Here’s our quick rundown of 13 key technology launches and evolutions that will be taking place in the coming 12 months.
If you love technology then here are 13 reasons to get excited about 2013.
Early in the year, we’ll see the much-anticipated ‘comeback’ of Blackberry, with its make-or-break new BB10. Can it scale the heights again?
Expect new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, a lot of new Applegear – and some unexpected tech surprises.
Here’s our quick rundown of 13 key technology launches and evolutions that will be taking place in the coming 12 months.
A new updated Xbox
When Microsoft finally announce the successor to its best-selling Xbox 360 console, we very much doubt it will actually be called the Xbox 720. The machine looks set to have – according to the rumours – Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect at its heart, doing away with the need for controllers. It could also feature Blu-ray – plus a far bigger slant towards downloadable games and content. Microsoft want their box to be the hub of every living room, hence the release of all sorts of apps for the Xbox 360 bringing films, music and connectivity to the console. The good news is, we could see it on the shelves just ahead of Christmas 2013.
The follow-up to the PlayStation 3
Rumours are now swirling that the PlayStation 4 won’t actually arrive in the flesh until Spring 2014 – but it will probably first be on display E3 in 2013. A recent leak suggested its classic-design controller will split in two to enable it to also become a Move sensor. It would be surprising if it wasn’t called the PlayStation 4 given previous naming conventions – it’s also rumoured to have 4K resolution compatibility, and could be the first mainstream gadget to show films at four times hi-def resolution.
See the bigger picture with 4K
Next year should see the arrival of the first mainstream TVs featuring 4K, also known as Ultra High Definition or UHD. It has four times the resolution of 1080p HD – it’s already been used during the Olympics with the resulting images shown on massive cinema screens. It will take a few years for mass-market pricing of tellies – the first two are more than £20,000 apiece – but broadcasters including the BBC are already experimenting with it.
Print your own products at home in 3D
The 3D printing phenomenon has already caused excitement in 2012 but next year it should really explode into homes thanks to mainstream machines like MakerBot and the Cubify Cube. Both should fall below the £1,000 mark allowing home inventors to create designs and turn them into real and colourful hard plastic products from the comfort of their living rooms. By building up a product in tiny layers using plastic mainly, but also metal on more expensive machines, we could eventually be printing out shoes, jewellery and even musical instruments from designs we buy on the web.
Apple’s iPhone 6, iPad 5 and iPad mini 2
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the iPad mini gain a Retina screen, an addition which could potentially make it the best tablet computer available – and rumour suggests this could happen sooner rather than later. A much thinner iPad 5 in-keeping with the new iPod touch and Mac ranges would be likely while an iPhone 6 will no doubt arrive in September or October with many moaning it’s failed once more to live up to the hype and rumour, despite millions still buying it. By then Apple will hopefully have sorted their Maps too. Who knows, we may well see that much talked about Apple TV as well!
The wide availability of 4G
The past couple of months have seen the first superfast mobile network launched in Britain from Orange and T-Mobile owners EE. But in 2013, we will see Vodafone, O2 and possibly 3 come to the party once the Government holds its much-anticipated 4G Auction. They’re in desperate need of the cash it will raise too, so it shouldn’t be much longer until a fair chunk of the country has the ability to download movies and music without any waiting and stream on the move with no lag or buffering. It should also ensure outlying areas of the country get broadband across the airwaves, opening up the internet to those who’ve previously been denied it due to slow fixed-line speeds.
A Kindle phone from Amazon?
The online shopping giant has already branched out into offering all sorts of downloadable entertainment from music to films to books and its latest Kindle Fire HD tablet takes advantage of having so much content available at their fingertips. So it would be a mistake not to assume they could be working on their own mobile phone to take a byte out of Apple’s business. If they do manage to bring one to market, expect it to be cheap as chips with Amazon again making their money from people downloading music, books and apps once they’re signed up.
A home of appliances talking to each other
Smart appliances with the ability to connect to the internet and be controlled from afar are now becoming more popular. Recently we’ve seen apps that can turn your central heating on and off when you’re out while startups such as Lockitron are creating software that turns a mobile into a set of keys, opening your front door. But the next big advance will be common home devices such as kettles, toasters, ovens and fridges that become smarter. Soon you’ll be able to boil up a cuppa from an app or turn the dinner on to cook when you’re leaving the office, not to mention start the washing so it’s spun and ready when you get home. Appliances will also be able to talk to each other and to you using the web, giving you details of what you need to buy to stock up the fridge. It’s dubbed The Internet of Things and will only get bigger, more creative and far more intrinsic to all of our lives.
More exciting news from Google’s Project Glass
We’re unlikely to see a mass market version of Google’s futuristic glasses in 2013 but thankfully we’re bound to hear a lot more about them to keep us enthralled. Like an accessory from a sci-fi movie, these specs have a little screen that can bring to life the world around you. From displaying directions when you’re walking to overlaying maps of the best places to visit, they will be able to connect to your mobile to power the internet connection – although there are rumours that eventually they will have built-in 4G. They will also be able to take pictures and stream video and likely do a host of things we can’t even yet imagine or dream of.
Our lives fully contained in the skies
Already the need to have a hard drive on your computer is becoming less and less important. Cloud-based systems that contain all of our files, music tracks, films and other data have surged in popularity over the past 12 months and this looks set to continue. Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive will give access to all your personal stuff on the move using mobiles and tablets and your own personal cloud will become the centre of your digital life sharing content and preferences across all different devices and hooking you up to other services from the likes of Government.
Cyber-terrorism will be on the rise
With the increasing importance of connectivity on our lives, it’s undoubted that the threat from so-called “cyber-terrorists” will increase. Attacks that attempt to shut down power grids and utilities may still be the stuff of movie fiction but viruses such as Stuxnet and Denial of Service attacks on major websites have already shown the dangers faced by countries, businesses and communities that now need to be online and connected 24/7. A recent report by the UN highlighted the lack of international agreement on the issue and this is likely to be a bigger issue for Government policy in the coming 12 months.
Flexible and Foldable screens
The next wave of the tablet revolution will surely come down to the design of the screen, with roll-up and foldable displays having been talked about for the past few years. Rumours suggest Samsung could show off an unbreakable fold-up mobile phone screen at CES 2013 and this could spark a real futuristic race for putting new types of entertainment and communication devices in our pockets. Other display advancements for mobile could see gesture-based controls used in the same way they are on our consoles, rather than touch-based ones.
A fightback begins from BlackBerry
One of the first technology launches of 2013 will come when BlackBerry maker RIM announce their latest software version on January 30. BlackBerry 10 promises a “re-designed, re-engineered, re-invented” operating system in a bid to hit back at the success of Apple’s iPhone iOS and Google’s Android. They certainly need to produce something spectacular to turn around their fortunes but with a flagship touchscreen-only device on the horizon, will the lack of a QWERTY keyboard for now be an own-goal considering how much of BlackBerry’s original success was built on the popularity of having a device with one?
Original post at yahoo
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The top five most innovative technologies which could change the world the way we see it, the way we control our computers, the way we power our devices, the way we drive our car and many others. We have collected few of them for you. Hope you all will like it.
1. AUGMENTED REALITY
Fusion of real and virtual world (Google Glass, car windshields from GM and Daimler)
Whenever there is a piece of glass between a person and the world, there’s an opportunity to put information on it. Augmented reality (AR), as it’s known, is the way we’ll fuse the virtual and the real worlds, supplementing the screens on our mobile devices with screens that know what we’re looking at and can superimpose anything a computer can display. The potential applications are endless: Software that displays the names and bios of people we meet; turn-by-turn directions that appear to float in the air before us; glasses that superimpose ads on the world, or block real-world ads if we don’t want to see them.
Google did a lot of marketing this year for Project Glass, its effort to put a single small, transparent display on a pair of otherwise lens-free eyeglasses. (The company reckons that Glass will be on sale by 2014.) But it won’t offer full-blown AR. Google Glass can give you directions or display a Google Hangout, but to convincingly superimpose virtual, three-dimensional objects on a person’s view of reality, it would have to know the position and orientation of his or her head to a degree of precision that has yet to exist outside the laboratory. Google’s engineers know this, so initial models of Google Glass consist of a display meant to hover just outside a user’s field of view, rather than fill it.
A convincing fusion of the virtual and the real might arrive sooner in cars than in glasses. Able to carry more processing power, better orientation sensors and an all-encompassing display—the windshield—our vehicles could become home to a new level of immersion. These kinds of “heads-up displays” have existed in aircraft for decades. And if that seems like a recipe for distraction, all the companies working on this technology, from GM to Daimler, emphasize that the first goal of augmented reality displays in car windshields would be increased safety (paywall).
2. AUTONOMOUS ELECTRIC VEHICLES
A new Era of Cars is about to begin… (Arcimoto, Google driverless car)
Companies—like ExxonMobil—that argue that electric cars won’t go mainstream until they have the same range as conventional vehicles aren’t taking account of changes in how we use cars that might make their range less important. And critics who say self-driving cars won’t catch on because they don’t offer a big enough advantage over driving yourself miss the fact that in many cities, people prefer to rent a fully autonomous vehicle by the hour than to own a car themselves. (We call such vehicles “taxis”.)
2012 is the year it occurred to at least a handful of observers that at the intersection of these two trends is something truly startling: A future in which cars are no less ubiquitous, but the way in which we use them more closely resembles mass transit.
The logic, briefly, is that self-driving cars could be much safer than conventional vehicles because they’ll crash less. That will allow them to become much lighter as they shed the crumple zones and crash cages typical of today’s cars. Lighter vehicles, like the three-wheeled Arcimoto, which is technically a motorcycle, can go further on batteries. They’ll also have lower maintenance costs because they have fewer moving parts (no gearbox, for instance).
Now, there’s an obvious chicken-and-egg problem here. If the only way to become light enough to make battery power a viable option is to have fewer safety features, then autonomous electric cars have to be less susceptible to accidents. To be less susceptible to accidents, they have to be isolated from conventional cars with their erratic human drivers. To be isolated from conventional cars, they need to be widespread enough to have their own lanes and roads. And to be that widespread, they have to already be light enough to make battery power viable.
“Ultimately, you’re just going to hit a button on your smartphone, a vehicle will pull up, you’ll get in. And once you start to get a lot of [autonomous electric vehicles] on the road, they can do things that no cars can do. They can flock together, they can be more efficient in terms of how they use energy; so what we’ll see is a dramatic reduction in congestion, smaller lanes, a dramatically reduced need for parking lots, and better utilization of our urban cores. Within the next 20 years the potential for just a fundamental reboot of the topology of our cities.”
3. GESTURE-BASED INTERFACES
Controlling Computers without touching them (Leap Motion, Pointgrab, Elliptic)
Leap Motion, the company responsible for a $70 add-on to any computer that could replace every input device save the keyboard, launched the best technology since the smart phone. About the size of a packet of gum, the Leap is an outwardly simple device that can determine the position of any object in its field of view to a resolution of a hundredth of a millimeter, the company claims. The result is a sensor that could enable ultra-precise gesture-based interfaces with sufficient variety that they are likely to make interacting with a computer through a trackpad, mouse or touchscreen seem antediluvian.
Since the company revealed the Leap, it has been overwhelmed by demand from developers who are now working with it to apply its technology to everything from education to medicine. For the everyday user, Leap means being able to move a cursor on a screen simply by lifting a finger an inch or so off the keyboard and pointing, as well as a thousand other potentially more complicated gestures, all of which can be accomplished without the sweeping arm movements or impractical ergonomics of previous gesture-based systems.
Other companies are working to bring gesture-based interfaces into computers through a variety of competing technologies. (Leap uses a pair of cameras and ahandful of infrared lights, but the company’s “secret sauce” is apparently its software, which runs on the computer rather than the Leap sensor, and processes what those cameras see.) Elliptic Labs, for example, uses ultrasound transducers and tiny microphones embedded in PCs to “see” where a user’s hands are in the same way that a bat uses echoes. PointGrab, on the other hand, has a camera-based technology that is already available in gesture-controlled televisions, and it’s about to debut in PCs from Acer and Fujitsu. Pointgrab’s system isn’t as accurate as a Leap, but it has the advantage of working with any device that has a forward-facing camera.
4. COMPRESSED AIR BATTERIES
World’s Most cost effective energy Storage (LightSail)
The story of LightSail Energy is a litany of surprising facts. In a field dominated by male engineers, its founder, Danielle Fong, is a 24-year-old woman who dropped out of both middle school and (later) a PhD at Princeton. And the company’s technology takes an energy storage technique no one thought was workable—compressed air—and adds a simple physical trick inspired by something Fong read in a century-old book. The problem Fong solved is that, due to basic physics, when air is compressed, it gets hot, up to 1,000°C. That means most of the energy that could be stored in compressed air is lost as heat. Fong’s solution was to add a fine mist of water to air as it’s being compressed, and then to recover that water and use it to store the heat energy generated.
The result, LightSail claims, is a technology as efficient as batteries—it will supposedly return up to 70% of the energy put into it—but significantly cheaper. This combination of price, simplicity and build-it-anywhere flexibility has attracted investors like Bill Gates and, in the company’s $37.5 million Series D financing round, the investor (and PayPal co-founder) Peter Thiel, who usually makes a point of avoiding clean energy.
LightSail sells its technology not merely as a way to store renewable energy for when it’s needed, but also as a way to displace a lot of the new power plants and electricity transmission infrastructure that the world has planned. The idea is that putting affordable energy storage exactly where it’s needed could eliminate spending on both, regardless of whether the energy is being produced by renewables.
5. ULTRA CHEAP WEB DEVICES
5 billion people with internet access (Jana, Jolla, Facebook, Datawind and countless Shenzhen manufacturers)
“The thing to look for in the next year is that you have one to two billion Android handsets coming on-line,” Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen told Quartz recently. “We’ve never had the ability in our industry to reach five billion people with a computer and now we have the ability to do that. That’s big.”
Since 2000, the number of mobile phones in the developing world has increased by 1,700%, and now many of those people are upgrading to smartphones with data plans that cost as little as $2. The price of an internet-capable smartphone has nowfallen to $50, and in India it’s possible to get tablets like the Aakash 2 for half that. The explosion of smartphone adoption in China, which is now consuming the devices faster than the US, has created openings for unconventional mobile companies like the Finnish/Chinese Jolla. It’s also cementing the dominance of internet giants like Facebook, who have created stripped-down versions of their sites that can be used on a basic feature phone, and persuaded mobile providers to give people access to those sites for free.
What does it mean that another one or two billion people are encountering the internet for the first time? If the value of the network is proportional to its size, what happens when most of Earth’s inhabitants can tap into a common pool of information and contacts? New internet users aren’t going to necessarily translate into profits for companies like Facebook, but whole new businesses that can reach billions of people, like Jana’s marketing and payments platform, are being synthesized from even the most primitive mobile networks.
But this is also a story about education, economic development, opportunity, government transparency and even revolutions—all of which, pundits argue, could flow from this level of connectedness.
Original Post at qz.com
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