Science & Technology

Twenty-twelve gadget watch

Whether it’s finally meeting a New Year’s resolution, or a potential new season of Arrested Development, 2012 has something in store for everyone. Many look forward to the new technology released in the coming year. Here are some predictions for what to look out for in 2012.

Phones

The smartphone market has become highly segmented in the past few years, with Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry, and Google’s Android phones sharing the majority of the market. Look for these three to continue battling for control of this trillion dollar industry.

Apple has been mum about an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4SS coming any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t expect it in 2012. 

Despite some ups and downs for RIM in 2011, the company has diversified their strategy. They now sell a variety of Blackberrys, some of which have touchscreen capability. Additionally, the Playbook was released to target the tablet market, but I’ve yet to see one in the real world.

Android had a strong 2011 with the release of Android 4.0, “Ice Cream Sandwich.” The new operating system was a huge step forward for Google, and focused largely on improving the user interface. Google has been pushing app makers to focus on user experience as well. In 2012, expect all the major phone manufacturers to release at least one Ice Cream Sandwich phone. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus was the first, and while it’s a bit pricey, it looks like Android is heading in the right direction.

Televisions

The television industry isn’t usually associated with innovation. However, TV manufacturers continue to release bigger and bigger high-definition TVs. The game changer on the way is 3D TV, but don’t expect that market to surge this year. For regular TVs, the LED market remains fairly expensive, but LCD TVs continue to drop in price, with 45-inch TVs now under $500, and 60-inch TVs under $1000.

Computers

Twenty-twelve might be the year of the tablet, but desktop and laptop computers aren’t going away any time soon. As hardware continues to improve exponentially, faster computers will hit the market. In 2012, we may start to see touchscreen desktop computers. Microsoft will also be releasing a new version of Windows, Windows 8, in the fall of this year.

Thin will still be in for laptops this year, as manufacturers target the MacBook Air market. Intel devised the term “ultrabook” last year to refer to thin, lightweight, long-lasting laptops, and the processor manufacturer is releasing a line of processors aimed at the devices later this year. There are already half a dozen or so ultrabooks on the market and these computers will only get thinner and faster.

Tablets

The tablet market is exploding. Apple released the first iPad only two years ago, and they will be releasing the newest version in March. According to rumours and speculation, the iPad 3 will sport a quad core processor, a high-definition screen, and be compatible with the new LTE network for high-speed mobile Internet access.

Apple isn’t the only player in the tablet game anymore. At the low end of the price spectrum, Amazon recently released the Kindle Fire. Costing only $200, this seven inch tablet runs a customized version of Android. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab comes in a variety of sizes, at a variety of price points. There are dozens of other Android tablets on the market, and on their way. Look out for those running the newest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. In 2012, we should see faster hardware and a wider variety of options as the tablet market continues to surge.

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