What to expect in tech this year

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The first quarter of this year is almost gone, and the Mobile World Congress is coming up next week. What kinds of things are people really hoping for and what kind of tech is likely to come to market? Here are my guesses, take them at face value or not.

TVs

Expect 4k resolution TVs to be the talk of the town in TechWorld, I’ve personally seen some awesome ones that were EXTREMELY thin and am tempted to share pictures – but the company told me I shouldn’t have taken any.

SmartTVs will take another jump forward, but boxes like Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV will still rule the system but aim for Chromecast’s compact size.

Smartphones

Biometrics like fingerprint scanners are suddenly in fashion – again – thanks to Apple. Samsung’s seemingly scrapped the idea (rumor) from a retina scanner to a fingerprint scanner for smartphones. Keep in mind the Atrix had fingerprint scanning years ago – the first smartphone to do so.

2k screens on smartphones is a bit overkill, nevertheless expect to see quite a few of these this year with more showing up in the latter part.

NFC is going to become big as more people start to understand its uses. It’s almost already there as a basic standard. iPhone users – don’t expect it until it’s a complete standard must have.

Wireless charging won’t make it this year as a standard, but expect more devices with it next year – quite possibly even the iPhone for 2015-2016. Until then, keep a look out for WiTriCity’s resonance chargers which charge better than the current standard, “Qi”.

Work towards less heat generation to be done. Talks of watercooled phones or no moving pieces have been abound due to the rising problem of phones getting hotter as more hardware is crammed inside. If that’ll take off or if something will take its place will likely be decided this year. It’s a problem that has to be fixed between this year and next however.

More work and talk on modular phones like the Ara project and ZTE’s concept phone.

Better lowlight cameras while image stabilization becomes a standard.

Tablets

Mixing a tablet with the functionality of a laptop – that’s the current sweetspot people are trying to hit. This might mean more Android / Windows tablets coming out this year following the Asus Trio’s footsteps.

Better cameras on tablets – but still not smartphone quality.

More multi-tasking abilities such as Samsung’s Multi-window which might end up being another standard on both tablets and smartphones.

Operating Systems

Linux users will grow in active users.

Mac will have a slight decline due to the next laptop/desktop product but will still do well.

Microsoft will see a bit more of a dip in comparison as some users move to other platforms such as the two above and a fraction percentage to Chromebooks. Expect this to last until Windows 9, after the first major patch. Then expect an increase again in residential but not corp due to coding and driver problems.

Android will get less fragmented, but only due to some companies hopefully allowing lower end handsets to get 4.4 (unlikely for most and don’t expect Samsung to do it). Tighter restrictions on apps to have more substantial and unique services. Both of these might mean marginally less apps in comparison to iPhones however due to developers needing to code for more phone types and sizes. Possible switchover to compiling process made as a standard to increase performance. Possible 64 bit fork for Android users late this year but don’t count on it until middle of next. Don’t get fooled by a 64 bit processor in an Android device. Expect a new GUI in the next major release of Stock Android and Samsung devices (Magazine by default unless you turn it off).

Chromebooks will get more functionality for offline use but also gain more popularity as more persons seek flexibility. Also expect some more built in apps to other cloud systems.

Firefox OS will be released but get little reception except with its own niche. Features will be taken from it and implemented into other OS’s if possible.

Windows Phone will get more popular, however it will still be held down by a lack of quality apps – dispite being a better phone than the others.

iOS will rise as three new features are released in this year’s iPhone and one key feature on the iPads. iOS 7.2 possibly launching to include a few more basic functions by default along with bug fixes and more countries being included features such as iTunes Radio, etc. Same tightening of restrictions as Android – without as much backlash due to only needing to code for two main screen sizes – possibly three if rumors are right about the screen on the iP6.

BlackBerry won’t die – however they’ll be surviving off of their new strategy of being for enterprise only. Their new phone, still being designed, will garner the attention of corps in the US and other countries to some degree. Expect a revival of the BlackBerry Business man sometime next year … if they do it right.

Tizen will be launched on a few more products, but ultimately rejected though it may cause some changes to happen on the main OS’s. Expect Samsung to try and launch their Eye and Gear products with it.

Wearables

There will be pushback in regards to all wearables with exception to fitness bands, but it will settle out as more information is made public about each device. Businesses will ban certain types from meetings and possibly work areas due to sensitive information – but should expect pushback about phones in meetings as well.

Apple’s iWatch will likely take a lead place in wearables next to a device such as Omate’s TrueSmart which is touted as the best Android smartwatch at the moment. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear may take a hit if it does launch with Tizen instead of Android. This is one market where you both can and can’t throw things at a wall to see what sticks.

Google Glass will be released, but with the amount of variation already out expect something a bit more futuristic late in the year that possibly projects things or uses augmented reality in real time (ie move your hands to move things that you see). It won’t take off due probably to funding but will start the movement for the next 3 years.

Fitness bands will slowly start to die and be enveloped by smartwatches with exception to those who simply want a fitness tracker.

Self generated power for devices will also gain more traction (no pun intended) as tech from the army gets more public. Only viable really for on the move persons however.

Clothing will hold smart tech to detect vital signs and possibly call an emergency service for you – a design from about 4-5 years ago. Expect US only first for testing and then slowly worldwide though people will adopt it slowly due to thinking it’s a gimmick but might save lives as well. Will be focused to everyone but might end up being used mainly by the elderly. Won’t be intrusive but have sensing fibers that lead to a small patch on the side which connects to a smartphone.