|By Brian Jensen||
|January 26, 2013 12:45 PM EST||
As we get into the full swing of the new year and put another CES behind us, it’s time to take a look at the current trends in technology and get a feel for some of the developments we can expect in 2013. There are a lot of interesting products just around the corner – some of them will seem revolutionary while others will be a big update to current technology – and many of them are well worth a look.
The release of Windows 8, which was optimized for touchscreens, is encouraging a lot of companies to really innovate with their laptops. Last year we saw the trend toward ultrabook computers – all sleek design and impressive form factor – and now the new operating system is giving them a chance to develop even more. Touchscreen ultrabooks are going to provide the simple convenience of a tablet while offering the power and capabilities of a compete computer.
We’ve had rapid prototyping technology for a while, but this year we’re going to see a lot more 3D printers designed for the consumer market. Many of these models are small enough to use right on your own desk. Why does this matter? Because if they can continue to make the technology more efficient, it could change the way we look at some mass production. Companies won’t need to expend huge amounts of money on a single production run. A design could simply be sent to a computer and it can be printed out.
Granted, we’re still a ways away from that being commercially viable, and most of these consumer models are most likely going to be used by hobbyists or artists creating simple items. Still, the possibilities are impressive.
Cloud computing has been around for a while, but we’re seeing more and more mainstream usage. Not only have some of the major players in the Internet world launched a range of cloud applications, many devices are coming out that will have some kind of native support for it. The computing model is all about streamlining and taking some of the heavy-duty processing away from the actual device. The more companies do this, the more they will be able to deliver smaller, sleeker devices with sufficient processing power.
This is another thing that probably won’t see a commercial release in 2013, but we’re probably going to hear a lot more about its development. Google Glasses is an augmented reality head-mounted display designed to project all the information your smartphone might have onto your field of vision. Get a phone call? Answer it with a word and see a picture of the person calling. Text message? Have it appear right in front of you. Curious about a product in a store, just stare at the bar code for a second and get the details you need.
Kickstarter drew a lot of interest in 2012. This last year put “crowdfunding” on the map, and a wide range of technological products turned to their potential customers to acquire the money they need bring their new ideas to market. While there were a lot of games that made big money, some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns involved some new tech. The Oculus Rift is set to make virtual reality gaming an affordable possibility, the LIFX introduced a WiFi enabled light bulb, and the Pebble Smart Watch brought in more than $10 million in pledges.
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