High-Tech World to Continue Wild Ride in 2012
Another new year is right around the corner, so now it's time for a few of my predictions for the high-tech world in 2012.
I made an early prediction this year that sales of the Kindle Fire, Amazon's new entry into the tablet market, would be one of the hottest Christmas gifts this year. Although Amazon is pretty closed-mouth about sales figures, a company spokes-man recently made this statement about post-Thanks-giving sales:
"For the third week in a row, customers are purchasing well over 1 million Kindle devices per week, and Kindle Fire remains the No. 1 best-selling, most gifted and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon.com."
That means my first prediction has already come true.
So now it's time to imagine what will happen to the Kindle Fire for 2012. Apple updates its iPad on pretty much an annual schedule, with the next version expected between March and June of 2012. Tablets from many other manufacturers are starting to appear.
So even though the first version of the Fire has been very successful, the pressure is on Amazon to make it even better. I expect we will see a second version with improvements and possibly with a larger screen before June. The third version of the iPad is due about that time, but if Amazon can keep its price down, we may see both the iPad and the Fire do very well this year.
Cell phone providers are moving very quickly to the new faster 4G service. Since you must buy a 4G enabled-phone to take advantage of the 4G service, I expect that smartphones will also be big sellers this year. With some models, such as the Motorola Razr, moving to 4.3-inch screens, they may also be more appealing to those with aging eyes.
If you plan on purchasing a new smartphone in 2012, you might want to get one that supports NFC (near field communications.) This is a new technology that will allow you to pay for items with your cell phone. I expect to see Starbucks and others begin to implement NFC payments next year, and by 2013, you may be using your "Google Wallet" or other mobile payment plan for many of your smaller purchases.
In 2012, I also expect the move to digital books become a landslide. Into the last three months of 2010, Amazon announced that in the United States, their e-book sales had surpassed sales of paperback books for the first time. With the basic Kindle e-reader as cheap as $79, many new people will be trying digital books for the first time this year. Even those of us who love the look and feel of hard-bound books cannot deny the advantages of electronic books once we try them.
Next year will also bring us into the reality that the Internet really is ubiquitous. Televisions with Internet access became available this year. In 2012, they will be everywhere, and other machines will also join the Internet connectivity parade.
After this year, many of our machines won't be as dumb as they used to be, as everything from coffee pots to cars will gain more and more intelligence and more capabilities from their connections to the cloud.
Steve Job's dream of a television created by Apple may come true in 2012. If it does, it may change the world of television, just as the iPhone changed the cell phone world.
Even if the pure Apple TV doesn't make its appearance next year, you can expect the way we get TV programming and movies to start to change this year as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu make video streaming more and more popular. Cable and satellite providers will have to make moves to compete, so our television content and the way we access it will certainly begin to change next year.
All in all, 2012 looks to be another fast-paced and exciting year for the world of technology. Hold on to your hats and get ready for the ride!!
My best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Contact Sandy Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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