Hank pointed out that there were several areas in which laptop design would change over time:
- Processors would get faster
- Displays would move from static to active-matrix thin-film LCDs (better for handling graphics), resolution would improve, and color would become affordable
- Hard drives would get bigger and faster
- Memory would also get bigger and faster
- Battery capacity, and thus run-time, would improve
- Everything would get cheaper
There were plenty of companies in 1989 that were selling research reports and forecasts that stated essentially the same things that I just listed above, albeit with more charts, graphs and tables. These reports sold for thousands of dollars, and would have told us what we already knew. However, these reports usually added prices, dates and even sales quantities, most of which turned out to be wrong. Companies that bought those reports and relied on their forecasts were in worse shape than those that simply used the component breakdown and extrapolation method. Hank knew that he couldn't forecast prices, dates and sales quantities, but he could forecast the direction of development and its eventual payoff.
In the third and final part of this series, I'll revisit the five sources of error, examine what I consider to be the worst ones, and discuss a few ways to be a better forecaster and consumer of forecasts.