A new report released today by Forrester Research is calling the tech downturn of 2008 and 2009 “unofficially over.”

“Coming out of a lousy 2009, 2010 is looking a lot better,” said Andrew Bartels, the report’s author. “We see 2010 as the first year in a multi-year growth cycle. It’s not a simple rebound from a downturn.”

The report predicts IT growth in the U.S. to come in around 6.6%, more than twice the growth of the nominal GDP. Bartels said that this growth would be led by two primary factors: “smart computing” and a rebound in mature technologies.

“Investments that were planned to be made were put on the shelf,” he said. “PCs will do very well in 2010 as a rebound.”

As the economic downturn ends, we can expect to see a rebound in mature technologies as repairs and purchases that would have normally been made were put on hold until the economic situation looked more promising. To that end, a large variety of PCs, peripherals and storage devices will make a comeback, the report predicts.

As for “smart computing”, a separate report last December predicted that the technology sector was entering a cycle of tech innovation and growth called “smart computing”. Bartels defines “smart technology” as “a new generation of integrated hardware, software, and network technologies that provide IT systems with real-time awareness of the real world and advanced analytics to help people make more intelligent decisions.” So, basically, it’s many of the innovative applications we look at here at RWW, from location-based iPhone apps to real-time diagnostic software being implemented in hospitals.

Bartel said that businesses will be able to leverage the data provided by new applications and will be able to run more efficiently, a change he said we began to see in late 2007, before the global economic downturn. According to the December report, this new area will promote growth for the next seven or eight years.

mike melanson