2012 is already here, and the tech world is as busy as ever. There were a lot of potentially revolutionary technologies and products announced and demonstrated during 2011, and this year, we’re starting to see them out in the wild. Among all the other good stuff, there are a few products that really stand out. Here’s my selection of things from the tech industry that have a lot of potential and we should expect to become big this year:
Transparent video/HUD glasses.
Transparent HUD glasses (or video glasses, as others call them) are the wave of the future – they will let you use your smartphone as your only computing device, anywhere you want, on a very big display. You will be able to browse the Web, write documents, chat, watch videos and do anything else that you’d normally do on a laptop. Lumus and Vuzix already have working prototypes in the pipeline, and hopefully, we’ll see the first products go on sale this year.
Quad core tablets and smartphones.
Obviously, in order for the smartphone and tablet to replace the traditional laptops and desktop computers, they’ll need to be more powerful. The current dual core processors are pretty decent when it comes to performance, but they’re nothing compared with the upcoming quad core CPUs. NVidia already has the Tegra 3 in production, and it will be available for smartphones by summer, plus Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple also have their own models in the works.
Ivy Bridge processors.
On the other side of the narrow sea, in the x86 world, Intel is making some advances, as well. Their new Ivy Bridge processors are more power efficient and faster at the same time than the previous generation – a milestone that was made possible thanks to the new tri gate transistor technology, as well as the 22 nm manufacturing process. Intel also has a few chips (the Medfield platform) that will compete directly with ARM, and it actually looks like a decent competitor this time.
OLED technology offers a lot of benefits over LEDs, Plasma and other displays, with the most important ones being better colors, brightness and contrast – and these are the specs that are most important when it comes to a panel. As LG demonstrated with their 55 inch 4K 3D TV, OLEDs are ready for the prime time, and 2012 will be the year they start taking over, at least in the TV world (though I hope they’ll arrive on laptops soon after).
Mirasol is another great development when it comes to display technologies, and it kind of goes in a direction opposite of OLED – instead of bringing better picture quality, it brings massive savings in battery life, with the first Mirasol-equipped eReader being able to last up to three weeks of use – compare that to the usual 1-2 days for a modern smartphone (and yes, the display eats up 60-80% of the battery in most usage cases). If perfected, it could bring back the week long battery life for smartphones and make laptops last for days, as well. I think we’ll see a lot of eReaders and even tablets using Mirasol screens by the end of the year, and hopefully the technology will be further improved, as well.
There’s a lot of stuff to be excited for in 2012, but I believe the above technologies and products will define the year – I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that is true.