As we all know, 2011 was an exciting year for techies. Tablets took over, 3D TV's popped, mobile apps made life easier and touchscreens became the norm. But 2011 is old news.
After a year full of innovation some reports suggest a clear trend will not surface in the New Year. In other words, tablets will continue to dominate and possibly replace the need for laptop computers. We will continue to see bigger and better TV's and more apps. However, with several options for a breakthrough trend of the year, tech savvy peeps are drawing a different conclusion.
Rumor has it that the big trend this year is going to be the use of mobile payment methods. Companies like Google (Google Wallet) have already developed systems in which people can pay for items on their mobile device. Although such apps were seen as early as 2010, they are set to take off by storm in the coming months. The Starbucks mobile app has already emerged with more than 26 million transactions in less than a year from its launch date (via Mashable).
Social Network Filtering is another trending topic for 2012. Plans are in place for more sophisticated ways of organizing friends, followers, interests and groups. Google Circles, Facebook Groups and Twitter lists will undergo major changes very soon.
As the year progresses, a relatively new technology in regards to mobile apps called "second screen experiences" will become increasingly popular. This technology, developed primarily for the iPad, allows users to interact with the TV show or movie they're watching. The apps will listen to the audio and display content related to the show or movie on the tablet. Disney has already launched a similar app that allows users to interact with movies such as the Lion King and Bambi.
Released in 2011 on the iPhone 4s, Apple's Siri is perhaps the first voice control system that exceeds user expectations. Although there are some bugs to be worked out, Apple is determined to produce a top-notch voice control system. There has even been talk of Apple creating a voice control system to replace the TV remote. Reports suggest that we see improvements in Apple's voice control operations, as well as an influx of Siri imitators in 2012. Google has already announced plans for their own system, Majel.
There are several other speculations as to what will be the "hit" of the New Year. We've heard talk of automated sharing via social networks, flexible screens, HTML 5 and even an iPad mini. However, don't expect to see a lavish amount of Ultrabooks, and if you were thinking we would shift to a complete mobile internet world you would be wrong. Smartphones are great for surfing the net and checking your Facebook status, but ultimately people will continue to cling to their PCs and Laptops.
And for those of us who live data-centered lives, there's no slowing down now. Technology has been evolving at a shocking pace, especially in the past decade or two. So don't get too attached to your current smartphone, tablet or TV… a sleeker, faster and more durable version is on its way very soon.
Big Technology Trends and Storylines of 2012 via the Washington Post
The Top Tech Trends for 2012 via CNN
The Winners and Losers of CES 2012 via Tech Crunch
One in Four Starbucks Transactions Now Done Via Card, Including Mobile via Mashable