I believe that within the next 2 years, and probably within the next 12 months, we are going to see the introduction of a global network-based operating system (OS) that will allow the provision of all services – and more – that you are currently used to. Storage space, applications, games, multimedia and the internet will all be available via this single OS.
Computers using Windows, for example, will be able to access all the network-based services, but as web-based services like we see today, such as Google web and desktop search, Gmail and Hotmail, and file sharing and storage services.
New computers will be built as 'thin clients', which are simply terminals logging into a server and accessing server-based applications and services. You might buy a computer which is actually just a monitor that will have built-in internet access capability, which will allow you to log into the global OS. The computer will have no built-in hard drives, as storage will be available via the global network.
You would have a logon to the OS and services, and being network-based means that you would be able to access your profile via any computer that has internet access, anywhere around the world.
The provision of news and entertainment services will be made available as well, similar to how they are via the internet today, but better. TV and movies will be available, probably by subscription, but better than current TV. You would be able to record TV shows on the computer, or schedule your favourite shows at the times you want to see them. The monitors could be similar to TVs, or even connect to your TV via wireless connections, so that you can watch TV shows and movies comfortably, but which are being received by your computer via the internet.
Internet Cafes would allow you to log into your profile. Internet terminals could be made available at libraries, shops, even street corners, that would all allow you access to your profile and the services you have set up for yourself, and could also include video phoning via the internet. Telephone booths would be replaced by 'communications terminals'.
However, that's farther into the future. The beginnings of a major revolution in the internet and communications services will start within the next 2 years, and evolve from there.
That's my prediction.
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