Yay! Another year and another post for my technology predictions. Last years predictions went about 50/50 with what I got right but I also was a bit aggressive with what I
thought hoped would happen. Check out my predictions for what will happen in 2013.
Computers and Mobile
1. First of all, I really really hope that the Apple mania that has been going on for the past few years will finally die off. I don’t think it will though only because Microsoft seems to have shot themselves in the foot with Windows 8 being nothing that consumers were asking for.
2. Speaking of Windows 8. This year Windows RT will finally become a viable tablet solution. It will only happen though because Microsoft will throw billions of dollars at developers to write software, manufacturers to make hardware, and advertising. There will be no real compelling reason to buy Windows RT over another tablet because Microsoft still won’t figure out how to make a compelling ecosystem. They also will come out with a new version of the tablet OS that will run on smaller screen devices which will allow hardware to drop to the sub $500 range. Of course, the smaller tablets won’t do anything that you really want because Microsoft will artificially limit their capabilities so you’ll buy a more expensive tablet.
3. Smartphone hardware will start to level out this year and the spec race will turn into an ecosystem/software capabilities race. 3rd party manufacturers (HTC especially) will realize their limitations of not being a 1st party manufacturer. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft will all have their own hardware that can and will do things 3rd parties fail at. Because 3rd parties won’t have the benefit of making money from a robust ecosystem, they will either die or be absorbed into the main players.
4. Google will continue merging Android and Chrome OS but their focus this year will be on making hardware. Making and selling their own phone, tablet, media streamer, Google TV, DVR, router, Android at home, Google glass, and laptop will be too enticing for them. It will also help them sell more ads and know what your are doing 24/7.
5. Google glass is going to be a huge nerd success while the general public will just think WTF. But then, another company (not Apple or Microsoft) will come out with a less obtrusive wearable computer (probably a watch or clothing) and everyone will think it’s amazing! Apple’s and Microsoft’s wearable computers won’t come out till 2014-2015.
Software and Web
1. Startups will fail left and right. It will become a crashing reality for everyone trying to make it as a startup. There will be very few that are purchased by big name companies and the rest will fail. This will cause a slow down in web innovation as fewer people are willing to take a risk and lose everything.
2. Ecosystems will become more segregated and users will have to choose their alliance. Companies are finally realizing what Apple knew years ago. Lock-in not only generates sustainable money, but it also makes it hard for users to leave. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google will continue to try to lock users into an ecosystem that is not only complete (music, movies, TV, OS) but also doesn’t work well with others.
3. Facebook will also expand their ecosystem but their efforts to make money through Facebook specific promotions (gifts, perks, etc.) will ultimately drive users away from the service. Not that they will care if a million users leave the service, but there will be some out cry for people to stop using it.
4. A new company will offer a non-tablet data only (LTE) mobile device with no voice calling. No carrier will allow it on their network because they won’t make money off of it and the new company will go under. Then in 2014 Apple will have an LTE iPod touch and everyone will say “Why didn’t anyone do this before?”
1. Indie consoles everywhere! The Kickstarter fad is going to generate a lot of small consoles that will plug into your TV that will use your phone as a controller (via Bluetooth) and they will all kinda suck. They will all run Android or Linux and none of them will have compatible app stores. They will be super cheap (~$100) but won’t catch on because there will be so many terrible knock-offs that no single console can be the winner.
2. Steambox will be the best new console! Although
Steam Valve isn’t really new to the video game world, their console will be a huge hit. It will be announced at E3 and be available by Christmas. It also will cost less than a PS4 and probably the same as a Xbox 720. It will run Linux customized Ubuntu, have a limited number of games available, and have a vibrant hacking community. Ultimately the console will be better for Linux than it will be for Valve.
3. PS4 and Xbox 720 will both come out this year. Am I the only one who is over big name consoles? Until the consoles have portability or virtual reality I think I’ll stick to casual gaming on my phone and computer.
1. It’s no secret that movie theaters are struggling to keep attendance. This year I suspect they will start to get creative and try to offer things that people can’t get at home. Two years ago it was 3D, this past year it was IMAX and 48 fps, in the 1920s-1930s it was widescreen video. Next year I suspect they will have some new gimmick that won’t enhance the viewing experience. Arguably not everything movie theaters come up with is a gimmick, but I have a feeling whatever they come up with next will be.
2. Likewise there will be more of a push to bring theater release movies to people’s homes. They will be outlandishly expensive but at least it will be something possible. In the next 5-10 years this will cause most movie theaters to go the way of the video arcade.
3. Self-driving cars will be a consumer reality. For the states that have approved laws, car manufacturers (not just Google) will begin testing self-driving cars. The won’t be available to the public until 2014 but if you live in one of the few states that allow it you may see them on the road.
4. The maker revolution will continue to grow. People making their own stuff and figuring out how things work has been driving a lot of innovation and next year it will only grow stronger as 3D printers become more accessible and information sharing grows. I suspect there will be a ~$250 3D printer that comes out and any company that encourages hardware modifications will be a consumer success even if most people don’t make any modifications at all.
5. Someone will succeed where Boxee failed this year with an unlimited DVR. I have a feeling it will be Amazon. They will offer a set top box that is capable of watching live TV and they also will make “recordings” available through prime instant video for prime subscribers. They will be competing mostly with Hulu but they will make the STB so cheap that it will actually catch on.