The Year Ahead: 2018

The Year Ahead: 2018

This is my annual post where I look ahead to the next year. I’ll make some predictions, but I’ll warn you ahead of time…I don’t always get things right. ;)

Taking a look at last year’s post:

The Year Ahead: 2017

I see I did better than 2016’s  one out of three. 😉 That’s on the “predictions”, which are the big ones that I make, and those are the ones I measure. I also did pretty well with my “speculations”. The latter are much shorter, but I think they have saved some people from surprises.

Before I do that, I noticed that a “miss” for 2016 was a “hit” for 2017 (a waterproof Kindle). I think that’s happened before, where I’m a year ahead of time. I guess I’ve been overly confident in Amazon’s R&D…

Amazon VR

Miss. I’ve probably never talked about a prediction as much during the year, and I was really confident it would happen (maybe next year). Yes, Amazon did do some things with VR (including encouraging development), but I clearly was saying that they would have apps. I said, “The prediction is Amazon apps for VR…”. I’m in VAM (that’s what I call Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged reality) a lot…just about every weekday. It’s quite frustrating that there isn’t an Amazon Prime Video app…it certainly means I watch a lot less of Prime Video than I would. I watch Netflix or Hulu, and the experience is so much better than my TV! Still, this is a miss.

More Bluetooth enabled Kindle EBRs

Partial hit. I said, “I’ll predict that the full current range of Kindle EBRs get refreshed with Bluetooth capable models.” The Oasis was updated with Bluetooth, but the Paperwhite wasn’t. However, I think my narrative description in that prediction was decent. I said, “With Alexa expanding rapidly (including some different type devices, at least one with a screen)…”

Copyright Reform

Hit. Me: “I think we’ll hear something concrete about copyright reform”. I was clear that I wasn’t sure anything would pass, but that it would be proposed. H.R. 1695, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, introduced on March 23, restructures it and there was a lot of discussion about it…check this

Google search

If you want to follow the bill (it has passed the House), and read the actual text, you can do that here:

at Congress.gov

So, one and a half instead of one.

Here’s a look at my speculations:

  • More than 10,000 Alexa skills at Amazon.com: “I think 25,000 is certainly possible, and I would be shocked by 100,000” | TechCrunch reported more than 25,000 on December 15 | HIT
  • Barnes & Noble finds a new CEO | Demos Parneros became the CEO in April | HIT
  • Alexa becomes capable of suggesting apps | HIT
  • The USA Kindle store breaks five million titles | There are, at the time of writing, 5,941,859 | HIT
  • Amazon announces a store presence in Cuba and/or Russia, or at least, plans for them | MISS
  • Amazon continues to explore brick-and-mortar… | PARTIAL HIT. I said they’d open maybe three more Amazon Books stores (one opened near me, and others other places), but that they would also open Amazon Go (the “checkoutless store” to the public
  • Drone delivery…in the UK before the USA | MISS
  • A high level, known executive leaves Amazon for another company | In fact, three major executives from the entertainment arm left…but not all three specifically for another company (there were harassment accusations involved with at least one) | HIT
  • George R.R. Martin releases the next “Game of Thrones” book | We know it’s called the Winds of Winter, but it wasn’t released yet | MISS

Well, the speculation, which is supposed to be wilder, did quite well!

I’m more trepidatious about predicting this year! It’s been a really strange year, and no reason not to see that continuing.

Amazon VAM

Yes, I’m recycling! 😉

I just can’t believe that there won’t be a way to watch Prime Video in VAM space before the end of 2018! That’s the prediction.It might be through an experience (which is what apps for VAM are called), or it might be through some sort of VAM browser system that lets us watch it like we would on a computer.

I do still think Amazon could open a VAM experiences store of some kind (by that I mean you can buy them through Amazon.com), and could develop some sort of authoring system people can use. Amazon branded hardware seems unlikely, but Amazon partnering with another hardware manufacturer might happen. I also expect more VAM content. Amazon did add AR (Augmented Reality) in a limited way to the shopping app…that might get a lot better.

I don’t think they will call it this, but maybe I should just call it VAMazon. 😉

Amazon opens a localized site for the Middle East

There has been quite a bit of commentary about the fact that Kindle books aren’t (legally) available in the Middle East. There have been some rumblings that Amazon would go into Saudi Arabia, and there are other possible countries. A search for “Arabic Kindle edition” at Amazon.com already yields more than 25,000 results, and there’s a very large market for Arabic (and some other Middle Eastern language) literature. I think philosophically, Amazon would also like to be in the Middle East in 2018…

Amazon curtails personal documents for Kindle

I’m not quite sure what this would look like, and I wouldn’t want to see it happen…but I think it could. I doubt there’s much use of it, outside of things like sending web articles (which I think would continue). There’s a lot of complications in dealing with personal documents (in this case, let’s mainly think about book-length documents from non-Amazon sources). I don’t think they’d take away what we already have, but might shut down adding new ones. They could also offer some different way to do it, where it would be more like publishing a video to YouTube, but being able to make it private or invitation only. They have already announced something similar for personal uploaded MP3s (but not ones that match what you’ve bought from Amazon).

Okay, let’s do some of that speculation!

  • Amazon announces several frontrunners for its new headquarters (HQ2). They include deep South and East Coast cities, and at least one in Canada. We may not know officially by the end of 2018 which one will “win”…my guess is that it will be an East Coast city, like Boston…but I do think they’d like to go into a more economically depressed area. Hmm…some place devastated by hurricanes this year, while logistically hard, might be a place Amazon could really make a difference
  • More deals are announced for Alexa in cars
  • Alexa experience creators are given new ways to monetize…and advertising is even a possibility
  • Jeff Bezos may start focusing on something other than Amazon. I don’t see that as a retirement, certainly, but maybe a big charity initiative and a reduction of time on “day to day” Amazon duties. Speculation begins on someone stepping more into the general CEO role…and diversity is a positive part of the story
  • In terms of acquisitions…Amazon might buy a pharmacy chain, or some sort of healthcare provider. One possibility: Doctors on Demand, which does video visits. Huh…this just occurred to me, but they could do a competitor to MoviePass. That might tie into their movie/TV production work
  • Amazon does something notable in Africa
  • There are third-party Alexa-enabled robots now Alexa robot search at Amazon (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). An Amazon-branded robot, which could be more of a toy, but might be able to do some practical things, could be introduced (or at least announced towards the end of the year)
  • As to Kindles…I proposed that the cycle might be one evolutionary year (2017 was that) alternating with a revolutionary one, which would mean we’d get a new model in 2018. I’m not sure about that, though. Won’t surprise me if at least one of the models is retired in 2018…I could most likely see that being the Voyage, but I don’t think the Oasis has been a sales hit. I personally like the Paperwhite and the lowest priced one
  • How about…Amazon entering the education game? By that I mean that they offer classes you can take through them. Not to replace a college, but on specific topics…maybe publishing, maybe programming for Alexa, perhaps some other not-specifically Amazon related things (like English as a Second Language)
  • For Kindle capabilities: I imagine the translation features getting a big enhancement. I think globalization is a focus for Amazon (as it may increasingly be for some other companies)
  • I also have a vague sense of Amazon doing something in transportation, something that makes the news. Autonomous delivery vehicles could certainly be one, as could much more delivery for other companies. I don’t know if ride-sharing is a space I’d enter, but they possibly could

That’s ten speculations…I’d better stop there!

What do you think? Any predictions and/or speculations for Amazon in 2018? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Some of you are already into 2018, so…Happy New Year!


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

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2 Responses to “The Year Ahead: 2018”

  1. Round up #177: | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] some sort of VAM browser system that lets us watch it like we would on a computer.“ —The Year Ahead 2018 (underling added for […]

  2. The Year Ahead: 2019 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] The Year Ahead: 2018 […]

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