Now that we’ve survived the latest apocalypse it’s about that time when we start looking ahead to the New Year. While we’ll be doing a resolutions theme next week, we thought it’d be fun to take a guess at we think will be some of the Top Tech in 2013. Both Jessi and I thought it’d be fun to make some predictions and then later on in the year see how we did in seeing into our “Tech Future” and how accurate we were.
Augmented Reality to me is the next logical step in all things cool. I think in 2013 we will see more focus on AR being the “it factor” in tech. We’ve seen indicators in 2012 with some gaming apps and, most notably, the Google Glass Project. With the faster processing speeds and better camera qualities coming up in new phones, I think AR will finally have the hardware it needs to take off in 2013.
Bringing the Clans Together
One of the great upsides to Android can also be its most frustrating — open platform. What that means in a nutshell is that there is an ever growing community of developers that continually make the platform better. This allows for customization and the ability to incorporate different features via hardware into different phones. What this has led to is the fragmentation of the Android smartphone field. Dozens of major manufacturers have been producing phones that feature different hardware and ways that it can interact with peripherals, apps and other phone-dependent items. For the consumer that hasn’t been a terrible thing; all of this fragmentation means that consumers can purchase phones that are unique and can nearly match any feature they are looking for. On the other hand, that also means that not all phones are able to upgrade to the latest Android OS — the backbone behind all this freedom in the first place. At this point the majority of the Android phones in consumers hands run on Gingerbread, then the newer Ice Cream Sandwich and the fewest are running on the latest, Jelly Bean.
However, I think that is about to change. With Google’s acquisition of Motorola, the success of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the power behind HTC’s new phones (notably the Droid DNA) I think we are going to see some power hitters come into play more in 2013 and they will start to level the playing field by becoming the dominant handset providers. What this will do is still allow people to choose the phone they want with the features they desire but since there will be a smaller number of manufacturers, the ability for them to support the phones for a longer amount of time will be easier.
King of the Hill
Since its introduction the Apple iPhone has been the dominant smartphone on the market. In 2012 Android overtook the iPhone for market share dominance for the first time ever. Even with the iPhone 5 introduction, the iPad and the iPad Mini, my prediction for 2013 is that Android will continue its dominance. I think Apple has started down a slippery slope of grasping at straws in order to maintain their consumer base and if they want to have a chance at staying in the game they will need to actually come up with something groundbreaking. At this point they have avoided NFC, background processes and other OS level developments that have become standard for other OS platforms and people have begun to notice.
But wait a minute, I’ve already said this before so let’s step out on a limb and make a guess at who will still be around at the end of the year other than Android and Apple. Windows 8, Blackberry and Symbian are all making pushes to be in the mix and stay relevant in a rapidly growing smartphone world. Having used the new Windows 8 phones firsthand I have to say that I’m really impressed with the UI, couple that with the fact that they have powerhouse manufacturers like HTC and Nokia, I think 2013 will be the year that Windows firmly establishes their dominance over the remaining phone developers. While Blackberry has been making a concerted effort to revive their platform with BB10, I heard virtually no residual buzz from the Blackberry Jam event and have not heard any rumblings from their camp in a while. I personally think they are going to be too little too late. Symbian has also been working to revitalize their program, but without getting another phone maker on board I think they will relegate themselves to a small market.
Mine is Bigger than Yours
This may be my long shot but in time I think people are not only going to get sick of which OS is better but what size is best. Five-inch smartphones, 7-inch tablets, 11-inch laptops, there are so many options out there right now and each has benefits but what it is forcing people to do is either make concessions on viewing screen size or to purchase multiple devices and carry them with you. My prediction is that using syncing tech, like Bluetooth and NFC, we will begin to see the focus shift from multiple devices for different purposes to a super-powered smartphone that has a series of peripherals that you can use with that phone. Imagine this: you walk into your office and place your phone on your office peripheral mat. It syncs your desktop screen with your phone and you can use a mouse, print and everything else you would because of the connection capabilities of your phone. As you leave your office you grab your phone and your office peripherals shut down. That night as you relax you decide to read a book, you slide your phone into a tablet sized peripheral that enlarges the screen and you now have a comfortable reading device. Later on you watch a movie by streaming your phone’s media to your TV. The tech is here but it’s a matter of putting it all together. Like I said, it’s a long shot but I think this is the way things are going.