The turning of the year is always a time for foresight, but 2012 has been imbued with special significance thanks to the Mayan Long Count calendar. Despite our impending doom, on the Web there’s the usual slew of new year prediction stuff: a proper Apple TV – to be or not to be; will cloud computing continue to storm; can Windows 8 save Nokia, or even Microsoft; how long will e-mail last as a form of communication. However, amongst the low-hanging fruit there was a handful of more interesting and thought provoking predictions so here goes (in no particular order):
On the Web 2.0 front, entrepreneur Elad Gil has predicted that 2012 will be the year of what he calls ‘social curation’ – with services such as Pinterest and Storify showing the way. Fast Company predict a significant new player will emerge in online social networks in 2012 whilst Gartner are arguing that by the end of 2014, at least one social network provider will become an insurance sales channel.
In the wider technology arena, Intel predicts that 2012 will be the year that ultra-books – razor-thin laptops which use very little battery power – will come to dominate the PC market, whilst Vivek Wadhwa at the UC Berkeley blog argues that it’s ultra-cheap tablet computers that will become all the rage. Silicon Republic predict that the London Olympics will be the key event to kick-start serious interest in electric wallets using Near Field Communications (NFC) as an enabler of mobile commerce.
Finally, the television looks set to become an important technology battleground in the coming year. As well as the plans for Apple to enter the TV market, Google has announced various developments in this area. However, something that hasn’t received the attention it’s due (and which we were trying to get people to think about back in 2007) has been highlighted by MSNBC: 2012 will be the most significant year in TV display technology since 1997, thanks to the introduction of super-high definition OLEDs, a technology that uses a lot less energy than LCD.
All this assumes, of course, that we make it to the end of the year without galactic alignment, geomagnetic reversal, or alien invasion.