Last December, most tech journalists rounded off 2012 with the prediction that 2013 would blow the socks off anything that 2012 had to offer. Thankfully most of these hyperboles have fallen right on target. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is out and selling millions, the HTC One has made serious waves, BlackBerry has the Z10 and the Q10, Microsoft has announced the Xbox One, Google Glass has intrigued the world, the Basis Band is out to rave reviews and the world of personal trackers is on fire! Do we have much left for 2013? Actually we’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg. Here’s how the rest of 2013 will look like.
Scanadu Scout: The Star Trek tricorder comes alive to bridge the link between technology and health. Place it on your forehead and it gives you an immediate analysis of your body; all the stuff a doctor does. It measures your temperature, blood oxygenation, stress level, gives you a medical-grade electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure reading, and gives you a full blown urine analysis (with an add-on kit). This disc-like device could predict you’re coming down with something before it happens
Cool Leaf Touchscreen Keyboard: Almost everyone seems to think that this seductive looking device is the next big thing. What’s not to like? It’s a flat, shiny, touchscreen keyboard, very light with beautiful backlighting modes. The only problem: typing sucks like it does on all touchscreen devices. With no tactile feedback, this is like drumming your fingers against your table – never a good sensation.
Looxcie LX2 Wearable Video Cam: It’s a camera for your ears and you wear it like a Bluetooth headset. It streams EarCam-level video right to your phone (iOS or Android), has internal memory and can also upload directly to the web. It’s a hybrid of Google Glass, Sports Action-capturing cams, and a plain weird accessory.
Blackberry Q5: The BB 10 phone for the rest of us. After breaking the hearts of all BlackBerry users who don’t have R40,000 of spare change to plonk down for the Z10 or the Q10, the Q5 may well be the tipping point. By the time this economy BB phone is out, BBM will be on all other platforms and the true test of the BB strategy will come into play. Overall this is a nice-looking device, thin, colourful and very hip. Has to be sub-15k to make a difference.
iPad Mini Retina: This one is a given. The real thrust of iPad sales are now from the Mini. Expect the same body and shell, slightly souped-up specs, more internal storage and a retina screen. On the smaller sized display, that will be a feature to make those on the fence jump right in.
Motorola X: Google bought them out and the world expected a tectonic shift in smartphones. Instead, Google downscaled Motorola, withdrew from many countries and continued with the most boring phones. Enter the Motorola X, touted as the world’s most powerful Android phone, ever! Stock Android, no gimmickry and smoking hardware. Can the X take on the S4?
Apple watch: After the Pebble watch and half a dozen other contenders, Apple will try to own the most premium real estate in the world – your wrist. The Apple Watch will play nicely with your iPhone and give you all the info off it, plus add some functionality. Should sell well as the iFan Boys will offer their wrists up for adorning in droves.
Nokia 41-megapixel Lumia: This one is in the bag too. With steady sales of Lumia phones, the 520 selling in serious numbers and the Windows interface finally gaining traction, the 41-megapixel Pureview will be an incredible flagship for Nokia. This better be a good-looking phone. The previous Pureview didn’t get purists excited.
iPhone 5S/6: I really hope they call it the 6 as somehow this whole S thing is kind of a downer and makes the product seem like a stop-gap filler. Completely revamped, all-new OS, totally different look and feel, a fingerprint scanner, wireless charging and a bigger full-HD screen. That’s the wish list. Now how much gets delivered is Tim Cook’s prerogative.
Apple TV: A lot of speculation, great hype and serious noise. May I go out on a limb and say this: you’re not going to get an Apple TV to hang on your wall this year. So power that one off for now!
The next Samsung Note: For many, the Galaxy Mega phones seem to have cut the legs off any future Note phones. Not true. The next Note will up the ante with a full-HD screen and will take the stylus-aware usage of the phone to a new level, plus throw in some typical Samsung-ish jiggery-pokery where they will be able to fit in a bigger screen in a thinner, smaller frame. Between the S4 and the next Note, Samsung will laugh all the way to the bank. Many more products will dot the tech calendar in 2013. HTC may have the One+, Sony will take Xperia levels higher and get the PS4 out, Asus and Lenovo will bring in more astounding products, and jaw-droppers may appear from unknown companies inventing stuff at breakneck speed. Like everyone said six months ago, 2013 continues its journey to become a true socks-blower-offer year.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru,Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, June 9
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