets developers need to focus upon.
The next top trend is HTML5 which lends itself to the cross-platform need above. HTML5 still has a fair amount of shortcomings from a consumer perspective, but will solve those when the applications truly require the missing functionality.
Finally, the consumer markets are hot. Enterprise business continues to trudge along, but if you look around consumerization is everywhere.
So in summary, the trends are mobile/cross platform, HTML5/CSS3, and consumer focused software.
One last moment to think about. The software market is changing rapidly, a far faster pace than Moore’s law predicts. Hardware is also changing rapidly – ARM has changed the mobile industry and is about to change a lot more in the coming months. Software developers need to be looking much further ahead than Gartner just to keep up.