As we come to the end of 2012 , it’s high time we analyze how much technology – both web and mobile technology has evolved in the past one year.
1. Predictive analytics – Google Knowledge Graph and Google Now
This year we saw the debut of Google Glass , the next big step in digital consumer technology in the post smart phone era.Much has been written about the potential to do a lot of wonderful things. And the wealth of information that can make this glass really awesome rests with predictive analytics technologies Google Now and Google Knowledge Graph.
While Google Knowledge Graph tries to establish relationships with every single object or person or place in this universe so that any search query can be provided with the most accurate response , Google Now does the work of predictive analytics that can provide with information that are relevant without the need for even a prompt.
These too are a killer combination : having the most accurate information on one hand and getting to understand the context and provide the information based on relevance will be the best digital assistant any user can dream of.The success of Google glass from the data and accuracy stand point will solely rely on Google Now and Knowledge Graph.
2. Emergence of Tablet Revolution
Since the launch of iPad, there was a constant discussion on the future of laptop. While iPad provided a great experience from touch interface perspective , there was still a gap on making tablet productive as well with a proper input control akin to a laptop.
Microsoft made one of the biggest gamble this year by introducing Windows 8 that predominantly focuses on using the touch interface. The birth of hybrid laptops that has both touch screen with a proper keyboard has started to emerge this year not only from Windows with its Surface tablet but from most of the hardware manufacturers.
Since a big population is using Windows OS in their laptop, the emergence of touch based applications on laptops will become mainstream in the coming years.
It’s not just the hybrid laptops that found inroads but budget laptops too found a great deal of acceptance in the market. Companies like Amazon and Google has provided tablets at great affordable price , even by selling them at a loss but has plans to recover the money by selling digital content like movies and music to consumers.
It’s not just with budget tablets,in India the Government is trying to bring tablets at the centre of college and school education. It is planning to introduce ‘Aakash’ an Android 7 inch tablet under 50 $ to students so as to drive the adoption for education through digital content by means of e-books, access to lot of educational content,lectures etc. This could pave way for a great deal of adoption considering the money that can be saved in printing books and distribution and other administrative hassles.
3.Cloud going Mainstream with Dropbox,iCloud …
Cloud Computing as a service are used by many consumers without actually being aware about it.Most use emails to store a lot of content for the purpose of assessing it when required any place any time.
But now companies have started provided cloud storage to users. It is no more hassle of finding the right email to access the content. Instead directly use the cloud service to access content. Most mobile phones provide free cloud storage to a certain limit , after which the user has to pay.This free storage is actually helping people getting used to concept and convenience of cloud. The need for carrying a separate hard drive will not be required in the future.
But one of the main disadvantage of cloud is the need for high bandwidth internet. Considering the fact that mobile data plans are pretty costly , people do not access cloud storage that frequently.But at home, this can change for good in the next few years. With Google bringing Gigabyte speed to homes at affordable prices in US, other companies would soon start providing such incredible speeds which can pave for greater cloud adoption by consumers.
4.Shift from war of mobile OS to war of ecosystem
Few years back, when you wanted to buy a phone – all you look for are its features , price and brand.It’s pretty easy to pick up a phone. But after that, the emergence of iPhone with iOS and Android has made the process bit complicated.
You need to select the OS before choosing a mobile phone since each OS has certain advantages and limitations.But then with the emergence of App stores and Digital content , the game is now changed to choosing ecosystem.
If you are a user who is having Android phone, has a lot of music collections , have purchased great deal of apps and is used to Google , then it becomes difficult to go to a different ecosystem like iOS because the music format is different , need to buy apps once again and get settled with maps and other essential services.
That is why Microsoft is finding it very difficult to switch users from different ecosystem to Windows. People currently using smartphones or tablet have already taken sides with Apple or Amazon or Android and thus it takes a total shift of various services and systems to become get used to in the new ecosystem.
This trend of choosing ecosystems over mobile OS can make it difficult for small start-ups to find inroads , make their OS stand out in the game of ecosystems. We could already see pace of innovation on OS front getting slowed after major OS having established themselves,are now working with refining their OS and not trying anything innovative.
As if this is not enough , Apple started suing Samsung and HTC for infringing on their patents in every possible country and both HTC/Samsung is dragging them into court as well.All these patent and litigation has slowed down the speed of innovation to some extent.
People also have raised concerns that the patent system is broken and discussions are happening over what is considered as a patent and what is not. Cases filed by Apple against Android through HTC and Samsung is making these OEM makers to also concentrate on Windows Mobile 8 as well.
5.Exploring potential of connected car
Google’s driverless car is making great progress with the use of innovative hardware and software integration that helps in driving the car with the help of maps and navigation through cloud.The arena is wide open for companies to innovate on this area and the possibilities are endless.But it would a take a few years before getting into the mainstream adoption.
Smartphones too has sneaked into our cars these days .Ford has been the forerunner with Ford Sync, a software that can deliver a host of services to users when connected to their smartphones.
Now Apple’s Siri is also in talks with a host of car companies to get enable Eyes Free driving with the help of Siri.
The problem of fragmentation in the connected car space is also evident now. Ford has invested long in Ford Sync that it is not interested in joining with Apple for Siri implementation in their cars. A new connected car alliance is also being formed where in many car companies have agreed to work together to establish a standard and services built around the concept of connected car.It needs to be seen over the next few years,whether these disparate systems could again lead a walled approach in the implementation and integration of smartphones with cars.
6.Internet – Open Inside ,Closed Outside
Be it Facebook or Google or Twitter – they want the whole world and users to be open because Sharing is Caring. But they don’t share content or co-operate with each other to keep internet open and connected,their policy seems to be ‘Sharing everything within,nothing outside’.
While Apple is blamed for building a walled garden in the hardware space, each of these major web companies are in-fact doing the same thing. Little do they realize it’s important to practice what you preach.
Problem is not just between Google and Facebook,even Twitter is not talking to any one, even the developers who worked hard to build the platform.Google search used to display latest results from Twitter but the contract was not renewed. Recently Instagram and Twitter stopped their co-operation with each other.
Even in the message space, while Blackberry was the first one to market BBM Messenger,soon every body followed suit. iMessage was launched Apple and Facebook had its own messages implementation. But every thing was walled and guarded pretty safely. It was either platform specific or ecosystem specific.
It took some body like WhatsApp to break this walled garden and successfully come up with a cross-platform messaging platform that worked seamlessly with each other.
Mobile and Web Technology is growing at a break neck speed and it should be interesting to see how it manages to get critical acclaim but also get main stream adoption thereby playing a very important and inevitable role in lives of people.
So what do you think are the major technology trends that you have witness in 2012 ? Please share your thoughts !