Four Technologies That Will Define 2012

Posted by Kevin Wade

This month instead of focusing on a specific subject, I thought I would take out the ole’ technology crystal ball (or is it a crystal tablet PC) and peer into the future to see what we can expect in the technology world in 2012. So here are the products and technology categories most likely to continue to emerge:

Ultrabooks

There is a fast-emerging new portable computer form factor called the “ultrabook.” Systems that fall into the ultrabook category offer full-fledged operating systems. They typically contain features such as always-connected wireless capabilities, solid state drives, longer battery lives and instant-on operating systems. The price range is typically less than $1,000. An example of this product type is the MacBook Air.

Some experts predict that the ultrabook category could claim about 43% of the total global notebook PC market by 2015 – up from about 2% today. It doesn’t hurt that Intel has become a big supporter of the product category either. Intel’s ultrabook design calls for second-generation core microprocessors and the forthcoming Microsoft Windows 8.

Ultrabooks could represent a paradigm shift for the technology industry. The technology now exists that actually could bring about a convergence of major mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet PCs, netbooks, and notebook PCs. If an attractive price point can be achieved and the consumer deems this a must-have product.

Video usage will continue to climb

It’s estimated that 71% of adult Americans use the Internet to view video information. In addition, a growing percentage of Americans, approximately one-third today, are now consuming video using mobile devices. Both of these trends point to accelerating use of video applications within work environments.

People are coming up with all sorts of interesting video applications. It isn’t just video conferencing and YouTube, we’re talking about building and home video surveillance, remote design reviews, applications that really make use of digital cameras.

The urge to converge continues

Converged infrastructure solutions, commonly known by its warm and fuzzy name “The Cloud” is starting to spread beyond early enterprise adopters into the midmarket. The impetus appears to be preparation for private cloud deployments that allow businesses to treat IT services as utility resources within their own companies – a pay as you go model if you will – instead of big upfront cash outlays for servers and other infrastructure.

“A” isn’t necessarily for Apple, it’s for Android

I don’t think anyone is naïve enough to suggest Apple won’t continue to be a huge force in touch screen smartphones and tablets; however Android devices have claimed the largest market share this year and will continue to do so in the next 12 months.

Market research company Nielsen reported in late September that Android smartphones had reached a penetration rate of 43% of all smartphone users. Nearly 56% of “recent acquirers” had bought an Android device, and the close ties of Android with Google applications is proving to be an important deciding factor for users who are considering smartphones for professional as well as personal use.

Android is poised to have a potentially bigger impact on the tablet PC category. Earlier this year, Gartner Inc. predicted that by 2015 the market share for Android tablets would reach about 39% of the total market. That compares with almost 20% in 2011. Much of that growth will come at the expense of Apple’s iPad.


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