The march of progress isn’t going to slow down just because we all survived the Mayan Apocalypse. In fact, wholesale destruction of the world by mysterious sister planets or angry elder spirits would be the only thing that could stop it. Gadgets, home entertainment, technology in general are going to continue to become increasingly sophisticated and, crucially, increasingly interwoven into your everyday life.
Here are 10 trends – a mix of products, services and features – that we predict will come to define the year ahead.
10. Always online
Only a few years ago, ‘going online’ was something you did… like ‘going swimming’. Easy enough, almost everyday, but a definite decision. Do I watch TV… or go online?
For the past couple of years, ‘going online’ has been more like ‘going outside’ – you either are or you aren’t, nothing special, you just pick up a thing, switch it on, and you’re online.
From 2013 on, ‘going online’ will be like ‘waking up’. The only time you won’t be connected is when you’re asleep… and then, your phone will still be collecting all your email and social media updates while you’re unconscious.
If having a constant, on-your-person internet connection isn’t something you’ve already come to terms with in 2012, then odds are if you’re not constantly connected in 2013, you’re making some kind of statement.
9. The phone is all
Uber-geeks and early adopters who aren’t afraid to spend a few dollars on Bluetooth keyboards and video out plugs already know that a sufficiently powerful smartphone can perform the role of a decent notebook computer or even a full desktop PC. Today’s phones are already much more powerful than computers from a decade ago, and new top-tier handsets from Samsung, Apple, HTC, LG and more due out in 2013 will take that power to the next level.
New standards for wireless video mean you’ll just walk in to a room with a screen and a keyboard, dock your phone in the charger, and start typing away. Meanwhile, your phone’s powerful media capabilities mean you’ll use it as your primary source for both audio and video – streaming files wirelessly to your TV and AV system.
Again, the supergeeks already do this. New software and services will make it even more commonplace in the year ahead.
8. Really, REALLY big TVs
Speaking of TVs, 2013 will see our primary entertainment displays make another leap forward. First, 4K resolutions will bring unparalleled clarity and detail to extremely large displays – 80 inches and more. Quick recap: 4K is essentially four times the resolution of current full-HD 1080p displays, and it promises to give us a home entertainment experience that’s superior to all but the very best cinemas.