9 Emerging Technologies for 2012

 7 Oct 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+
 omar@myddnetwork.com

A new year is approaching and, as usual, the tech market keeps advancing with new products and innovative technologies applied to those products. We already have seen a list of the most awaited gadgets for Christmas 2011 and early 2012, but this time we bring you a more generic list with new technologies that could be main trends in the industry next year. It’s likely that some of them won’t get a  good level of acceptance while others will experiment an authentic explosion but, in any case, they are in either early development or the first stages in the commercial production and all of them have potential benefits for users.

1. Curved glass screens

Technology in 2012

Although we already have seen some launches of gadgets that allegedly come with a curved display -like the Nexus S and some versions of the iPod Nano-, the truth is that the real expansion of these parts will arrive in 2012. Several companies, including Apple, seem to be working hard to launch -in the short future- smartphones, tablets, and other products with curved glass screens. With this type of screens, there would be more design possibilities, allowing to create more comfortable products for users.

2. Ultrabook explosion

ultrabook

Which is the difference between a netbook and an ultrabook? Well, an ultrabook is also something between a laptop and a tablet but it’s really thin and lightweight. Those are the differences: Weight and thickness. Several companies already have announced they will launch their ultrabooks at the beginning of 2012, and for that reason we can presume there will be an authentic explosion of these products in the market. However, the question that arises is whether the ultrabooks can face the growing popularity of tablets successfully.

3. 3D Smartphones

3D smartphone

At this time, there are a small number of 3D smartphones in the market already, although some of them have availability limited to some countries. But next year, certainly we will see that almost all phone makers will offer this product as part of their catalogs. Honestly, it’s probable that these products don’t have a high level of adoption and they could become a passing fad, but also it’s possible that we find more practical uses for 3D smartphones with more available 3D contents developed by well-known companies for mobile devices . There is no certainty that these products will be commercially popular to produce any decent revenue for companies. We’ll see what happens.

4. More 4G smartphones

4G

Although it is foreseen that the mobile 4G networks will be partly implemented in the world at least until around the year 2020, the truth is that there are increasingly announces about smartphones supporting this standard which uses the IP protocol and allows speeds of up to 100 Mbps for mobile access or up to 1Gbps in low mobility connections (such as when you use a local wireless network). Some products that will be launched soon include: LG Optimus LTE, Epic 4G Touch, HTC Sensation 4G, and Droid Bionic.

 

5. Bendable touch-screens

bendable touch screen

A few days ago, Samsung announced that in 2012,  the company will launch a smartphone with a touch screen that can be bended as if it were a watch strap. No, it’s not a joke. You will be able to carry your phone on one of your wrists as if it were a watch.  This product will use a special material  (plastic polyimide substrate) different from the traditional types of glass… interestingly, it could be the start of a new category of flexible products that can be carried or stored in a more convenient way, occupying less space.

 

6. Mobile payment platforms

 

Although this technology has been implemented during several years in some countries (specially in Asia), the truth is that the adoption in the rest of the world has taken a long time, possibly due to cultural differences and the lack of adequate infrastructure in commercial establishments. But  2012 could be a tipping point for the adoption of new payment systems through cell phones; the objective of these systems is not only being a supplementary way of paying things, but also replacing the use of cash transactions, at least gradually. [Are you thinking about conspiracy theories? Well, me too.] Big corporations are now involved and they are supporting some new payment platforms out there including Google Wallet, ISIS, and the Paypal virtual wallet. These platforms will be advertised strongly in 2012 for sure, at least in United States.

 

7. Vehicle-to-grid technology

vehicle to grid

If you are an average car driver, then chances are that your car keeps the same status most of the time: Parked. Actually your car keeps parked approximately 95% of the time.  That doesn’t seem very efficient from the technological point of view, right?. Well, with the  relative boom of electric and hybrid cars, the possibility of using them to generate electric energy for different uses (besides driving) has become a reality. This technology is named vehicle-to-grid. The bottom line is that the cars not only take energy from the electric grid, but also give energy back to it; that is to say, if you park your car, then there is an excess rechargeable battery capacity that can be returned to the grid in case there is a peak in the electric demand or a specific need that can be filled by using this excess. Recently, the company NRG Energy announced that a commercial vehicle-to-grid system will be launched later in 2012. Moreover, this system will allow owners of electric or hybrid cars to make money by taking advantage of the excess electricity of their vehicles. Interesting!

 

8. Windows that are solar panels

solar windows electric

Imagine to connect your appliances to your own internal electric grid powered by the sun… through your windows. Yes, your windows. This possibility is a reality and will be marketed by the company 3M very soon. Actually, we are talking about a thin transparent film that can be attached to any window in order to transform that window into a solar electric generator besides other advantages such as making the windows more resistant to hits (safer windows), and lower the indoor temperature in summer by filtering more solar light.

9. Roll Laptop

 

We already have talked about bendable smartphones and curved glass but, what if there would be a laptop that can be rolled in order to be carried in a much more comfortable way? Well, maybe we are wrong but it’s probable that we will see this product appearing in 2012, or at least an experimental prototype. To know more about this development, you can visit this website.






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