Top 10 Technology Trends For 2012

Well, it’s December, when sugar plums fill children’s heads and analysts look into their crystal balls to see what the new year will bring. 2012 should be a banner year for personal technology, showcasing the beginning and end for a lot of companies and products, as well as major transitions for those that are left.

Overall, expect to find technology more social, more connected, and increasingly more voice-controlled. We’ll also see the blurring of the lines between tablets and laptops.


Voice Command

The success of Siri (Apples iPhone 4S voice assistant) is clearly driving a lot of folks to create similar offerings, so expect this type of technology to make it over to other handset makers and into tablets next year. PCs should get it as well. Look for Siri-like interfaces in websites, as well to help you navigate. Expect to see something like this tied to Google’s ecosystem, given how much Google likes to copy Apple.


Email Decline

This has actually been going on for a while, with reports that kids coming out of school don’t have email accounts anymore and live on social networks and in messaging products. Files are getting too large to send in email anyway, for the most part, and downloading services that allow you to share links are vastly quicker and often more smartphone/tablet friendly.


Cable Box Decline

The traditional cable box will increasingly be replaced by game consoles and smart TVs next year. This has been going on in Europe for some time, with systems like the Xbox, and Verizon just started a similar effort with that product here for FIOS customers. This provides the advantage of both a richer and less-complex experience for the user, as well as a cheaper experience for the cable company, and it appears to be resonating with both groups.


Hosted Services

As we move into 2012, more and more of what we access will be hosted. Google started the ball rolling with apps, and now OnLive is doing the same for gamers. Movies are streamed now rather than downloaded, and it won’t be long before most of our applications exist on the Internet and don’t run locally.


App Stores

This trend continues and accelerates into 2012 with the launch of Microsoft’s app store and the expected swift demise of packaged software products. As for the software you run locally, you’ll increasingly buy it from a trusted app store, though that store may be offered by Amazon or your laptop/tablet supplier.


Windows 8 – Touch

This product is a trend in and of itself, and it represents the biggest bet that Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft has ever made. The company is going to singlehandedly blur the lines between PCs and tablets and hope that users don’t get confused. This will bring touch into the mainstream of the PC market and narrow the gap between notebooks and tablets.


Thin Is In

Driven largely by tablets (mostly iPads) and ultrabooks (including the MacBook Air), next year will be the year when thin moves across the mainstream of notebook computers. This won’t just be for PCs, as thin products will continue in smartphones, tablets, and TVs as well. Vendors are expected to compete to be the thinnest in every category.


TIS (Tablets in Stuff)

Samsung has already delivered a refrigerator with a built in tablet computer and others are likely to follow their example. New cars will be shown with tablet-like features built into their dash, and this iPad effect will likely extend to things like home automation and high-end home alarm systems as well. And yes, you’ll likely be able to install apps on many of them.


Peer-to-Peer Gaming

Qualcomm will be pushing peer-to-peer gaming into smartphones next year, and this could spell the end for most standalone gaming systems. This will allow people to engage others in games without running up data charges, since the phones talk directly to each other, and gaming may be faster as well, because there is no network latency.


Cores Are Us

In tablets, we’ll move from two processing cores to up to five cores of computing power. These multicore product offerings should allow the next generation of tablets to approach the low end of PC performance, and they’ll be ideal candidates for the ARM version of Windows 8.


2012 is looking pretty good as many new products will be thinner, more social, easier to talk to, friendlier and smarter. What technology innovations would you like to see take the forefront in 2012 – drop me a line and let me know.

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