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Giga Predicts 'Next Big Thing(s)'

Sleek PCs, voice browsing and high-speed wireless are among the technologies tabbed as up-and-comers by Giga Information Group

"Every few years, the communications industry goes through a paradigm shift as a result of a product that causes people to do things in a completely different way," said Stan Schatt, a vice president with the Cambridge, Mass., research firm.

Coming trends include new PCs. Apple has succeeded in leading the transformation of the desktop devices, and its style movement, which caught on with consumers, is being emulated by larger sellers.

"As performance has become less important, desktop real estate more dear and Apple more visible, the move to differentiation through design is moving to companies like Dell and Gateway," said Rob Enderle, a Giga vice president. "IBM's prototype Meta Pad, the Tablet PC and emerging companies like ClearCube have all helped compel the market to look beyond the 'ugly white box.'"

Also on the horizon is a voice user interface (VUI) that communicates with the Web. Giga believes the high growth in the mobile work force and emergence of multi-modal applications will accelerate the adoption of the voice Web interface as the alternative browser.

In a related prediction, Giga predicts "ultra wideband" (UWB) wireless technology will soon deliver speeds up to 100Mbps, the ability to look through walls and to coexist with current wireless technologies without interference.

Among its benefits are low power use, a smaller space requirements and increased security.