Now that we have finally put 2011 behind us, it’s time to concentrate on 2012. As is the case with any year, 2011 had its ups and downs in terms of tech, as plenty of new and improved technology and devices hit the market and landed in the hands of consumers. So, what does 2012 have in store for us? A whole lot, as long as the world sticks around long enough to allow the releases to actually come into fruition.
The sheer presence of the Windows operating systems in homes and businesses across the world put the upcoming Windows 8 release on this list of 2012’s most anticipated tech happenings. Windows 8 is set to bring plenty of new goodies to its Microsoft users, including a new interface. Rather than simply dressing up Windows 8 with some slight changes, the new operating system will reportedly be much different than its predecessor. Microsoft is placing an emphasis on touch capability with a Metro interface to give tablets a boost, and the OS is also getting a much-needed upgrade in the security department. Integrated security features will be added to supply even the laziest Windows users with a fuss-free buffer against attackers.
Sony PlayStation Vita
Set to release in early 2012, the Sony PlayStation Vita is a handheld gaming device that will sport a 5-inch multi-touch display, dual cameras, 3G capability, and more. The Vita promises to be a great product for gamers looking for action-packed fun on the go, but will it be able to survive. Most smartphones and tablets have gaming capabilities already, so is there a true need for a dedicated gaming device? Many consumers will probably say no, but hardcore gamers and youngsters should help Sony garner some Vita sales.
This is a rather obvious choice for the list. Sure, there is probably no shortage of people who are sick of hearing about Apple products, but you cannot deny the fact that the iPad is a groundbreaking device. The popularity of the first and second editions was unmatched, so you can only imagine the buzz and hype that will surround the release of the iPad 3. What new technology will come packed into this portable tablet? How much higher can Apple set the bar in the tablet game? The iPad 3’s release will answer these questions.
One of the supposed highlights of the iPad 3 is said to be a display with a ridiculous resolution of 2048 x 1536, which improves on the already impressive 1024 x 768 resolution of the iPad 2. This means an even better media experience, amped up gaming, and more. As for the release date, if the iPad 3 follows normal Apple release cycles, look for it sometime in the spring of 2012.
It seems as if the tablet market is splitting up into segments. Many manufacturers have found the popularity of Apple’s iPad to be too much to overcome, so price has become a selling point. After all, many people may have the urge to buy a tablet, but do not have $500 lying around to purchase one. The introduction of the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook has answered this problem with much friendlier price points, and you can bet that more manufacturers will follow their lead.
The functionality of tablets makes them great for business use, so you also have a part of the market that focuses on performance and features, but at a higher price. With more technology coming to the forefront, look for the already impressive tablet selection to widen even further in 2012 with manufacturers looking to capitalize off of a hot market.
The more time passes, the more technology improves. If you thought the performance jump provided by dual-core processors was impressive, wait until even better quad-core processors start to increase in presence. A quad-core processor may be expected in newer desktops and laptops, but imagine the work they could do in smaller tablets and smartphones. That will be more of a reality than a fantasy, as 2012 will feature smartphones and tablets powered by quad-core chips from companies such as Nvidia and Qualcomm.
Depending on the person, here is a release that will either be anticipated or dreaded. Facebook’s Timeline design has made its way onto some profiles, but it has not yet been released across the social network. Many Facebook users prefer the traditional layout, but those behind the scenes at the company feel as if the Timeline layout will give users a more effective way to put their lives on display. Since so many people rely on Facebook for their social needs on a daily basis, you can bet that the spread of the Timeline format will be a hot topic online in 2012.
Windows Phone 7
To say that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform is lagging behind competitors at the moment is an understatement. Android and iOS devices are far ahead in the smartphone race, and many wonder what Microsoft has up its sleeve for its own mobile platform. 2012 will be a huge year for Windows Phone 7, and could very well determine if it sinks or swims. Luckily, there are some positive signs, such as Microsoft’s partnership with mobile giant Nokia. Some current smartphones based on Windows Phone 7, such as the Samsung Focus S, have received praise from critics, and many more models will hit the market as well. The updated release of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and its set of improvements should help bolster the platform too.
The next generation of iPhones will probably make most anticipated lists for some time to come. The product has entrenched its name into the mind of smartphone buyers, and its popularity should remain strong, despite competition from Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. Many Apple loyalists felt as if the iPhone 4S lacked differentiation from its predecessors, but the Siri virtual assistant feature was a nice touch. Will the iPhone 5 be different enough to satisfy customers? Only time will tell, but a design tweak or two would be nice.
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