5 Tech Predictions – and hot business opportunities – for 2012

Tech crystal ball
Tech crystal ball

Tech crystal ball

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in Las Vegas reaches its glitzy climax this week, with over 3,000 of the great and the good of global consumer tech showcasing new products and cutting-edge services. We gaze into our crystal ball to see what new tech will be rocking our world in the next 12 months…


width="300"Connected TVs
Forget about 3DTV – this year’s hottest development in the world of television is connected TV or Smart TV. Major manufacturers, including LG, Sony and Samsung have showcased sets that allow users to access a whole suite of bespoke onscreen apps.

This means that as well as browsing the web on your TV using picture-in-picture you’ll also be able to directly view YouTube and Netflix videos on your TV, as well as browse special custom-made channels and games.

Expect More companies to enter into developing custom-made apps for TV, most likely on the Android platform. The concept of “social TV” will also grow, with services such as Zapitano.de, GetTuned.In and Tweek.tv allowing users to make live comments and interact with friends during shows.

Nokia Lumia 900Microsoft’s comeback year?
Microsoft has announced that it will bow out of CES from next year, so it flexed its final muscle with demos of Windows 8, its latest desktop operating system. It’s sleeker and sexier than its predecessors and a “tiling” organisation with easy touchscreen control for tablet PCs and new “ultrabooks”. There’s also – finally – a dedicated Windows app store scheduled for early 2012, and some interesting new handsets running Windows Mobile, such as the Nokia Lumia N900.

Expect Nokia handsets to become cool again and developers to take a bite of Windows app development. Check out 360º Berlin for an example.


lenovo yogaUltrabooks
OK, so tablets and netbooks are great for carrying around, but they lack the processing punch of a proper laptop, with most standard netbooks maxing out at 1GB of RAM and a single-core processor. The new need-to-know product is the “ultrabook – super-thin, ultra-portable laptops (usually with 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 processor) vying for a slice of the market previously dominated by the (expensive) Macbook Air.

The Lenovo Yoga will literally bend over backward for you, transforming itself from laptop to tablet, while the Acer Aspire S5 claims the skinny crown at just 15mm thick.

Expect A slew of new must-have laptop models to come to market. Super-skinny laptops to match your skinny cappuccinos in Mitte’s Wifi hotspots


soundcloudThe Cloud reinvented
New syncing services on devices from Acer and Lenovo will allow you to connect with your music, movie, documents and data through web-based cloud solutions, freeing you from the shackles of specific devices. This year is set to see a massive growth in web-based services that allow you to enjoy music, movies and gaming without hefty downloads.

Expect Cloud support services such as Amazon Web Services will continue to target Berlin, allowing businesses to scale aggressively. Expect the emergence of more cloud-based entertainment services following SoundCloud and Wooga’s successes.


Berlin WallAugmented reality goes mainstream
It used to be that QR (Quick Response) codes and augmented reality applications were only recognisable to the tech cognoscenti, but this year’s cache of capable mobile phones means that 2012 could see these digital barcodes pop up in mainstream marketing. Improved tech could also help lift augmented reality apps out of the early-adopter niche.

Expect QR codes to pop up on ever-increasing surfaces – from utility bills to street art. More apps to enhance real-world city experiences, following on from Berlin-based Augmented Reality Conference in 2011 and the rebuilding of the Berlin wall for augmented-reality app Layar.

What do you think? Have we missed anything? Do you think big tech shows have a future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…