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Tech predictions for 2012

2012 should be an interesting year in technology. Here are some predictions about what might be coming down the line:

Google takes over the world

Google has exhibited megalomaniac tendencies for years, and its dominance has crept up on us slowly. This may well be the year when they take it to the next level:

  • 50 million people have now signed up for Google+, and some predict that the ranks will swell to 400 million by the end of 2012
  • 700,000 android devices are being activated daily – the operating system relies on the user having a Google account,  resulting in many new converts
  • Google Chrome recently increased its  market share beyond that of Mozilla Firefox, and is gaining on Internet Explorer every month
  • The company offers so many platforms and services, that Google touches most of the things we do on the internet in some way.

Tiny computers

We can now cram the power of a PC into a smartphone. Processing power, affordability and ever-improving battery/power technology have opened the way for tiny inexpensive computers. Projects like the Arduino captured the minds of geeks in recent years, but the next wave of devices will be far more impressive.

The Raspberry Pi project in particular looks very interesting, and I hope to review one of the devices when they start to ship  in late January. These machines run a complete operating system (Linux), have USB, networking and video connectivity and start at $25. Given that these devices are general purpose computers, I think we’ll start seeing a lot of roll-your-own recipes for home automation, home theatres, robotics, etc. Your fridge may soon be tweeting you to buy more milk on the way home from work.

Social media backlash

I’ve alluded to this one a couple of times before. People are getting fed up of the constant barrage of information from  their social networks. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many are dumping one or more social platforms, due to time and/or privacy issues.  I’ve certainly seen a decline in participation from my social networking connections in 2011. People just aren’t “on” as often, and some have disappeared entirely. I think this ennui will peak this year, before we find a happy medium in 2013 and beyond.

Electric cars

We’ve been “nearly there” for years now, but I think we’ll start seeing electric cars on the streets of Cork towards the end of the year. Battery life, charging time and availability of charging points are the three main issues. Conversely, as the cars start to approach mass market production status, prices are creeping down. A generous VRT allowance coupled with low mileage costs means that electric cars are starting to make financial sense.

Video on demand

New televisions are now shipping with networking abilities – they can connect to your broadband and stream live video from the internet. Netflix announced recently that it would enter the Irish market early this year, offering TV shows and movies on demand. While they still face some legal issues, this is the way forward. Indeed, I spent much of the Christmas vacation viewing video on my laptop rather than trying to find something palatable and hitherto unseen on Sky.

What are your tech predictions for 2012?

first published in Cork Independent blog: http://corkindependent.com/blog/tech-predictions-for-2012/