Most of us know that Thomas Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, predicted a worldwide market for five computers. Yet we beat on, boats against the current, trying to predict the future.

This year, we brainstormed and argued endlessly - for about an hour. Here are the results.

Some of these picks were on our list last year in some form. Those picks included on-demand video everywhere, clean technology investments, and the move of personal documents and e-mail to the Web. We did OK with those, but they're still works in progress.

If you'd like to offer your own, better predictions, please do.


Time magazine named "You" as its person of the year because community and collaboration, made possible by the Internet, are happening on a scale like never before. YouTube, eBay, MySpace, Digg, Wikipedia, the iPod and other personalization phenomena are examples of how users are participating in and taking control of technologies and content from those who create them.

We believe that this trend will only accelerate. Consumers are bypassing the gatekeepers and taking matters into their own hands. Those who cater to this trend stand to reap big profits. Those who fight it will find their products being ignored.


Your phone isn't just for watching "Desperate Housewives" anymore. Brand-name franchises like MTV and Disney are banking that the consumers who bought 1 billion mobile phones this year will be anxious to play with their toys next year.

While most mobile content in the past was repackaged Web content, now the games, advertising, social networks, music and even global positioning systems that can track down your favorite restaurant are being designed for the phone's smaller screen. The improved presentation, easier use of applications and competition among carriers will all inspire people to download more than the occasional video.


Silicon Valley's start-up car company begins production in 2007, as San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla Motors says it will deliver its first electric roadster in the fall. The 120-employee company says the roadster travels from zero to 60 mph in about four seconds and goes about 250 miles on a charge at a running cost of about a penny a mile.

"Who Killed the Electric Car?" was a popular documentary this year, but all sorts of vehicles that use electricity for some or all of their power - hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel-cell cars and pure electrics like the Tesla - seem to be gaining traction.

If Tesla becomes a sales success - the company's taken 260 deposits on cars so far - this could be the start of a movement toward eco-friendly cars and away from gasoline engines. And that's a trend that benefits from the software and engineering expertise of Silicon Valley.


Windows Vista should give a small boost to sales of computers in 2007, but it won't light the world on fire. Endpoint Technologies estimates that about 82 million copies of Vista will be sold, mostly on new computers, representing a 7 percent sales growth rate for the year. While it isn't revolutionary, Vista is expected to deliver reliability, security, compatibility and some new features such as parental controls and the ability to search your system.

Businesses are expected to wait until Microsoft patches any problems with a follow-up version. But within a few years, you can expect Vista to be ubiquitous. However, Web-based software, documents and applications could give it plenty of competition.


While Sony and Microsoft duke it out for hard-core gamers with their high-priced machines, Nintendo's Wii has a chance to become the first console since arguably the Atari 2600 to appeal to the entire family - and find a home in nearly every house. Already, the company's DS handheld is catching on with non-gamers by offering titles such as "Brain Age."

Meanwhile, easy-to-play "casual" games are showing up in gadgets from iPods to mobile phones. You may not get the appeal of "Grand Theft Auto," but just try to avoid playing solitaire while you're waiting for the bus or a meeting to start.

Games were an estimated $28 billion industry worldwide in 2006, according to DFC Intelligence. But the industry remains smaller than the film industry. Casual fans could make games far more ubiquitous.


Privacy will probably be eroded as the communications revolution continues. As records go online and get carried around on unsecured laptops, hackers and computer thieves can expect to score big with identity theft.

The government is also continuing to erode privacy as it pursues the war on terrorism. The latest effort is the FBI's attempt to make sure it can monitor voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) phone calls.

Consumers may also find that they unwittingly expose themselves to privacy violations as they use social networking services such as MySpace, where more than just friends may be lurking. To protect your privacy may require more aggressive measures than just sitting back and watching it all happen.


The tipping point has been reached and it's time for the solar industry to make products that are attainable for the masses. Entrepreneurs are racing to create the most cost-efficient way to build solar for average residents.

While bigger solar companies such as SunPower cash in on corporate contracts, smaller entrepreneurs like Nanosolar or MiaSole are fine-tuning their new thin-film technology. You may not be able to afford a solar roof next year, but it's a sure bet the sun's beams will be used to power everything from Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus to more rounds of venture capital frenzy.


The dream of a world where anyone can watch just about any Hollywood movie ever made in their living rooms at the touch of a button will start to become reality in 2007. AT&T and Verizon are planning big rollouts of their IPTV (Internet protocol television) services, which have the potential to offer hundreds of movies and other programming on demand.

Meanwhile, Apple Computer will launch its iTV device, which will connect consumers' TVs with its iTunes music and movie service. BitTorrent plans to launch an iTunes rival in February with thousands of major studio movies. And with Intel offering Viiv-based entertainment services on PCs and Microsoft already offering downloadable movies to its Xbox 360 users, Sony is likely to follow closely behind with a similar service for its rival PlayStation 3.


You've already replaced your old light bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents. Get ready to swap them out again in 2007, this time with ones made from light emitting diodes.

Light bulbs composed of multiple LEDs that fit into standard lighting sockets are starting to hit store shelves. Prices are still high - typically north of $18 per bulb - but they're starting to get to the point where they make financial sense. New LED bulbs can produce the same light as old-style incandescents while using a fraction of the energy of the already more efficient fluorescent bulbs and lasting far longer than both. LED lighting is also spreading into multicolored mood lighting for retailers as well as white LEDs for car headlights.


In 2007, most cell phones will adhere to a federal requirement to include a GPS chip, which communicates with global positioning satellites. It can provide a location for the cell phone owner, in case of emergencies, but it will also open up a host of new services.

Services based on location are already beginning. For example, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Loopt provides a social mapping service. Using Loopt, Nextel's Boost Mobile alerts you if your invited friends are nearby. Sprint offers a service called Family Locator, to let parents pinpoint the location of their kids with cell phones.

Coming very soon will be tailored searches that depend on your location. Earlier this year, Google signed a deal with Japanese mobile carrier KDDI. The Google search box will appear on KDDI phones in Japan. With the combination of a GPS chip and the Google search engine, search results can be personalized for your location. And you may be hit with a barrage of ads telling you to just walk around the corner to the nearest restaurants or bookstore.