Still, I wouldn't want to be a runner-up in today's smartphone arena. Palm folded even faster than I predicted and was snatched up by Hewlett-Packard in April. HP has continued to update Palm's WebOS, but no new WebOS devices have appeared since the acquisition. Windows Phone 7 shipped in 2010, as Microsoft said it would; as I expected, it was a resounding dud. Elsewhere, mobile platform vendors are engaged in a battle of patent lawsuits with no end in sight.
At least Adobe seems to be making some headway. As I predicted, both Google and Motorola announced that their Android 2.2 phones would be able to run Flash 10.1, which ought to have given them an extra boost in the competition with Apple. I didn't predict Steve Jobs to be so candid in his "Thoughts on Flash" memo in April, however -- and indeed, initial tests of Flash running on Android indicate performance is pretty shabby. Maybe I should call this one a draw.
A crater where Sun Microsystems once stood
I must admit I got ahead of myself with my predictions for the ARM processor architecture and OpenCL. Although both moved forward in 2010, neither generated as much buzz among developers as I expected.
If I had to pick the one big error in my 2010 forecast, however, it would be my failure to predict the true fallout of the Oracle/Sun merger. The European Commission gave the deal the green light in January, as I expected. What I didn't foresee was how strained developer relations would become once Oracle took control of Sun's former properties.
There was no announcement of Unbreakable MySQL. Development of the open source database continued apace, and Oracle shored up its support offerings around the product, but only after dropping the lowest price tier and doubling the fees for multiprocessor servers. The decisive blow I expected Oracle to deliver to competing forks never came; in fact, those rebel MySQL offshoots look more attractive than ever.
Worst of all was the impact of the acquisition on the Java ecosystem. I thought the loss of Sun would cause IBM to ramp up its Java efforts to compete more aggressively with Oracle, but instead it merely announced a renewed partnership with its longtime rival. Not long after, the Java Community Process started coming apart at the seams, with critical members resigning in protest of Oracle's heavy-handed governance. It was a bad year for Java, and few in the community see much hope that things will get better soon.
All in all, it was another fair effort in my role as tech prognosticator. The areas where I scored the lowest tended to be those that were clouded by litigation -- and I think we can expect more of that in the coming year. But come back next week to hear more about that, along with my other software development predictions for 2011.
This article, "Hits and misses in software development in 2010," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Neil McAllister's Fatal Exception blog and follow the latest news in programming at InfoWorld.com."