Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.
The last months of 2012 were times when anticipation was rife and consumer wish-list for technology trends in 2013 started getting exciting. As of early January 2013, the excitement about new devices was and is well ahead of everything else and in top gear. Consumers are imagining new devices in smarphones, TVs and tablets that are coming out in 2013.
2012 produced new technology products like the ultrabooks, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Windows 8, Microsoft Surface, iPad Mini and of course, iPhone 5.
Apple launched the iPhone 5 on 12th September, following that with iPad Mini, and Microsoft launched Windows 8 on October 26. The launch of its premier tablet, Microsoft Surface running windows 8 is expected in January 2013. It will be the first time that Microsoft enters hardware business with a complete PC hardware. The new trend from Redmond simply shows how future competition will be shaped.
What will happen in 2013 seems to be the greatest question. Will technology gadgets exceed the offerings of 2012, or will they be a continuation of what has been there? Will the smartphone and tablet reign continue or shall we be presented with even more in smaller tablets from mainly Apple and Samsung? How about a 2013 phablet evolution? Or better still, are more tablets coming out in 2013? The questions are definitely many.
In a nutshell, users are hoping for improved touch and smart screens, better batteries for mobiles, sixth sense computing, better television sets, more live tiles and apps, OS from Mozilla, smartphones from Microsoft, Google and Amazon, self health apps, nanotech products, video chat... you name it. Better and smarter technology trends in 2013 is all everyone cares for.
Let us go through a list of trends that should get the hardware and software giants wrapped up in endless hours of boardroom debates.
The smartphone and multi-touch concept is a technological feat that holistically changed the concept of communication and computing. Starting with the iPhone in 2007 and followed with the iPad in 2010, manufactures were sent scrambling around for a perfect mobile device and soon thought of something that bridged the two products.
The device in question is what became popularly known as Phablet. The word Phablet is an amalgamation of smartphone and tablet, and is meant to serve as a communication and internet device at a cost lower than a full tablet, and a screen slightly bigger than a smartphone but much smaller than the traditional tablet.
A Phablet screen should agreeably be around 5 inch and priced at much lower or just slightly over $199. Apart from the price, a 5 inch device is light enough to carry around and at the same time accomplish the task for the normal smartphone and tablet.
The need for phablets was heightened by success stories of the Amazon Kindle Fire and later on, Asus Google Nexus 7 mini tablets.
Samsung consequently released its first tablet, Samsung Galaxy Note, in October 2011. This apparent opening in the phablet market catapulted Apple into designing the iPad Mini, which was first announced in November 2012. Not necessarily a phablet, the iPad Mini was meant to fill the gap for Apple of ever increasing enthusiasts of gadgets much smaller than the current tablets.
And now with iPad mini having scored big, especially in China, maybe the thought of small and not very small is becoming the fad! Apple is actually rumored to be working on its own version of Phablet which may be called iPhone plus!
Other notable examples of phablets include Droid DNA, Dell Streak and of course Samsung Galaxy note II.
'Phablets 2013' should be the tagline for most of the year and should help escalate the popularity of smaller tablets and bigger smartphones as a whole.
2. The New Apple iTV and Smart Television
It is possibly true that Samsung Smart TV set the pace in modern television, but there is much in the waiting that may just revolutionize how television viewing is done.
A smart TV is different from the traditional TV set in that it runs a specialized operating system, which seamlessly integrates web services, multitasking, modern gaming and enhanced human interactivity – all in addition to normal TV services.
A major step should possibly be realized with the launch of the much anticipated iTV from Apple.
Rumors and endless speculations talk of top of the bar iTV that will do more than simply display movies and produce sound. Loaded with targeted apps, the new TV will well be integrated with Facetime, Siri – much like Microsoft’s own Kinect, and a possible retina display.
iTV promises to offer the ultimate in facial recognition, effortless voice interaction, and the ultimate in use of gestures. The current breed of smart TV sets are still lacking in these features.
How far Apple intends to perfect these features remain to be seen, and if all the hullaballoo about their ‘next being thing’ is to be believed, then the next smart TV from Cupertino should be a wonder.
The iTV is expected in 2013 and will possibly hit the shelves by the end of the year.
3. Better Near Field Communications (NFC)
Near Field Communications has been implemented in a number of Google's Android based smartphones. It is still not as wide spread as analysts had always predicted but is bound to catch fire, now that Apple is implementing it in the upcoming iPhone 5.
NFC technology allows commercial transactions to be done wirelessly through mobile devices, without the need for data cards. The phone can be paired (read placed close to each other) or tap products, in order to transfer files, read product information and seal financial transactions.
Google has been running miles to implement Google Wallet app to enable its users do all online mobile financial transaction.
4. Budget iPhone
The rumor has always been there for about two years and 2013 seems to be the year that Apple will finally bow down and produce a budget iPhone!
The proposed budget iPhone will be priced at about half the normal figure that Apple charges for top of the bar iPhones.
Reports from the Guardian indicate that the new iPhone is primarily set to for the Chinese market. It is then obvious that the cheap iPhones will also be shipped elsewhere in Asia, Africa and south America. Reports indicate the phone should be out for sale by around December 2013.
The apparent need for a cheap iPhone is being made a necessity following the successes by Samsung with its versions of Samsung Galaxy mini. Samsung upgraded the old mini to Galaxy Mini II in 2012.
Another clue to Apple’s dive for a cheap iPhone is the release and apparent success of the iPad Mini in 2012. As Apple is working on the iPad mini for 2013, an equally cheaper iPhone will be welcome news.
5. Holographic Display and Infra red Keyboard
There are lots of future technological concepts and innovations floating around the internet, and none so compelling as the implementation of holographic display and infra red keyboard. As far-fetched as they may look, the implementation of these features is already there and just waiting to get the perfect boost.
A case in point is the patent filed by Apple on 11th August 2011, where it unveiled plans to integrate mini or pico-like projectors into future devices. Integration of the projector would enable the user project video or image data presentation on any surface or better still, anywhere without a surface.
The same technology will also be used to further keyboard enhancement. Infrared keyboards should help smartphone users type and interact with much larger and friendly keyboard.
With this technology the phone projects a virtual keyboard on a surface before the user who then enters data as if he were using a laptop keyboard.
Some think that Apple may after all integrate this technology in the upcoming iPhone 5. Whether this technology is integrated or not in the next iPhone, it surely must be the trend for 2013.
Holoxica announces holographic display prototype
6. Better Voice Assistants for Everyone!
How often do you type and feel like you can type no more. I am writing about those who spend countless hours typing away. The idea of using something else, preferably a voice assistant is a welcome idea. Siri for iPhone has been around for a year and is not the best of ideas yet. It still has a lot to learn.
With IOS 6 however, Siri is getting out of beta and is becoming a fully fledged voice assistant. I can imagine it having better interpretation of human commands and should do much more than only mimic repetitive commands, give map related answers and recall user contacts.
Guys at Google are watching every step that Siri takes and following the launch of IOS 6, they should have widened their own horizons in preparation for the release of a more fine tuned assistant. All the voice assistants should be getting more natural and should offer appealing interaction. Google Assistant should also help unite multiple speech assistants that straddle various Android devices.
Whether Siri in iPhone 5 is spontaneous as we think it is, or not, and whether Google matches up, 2013 should be the perfect year for streamlined and efficient voice assistants.
7. More Cloud Computing
It is easy to underestimate the potential of the cloud given that it has been with us for the better part of the last decade.
But just think about it. What is better than having every file and document on the fly however much you travel? You write documents, store photos, store music, watch movies and communicate via video with all your friends.
Microsoft Office Onlineis embedded in Live and Hotmail is just good enough for online typing.
Advancements in mobile device technology makes all these possible. Smartphones, phablets and tablets are getting faster, more convenient and reaching every corner of the globe. It is just a matter of harmonizing and maximizing usability of these innovations .
8. Sixth Sense
Sixth sense technology has been with us for some years now but it hasn't quite manifested itself clearly. The ability to use gestures to manipulate all sorts of daily activities, read information from the internet, and even project information on the wall, can be mind boggling.
Imagine using your hands to read bar codes or even take pictures anywhere in the street or house.
We first saw a glimpse of Sixth sense technology in 2009 and are waiting anxiously to put it into action. 2013 should just be the year for sixth to once again, rear its head.
The Final Word
It is definite that new gadgets like phablets and tablets are coming out in 2013, and new ideas in hardware and software are abound like never before: innovations and breakthroughs for companies that have been around and new ones, all working on many old and new devices, should help catapult the world of technology to yet another level.
© 2012 Alfred Amuno
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on February 02, 2013:
Thank you Ankita.
Ankita on February 02, 2013:
very good and informative.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on January 12, 2013:
Joseph Muendo from Nairobi, Kenya on January 12, 2013:
very informative post.
Magna on January 05, 2013:
videochat from España on November 07, 2012:
Thanks for your input, I like to be informed about new gadgets and new technologies.
condra on October 29, 2012:
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on September 20, 2012:
Thanks Gameralated and thanks for the additional info. True about Galaxy Beam and Note, but hey, info keeps popping up here and there.
About emphasis on Apple I think many will agree with me that they somehow Apple has to deep its fingers on something before it catches fire. Some fairly good gadgets are floating around but won't be spectacular until guys at Cupertino do a thing or two on it. Kind of tech pace setters, if you know what I mean!
Gamerelated from California on September 15, 2012:
Hello amuno Good work on this Hub about technology. You did a great job of covering new technologies, but I don't think Apple is great example for illustrating new hardware technology.
Samsung has a phone called the Samsung Galaxy Beam which already has a projector. This phone has been out since July 2010.
The iPhone 5 will not have NFC in it, but there are already dozens of Android phones that do including my HTC Amaze which has been out since the Fall of 2011.
The best example of a true phablet, which is small tablet that also works as a smartphone would probably be the Samsung Galaxy Note. Most of the 7 inch tablets don't support voice calls and many of them are Wi-Fi only. Apple will probably not try to compete in this category.
They are reluctant enough to make a screen bigger 3.5" on their phones and they have also been slow on making a 7" tablet. I don't expect that they will make a 5" phablet like the Galaxy Note.
I can't wait till 2013 to see what will be out there. Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading more of your Hubs.
Muhammad Umer from Karachi Pakistan on July 30, 2012:
blue rays technology is really nice but i am impress with some other its robot technology
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on July 25, 2012:
Yes HBUS things can only great exciting as we move along. Thanks.
HouseBuyersUS from Centreville, Virginia, USA on July 25, 2012:
Wow...modern technology can change the world...
J Forlanda from US of A on July 22, 2012:
Here's a good comparison of SIRI on iOS 6 beta against the prerelease voice search of Android Jelly Bean: http://youtu.be/kDsOtdRtG0Q. you can see the battle is really on.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on July 22, 2012:
Hello Techsquad, thanks for coming around. Like you indicated it's all mobile. I ca see really plenty of action next year. I would like to believe voice interaction is going to get particular boost, starting with IOS 6 and of course Google's own before end of year.
We should see different voice abilities this time next year.
techsquad from United Kingdom on July 22, 2012:
thanks forlanda.Yup everything is going mobile these days.and every big tech giant want to jump in it.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on July 21, 2012:
True Forlanda. Technology fever is at is highest with every one trying to out sell the other. Hope Apple comes out with a phablet, otherwise they are doomed. I can see Google and partners making a meal out of this.
I also hope Microsoft is not making a mistake entering the 10 inch market which is in the grasp of iPad 9.7 .
Time will tell and 2013 is that time.
J Forlanda from US of A on July 21, 2012:
Techsquad, yes you are right. And it seems to have started in 2011, and continues to 2012. I'm sure it will get worse in 2013.
It's all tied to the fast pace development in the smartphone and tablet fields. Everyone is trying to be the next iPad killer or Kindle Fire killer. Now that Microsoft has entered the fray, the field is getting even more competitive.
Tablets/phablets are going to be especially tough to deal with since manufacturers seem to be upgrading models as early as every 6 to 12 months!
It is an exciting technology times we live in.
techsquad from United Kingdom on July 21, 2012:
every year there is lots of new gadgets and tech products out.and the thing that is very difficult is what to buy or what to not.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on July 19, 2012:
Thank you Forlanda. Best example of a phablet is the new Asus Google Nexus 7, though it is not actually being referred to as so. And it is selling quite well.
J Forlanda from US of A on July 19, 2012:
Excellent summary of tech trends. You hit the nail on the head on this one. Phablets are new to me. I guess there is always something to be learned everyday. Thanks.
Alfred Amuno (author) from Kampala on July 19, 2012:
Thanks Tthudium. Fact is that the current rate of competition between the big players is at its highest. And nobody wants to lose. Samsung wants it all, Google too, Microsoft and majorly Apple. They will try to impress as much as possible come 2013.
Hey, thanks for always passing by.
tthudium on July 19, 2012:
I just love your hubs. Very informative! It's hard to imagine where we will be in 50 years. I studied laser pointers and how they worked a few months and have a few in my collection. I think we are getting really close to holograms. I saw a video where they made a hologram from shining two lasers together. Where their beams met made a 3d dot. They spun these lasers around very fast and it made a circle. It was very cool. Keep up the great work!