5 big questions for 2014

5 big questions for 2014

Summary: 2014 is here … yippee! But now that the world's firework supply has been seriously depleted and the champagne headaches have subsided, it's time to think about more serious things – such as tech.

TOPICS: Hardware

2014 is here … yippee! But now that the world's firework supply has been seriously depleted and the champagne headaches have subsided, it's time to think about more serious things – such as tech.

While there's no doubt that 2013 was an interesting year in the world of technology, I think that the pieces are positioned to make 2014 even more interesting. Here are just a few things I'll be keeping my eye on over the year.

AMD – Will it embrace mobile?

After the bottom fell out of the PC market all the major PC players have been scrabbling to make their mark in the mobile sector – except for one. AMD.

So far AMD has resisted making any real progress in the mobile market. In 2013 the company did score a duo of wins by grabbing the top spot inside both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but can the cash from console sales make up for the fall in revenue from evaporating PC sales?

Will we see that big PC upgrade cycle?

While there's little doubt that PC sales have been far from stellar, analysts have been predicting that the industry will experience an upgrade cycle. The thinking is that there are tens of millions of old PCs squirreled away in offices all around the world. These PCs will, one day, need upgrading, and thanks to Windows 8.1 this day will be sometime during 2014.

I happen to agree with the analysts that an upgrade cycle is coming, but there are two things to bear in mind:

  • The rebound will be temporary. People will never buy PCs at the rate they once did. The glory days are over, and the future belongs to mobile devices.
  • PCs are lasting longer than ever, so this could be the last major upgrade cycle for a few years.

Will wearables be the next big thing?

Wearable computers in the form of smart watches and eyewear seem to be getting ready to break into the mainstream market. We've already seen smartwatches such as the Pebble making an appearance, but so far the effect they have had seems minimal. Then there's Google Glass, which still seems to be languishing in the early dev stages.

The question isn't whether wearable devices are coming – they are – the real question is whether they will be compelling enough to capture the imagination of buyers. Not only does the price have to be right, but wearables are also going to have to serve a purpose above and beyond being a second screen for smartphones.

WWAD? (What Will Apple Do?)

As usual, all eyes will be on Apple. While both the iPhone and iPad will likely see a refresh over the coming year, there's always the hope that the Cupertino giant has something ne up its sleeve.

Perhaps iWatch, or iGlass. Or maybe the long-fabled TV.

Whatever it is, you can count on the fact that it will be big news.

Kindle Phone?

Amazon is an interesting company. Almost overnight the company transformed itself from a book retailer to a huge player in the digital world. It has on offer a vast array of digital content – ranging from books to games – and now has a raft of devices from which users can consume said content.

But there's one device that Amazon has yet to offer – a smartphone. Amazon's success with the Kindle range of hardware suggests the company has the tech know-how and consumer reach (not to mention ties to carriers) needed to make such a device a success.

And if that's not enough, Amazon is in the unenviable position of being able to sell the hardware at close to cost in the hopes of making a profit from selling content.

Topic: Hardware

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  • How about a iLemon

    That would be handy
    • That already exists

      and it is called MS Surface!
      • Classic answer...

        ...from someone that is afraid. The Surface is a great device and you know it. Be afraid. Latest stats show that the Surface represent more web activity than the Nexus tablets. It is only the beginning.
        • Re: ...from someone that is afraid

          A random comment if there ever was one. Whether it be the iPad, Android Tablet or Surface all have their strengths and equally weaknesses. No product is perfect.
          • gbouchard99 is right, 5735guy

            One left foot can't seem to post unless he says something that is disparaging of MS.

            I've said it before, It sounds like he's afraid of MS, as any negative comment about anything from any company gets his "MS hate" on. People don't tend to dwell on things as much as he does with MS, unless they're afraid of it.

            What he's afraid of, that we can't be sure.
          • @ William Farrell

            If you had a modicum of brains, which you don't, you would have understood the response to be a sarcastic remark to a completely unnecessary comment. As for you, we all know that you are incapable of posting any comment that is not pro-MS and anti everything else. All of that is evident in you yet again trying to attack me and yet you ignore that original comment from Mooshead. You could have also attacke Moosehead, but of course you did not because the comment is clearly anti-Apple. Your comments are utterly worthless because you are little more than an annoying troll who will do anything and say anything to support MS.
          • I agree

            That comment was simply a sarcastic response to a moron.
  • Amazon

    "Amazon is in the unenviable position of being able to sell the hardware at close to cost in the hopes of making a profit from selling content."

    Why is that unenviable?
    • Because of the word "hope." Amazon is taking a hit

      with no guarantee it will recoup the loss by selling content. That's why the position is unenviable.
      • I would agree with unenviable

        if Amazon didn't have the cash they do to back it up from everything else they do, and the fact that at least they are making something.

        Even if they make just $100,000 dollar profit from the Kindle sales themselves, everything else is profit from there on out in regards to content.
        • They don't have all that much cash.

          They have massive free cash flow but a tiny amount (given their market cap) of actual cash.
          • Yet they're still Wall St. darlings.

            I don't get it. I understand the shell game Amazon is playing with it s customers and vendors, but I don't' get how anyone thinks that it's a sustainable business. I guess the logic is that eventually enough consumers and online companies will "need" Amazon so much that they'll be able to start charging realistic prices and fees. I'm not sure I'd bet the company on that idea, though.
  • 5 big questions for 2014

    "Will wearables be the next big thing?"

    Yes but not yet and not in 2014. Google is starting it but people are not impressed with what they have done. An improved HUD system is needed for any manufacturers that are going to make eye wear. The wrist watch concept I don't see taking off. Might have some traction in the fitness/health sector for heart rate monitoring but its hard to say just how much they can improve on that. You are looking at 2016 for it to become usable and make an impact.
  • Request for more responsible iOS Support from Apple....

    iPhone and iPad users are currently getting a pretty rough deal. Now although I am quite happy with iOS7 on my iPhone 5 and iPad Mini there are many who do not hold iOS7 in such high regard. It is wrong, irresponsible and shortsighted of Apple to not allow the user to roll back to iOS6.

    iOS7 works great with the iPhone 5/5S/5C but some iOS7 functionality is lost with the iPhone 4/4S. Bearing that in mind it would be advantageous for iOS6 to be available as a roll back option.

    This of course is not the first time we have seen this from Apple as iOS6 cannot be run on the First Generation iPad with users being restricted to iOS5.
    • "It is wrong, irresponsible and shortsighted of Apple"

      By what metric? You can run your multi-billion dollar multinational consumer electronics company however you want, but the guys in Cupertino seem to be doing pretty well playing by their rules.

      Don't like it? Buy an Android phone, and you'll likely never even have the opportunity to upgrade the OS on your device. Problem solved.
      • Re: Don't like it? Buy an Android phone....

        It seems as though you misread my comment.

        I intended to get across the point that iOS6 and iOS7 could quite easily coexist. Some disagree in that the iOS system would become fragmented. I believe this not to be the case. Android on the other hand although popular is certainly fragmented and losing direction.

        A First generation iPad would benefit immensely if it supported iOS6 as the default iOS5 is all but redundant as many of the apps. have had the code rewritten to fall in to line with iOS7 however they will still run on iOS6.
  • Will we see that big PC upgrade cycle?

    Most probably. However, not "thanks to Windows 8.1", but "thanks to Windows XP end of life".
    • Don't forget Dual OS

      As companies look at replacing XP boxes they may have have machines available that can still run legacy Windows applications, just shrug off Metro, and move their LOB development to Android. It will be interesting to see the early hybrid machines demoed at CES and where this trend goes in 2014. If this proves popular 2015 may prove even more interesting.
      • Go back at look at some of the "best of show" from CES past

        Most of those products never shipped, or if they did didn't sell many units.
        • Good point

          Even good ideas can suffer from bad execution, confusion, and lack of market readiness. Lots of those who have written about Dual OS still seem to think it is simple dual booting or some BlueStacks-like travesty. If true, that's going to get nothing but yawns.