As 2005 draws to a close, what will 2006 bring? Major IT vendors across the systems, software, security, and mobile sectors offer ZDNet Asia readers a sneak peek of some of their upcoming products.
Look out for more action in the processor realm as Intel dukes it out with AMD to regain mindshare in the multicore processor market. With more than 17 multicore processor designs in development, Intel expects 70 to 85 percent of all its new desk desktop, mobile and server processor shipments will be dual core by the end of 2006.
Intel will also continue to drive its digital enterprise focus with Sossman, a new processor due in 2006 and Averill, a new chip platform for business desktops. A spokesperson told ZDNet Asia that Sossman targets server rack and blade designs where space is constrained, and Averill will help Intel drive dual core processors and the Intel Virtualization Technology into the mainstream.
In the server space, expect Hewlett-Packard to continue its support of Intel's Itanium processor, in addition to x86 processors across the HP ProLiant, HP Integrity, and HP NonStop lines. Upcoming announcements include the dual-core Integrity servers based on future Intel processors, expansion of the open-source stack based on the next generation of the Linux Reference Architecture, and the Next Generation BladeSystem solutions.
HP will also begin offering Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 as part of its enterprise portfolio, including HP consulting, integration and support, HP BladeSystem, HP ProLiant servers and HP Integrity servers, in combination with HP StorageWorks offerings in the Asia-Pacific.
Stay tuned for Seagate's new Momentus 5400 FDE disk notebook drive, which is its first to use perpendicular recording to achieve new levels of hard drive data density and storage capacity. The hard disk drive maker will first introduce the 2.5" perpendicular recording hard disk for notebooks, and progressively launch such hard disks in corporate, desktop, as well as consumer electronics in two to three years' time.
Get online certified
Web-based security looks set to dominate the security space in 2006, and a group of companies that issue the Secure Socket Layer certificates are working with major Web browser makers to develop a new type of "high assurance" certificate. New security certificates will soon be available to authenticate the trustworthiness of Web sites. The new certificates will be an improvement over the Secure Socket Layer certificates, which currently do not distinguish between high and low levels of assurance or trustworthiness.
Antivirus software as a service
In early December, security and backup vendor Symantec announced plans to offer antivirus online. Although it did not indicate a timeframe for the release of the software as a service, a senior Symantec executive said that the move will come as broadband becomes more ubiquitous and purchase of software as a service becomes more mainstream.
Microsoft is also set to launch its OneCare Live next year, but no tentative date has been set. The security subscription service for home users, widely touted to be a challenger to consumer antivirus companies, combines antivirus with antispyware, personal firewall and enables backups to external hard drives. The software giant also has an enterprise solution--Microsoft Client Protection--to protect businesses from malware threats, which is in testing stage.
The handheld device maker plans to unveil its Windows-powered Palm device next year. Experts have called the product "a good thing for corporate IT departments", which can now have a common Windows development platform that's familiar to them.
Treo 650 users will be able to access BlackBerry e-mail services on their handhelds. Starting next year, BlackBerry Connect software will show up as an option on Palm's VersaMail e-mail client.
Nokia gets down to business
Nokia has expanded its business device portfolio with an addition to its high-end smartphone range, the Nokia 9300i smartphone. Incorporating wireless LAN connectivity with a full keyboard, 65,536-color screen, support for a broad range of enterprise e-mail solutions and an attachment viewer, the Nokia 9300i will be available in the first quarter of 2006.
Enterprise users might want to consider the Nokia Business Center software that allows for collaborative business applications in a mobile environment, including push e-mail. This Java-based solution integrates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, followed shortly by support for Lotus Notes and Domino, according to Nokia. Available by the first half of next year.
Yahoo announced in early December new VoIP services riding on Yahoo Messenger with Voice that can make voice calls from a PC to a telephone and receive phone calls using a PC. The beta of the Phone In and Phone out services will launch in countries including the United States, Spain, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore and Germany, but no date has been given. Given the intense competition with its rivals including Google, MSN and Skype, Yahoo may be anxious to debut its new features as soon as it is able to.
Closer to the region, Skype is sniffing out new territory to branch into. Its CEO Niklas Zennström was quoted as saying he was in talks with the Chinese government and operators, and was optimistic that the SkypeOut service will be launched in China. The company has already formed a joint venture with Chinese wireless operator TOM Online to develop and distribute a localized version of the VoIP software.
Singapore-based Internet services provider Pacific Internet has also tied up with the VoIP company to offer the PacNet-Skype program for Singapore users on pre-paid terms, with billing converted to local charges beginning 2006. The two companies plan to roll out a postpaid Skype service in 2006.