2011 was a year for the second generations, “the II’s”, or if we’re talking films it would be the year of the sequels. In 2012 we are expecting to see new technologies beyond just a “sequel”. Listed below are the top technology trends we hear are on the horizon for this year.
1. Voice Control With the release of the iPhone 4S and the much anticipated, Siri, apple has started the new trend of voice controlled devices. Voice control is not a new technology and has been around but has not been very accurate in the past. Also, Apple may use the voice control technology to replace the remote control on their rumored HDTV to be released end of this year. Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 with Kinect is voice controlled as well.
2. Touch Screen As we all know and use, the touch screen technology for mobile devices will be seen more in desktops as it is in tablets. Both Windows 8 and Mac OS X Lion desktop operating systems have a more touchscreen-inspired interface. Could we see an end to the mouse in the near future?
3. Mobile Payments This year will be the year when mobile payment technology will explode. The NFC (near field communication) technology will allow you to replace your credit cards with your phone. How does that work you ask? Wave the NFC enabled phone near the credit card reader and the money is automatically deducted. Google Wallet,Visa Wallet, Serve (Amex) and ISIS are among the early innovators.
4. 3-D TV’s In 2011 a few manufacturer released the much anticipated, 3-D TV’s. In 2012 you will see more manufacturers releasing the 3-D TV’s, however, they are now cheaper and more importantly they can be switched from 3-D to regular HD mode. The only drawback that remains are the glasses. They are expensive and in most cases not comfortable.
5. Ultrabooks With their thinner, sleeker and lighter weight than the traditional laptop, the Ultrabook, like the MacBook Air, have been more expensive until this year. The new Ultrabooks are promising longer battery life and faster speeds than the traditional laptops with affordable pricing. According to iSuppli, the Ultrabooks are forecasted to capture 13% of the laptop market in 2012 up from 2% in 2011.
6. Tablets and More Tablets The iPad certainly did see a lot of competition the latter part of 2011 and the competition came in at a lower price too. The Amazon Kindle Fire at a low cost of $199 will be the biggest competition for the iPad this year. It’s running on the Google Android operating system, however, Amazon’s version is unlike other Android tablets. Not only does price make them more attractive; Amazon owns an entire content store of e-books, TV shows, movies, songs, apps and other media.
7. Flexible Screens Flexible screens will change mobile devices just like the touch-screen technology has. These new bendable interfaces allow you to zoom in, zoom out and scroll around a page by twisting your phone or tablet. Nokia and Samsung are both rumored to have a phone released with the bendable screen by year end.
8. TV as Video Phone The front facing camera on mobile devices allowed users to use Skype, Oovoo and other video chat and conferencing software on the go. This year we’ll see more and more of these providers partnering with cable companies to allow your television to become a way to video chat and conference through your phone.
9. Motion Sensing Input Another popular input method we saw in 2011 was the spatial gestures, such as the Microsoft’s Kinect. We will see more and more devices this year controlled by simply waving your hands in the air.
10. HTML 5 This fifth iteration will allow developers to create more interactive applications than ever before and build it only once. HTML 5 is universally adopted on major mobile devices therefore eliminating the need for developers to build for all operating systems. Also, with Adobe killing off Flash for mobile devices, the HTML 5 will fill the gap.
Cloud Computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, applications, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a service over the Internet. Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably already using cloud-based services. Pretty much everyone with a computer has been. Gmail and Google Docs are two prime examples; we just don’t think of those services in those terms. Apple, Microsoft and other companies are working very hard to promote and expand their Cloud Computing service. There are plenty more new and exciting technology trends we’ll see in 2012.