So, what else lies ahead for 2013? There is nothing as spectacular as the Facebook IPO, at least at this point, but expect gradual technology progressions of greater significance than have been seen in years past. The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama has outlined the trends in tech for the coming year — a year I believe will be one of transition for the sector.
This year, expect tech innovators to set the stage to solve global problems, since technologies in fields such as medicine, robotics, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, 3D printing, and nanomaterials are advancing exponentially. Like the processors in our computers, they are becoming increasingly powerful while their price drops precipitously. This will enable startups to take on problems in fields such as energy, health, education, and security that only government and big research labs previously could.
Most recently, the big rewards have gone to startups developing relatively simple social media platforms and applications. In the upcoming era of exponential technologies, expect the rewards to go to players that solve big, global problems.
Here are the big innovation trends that I believe will gain traction in 2013.
Tablet explosion to computing revolution
The entry price of tablet computers will almost surely drop to under $100 in 2013 — especially if the rumored $99 Acer tablet
gains traction this year, as I believe it will, or if the India Aakash tablet finally lives up to its potential. I also anticipate that the tablet price tag will keep dropping until it reaches close to zero over a 2-to-3 year period. We will reach the point where it makes sense for companies to give tablets away just as mobile carriers give phones away in exchange for plan subscriptions. More broadly, we can expect to see tablet computers almost everywhere in this decade—our kitchens, bathrooms, cars, supermarkets, schools and elevators.
Apple currently owns the high end of the market, of course, and I don’t expect cheap tablets to put any dent in the company’s sales this year. But, if Apple fails to keep innovating, the company will surely feel the pain in 2014 and beyond as Samsung continues to nip at its heels. The PC laptop vendors — Dell, HP and Lenovo, among others — should worry since tablets will continue to cannibalize their higher-priced products.
The biggest winner in this revolution will likely be Google, with its free Android operating system. Unsurprisingly, the loser will probably be Microsoft, which licenses its mobile operating system, Windows RT, for around $80 — more than the hardware will eventually cost. In the long term, expect the billions of new users that come online over the next few years to be doing Google searches and using Google’s applications.