ZDNet's tech predictions for 2013

ZDNet's tech predictions for 2013

Summary: What will be the next big thing? As cellular carriers merge and become stronger, mobile makers may not survive. Will big data analytics take off, and will 3D printing arrive with a bevy of legal and ethical issues? Here's a look ahead at 2013 and what we can expect.


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  • 3D printing will go mainstream, printing at home?

    It's Star Trek technology or primitive replicators coming to our century. Printing was, for years, limited to the business environment. Eventually it arrived in homes to consumer users. But, the next step in printing comes in three-dimensions -- 3D printing -- giving users the ability to 'print' (with lasers and computer-aided cutting machines) items for machines, computers, and even body parts.

    It will only be a matter of time before home users will be able to download schematics and blueprints from the Web and create their own products from their home office as the technology becomes more simplified.

    It's a distance away yet, but 2013 will see a dramatic rise in the 3D printing sector, along with the associated ethical issues with it. Should you be able to print a firearm at home? Should 3D printers be used with stem cells to build body parts? And should the schematics or blueprints be offered through 'pirate' sites? Where there will be 3D printing, there will likely be strict regulation.

  • Augmented reality will become... reality with Google Glass, others

    A relatively new technology, the idea of 'augmented reality' in the real world involves holding up a phone's camera to produce real-life items that will 'light up' and display information. Your phone's screen is a looking glass to the wider world, and you could explore your surroundings with 'hidden' nuggets pulled from the Web.

    With the announcement of Google Glass earlier this year, the search giant is bringing the augmented 'reality' one step closer by cutting out the middle-man device. The glasses include a heads-up display where those who wear the device can check their messages, record video, and see additional information about the environment they are in.

    While Google Glass isn't expected until 2014, the wider industry will be working frantically to bring their own offerings to the table. It will also open up the floodgates to other competitors jumping in and offering their own solutions to a problem that never actually existed. Perhaps a fad for now, augmented reality and Google Glass-like functionality could be the first step -- aside from human bionic limbs -- toward the 'humanification' of technology. Watch this space in 2013.

Topics: Presentations, Bring Your Own Device, EU, Printers, Networking, Mobility, Microsoft, Google, Cloud, Big Data, Apple

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  • Another blog post . . .

    . . . that showcases the horrifyingly poor slide show widget that ZDNet uses.
    • widgets are unecessary frills anyway

      There is a lot to be said for good old fashioned hyperlinks - they are fast, can tell you exactly what you are going to, take up less space etc. I do believe that pictures are an important part of websites as are videos BUT only where they add something to the text information, as a navigation tool they suck in my opinion and all too often depend on the one plug in the browser I am using doesn't have.
    • Slide show

      "horrifyingly poor slide show widget"?
      No trouble using it here.
      • The issue is the page-reloads.

        It feels like a 7 year old widget.
    • Not sure why they can't use Techrepublic's

      At least on their "slide show" posts, you can:
      -- click "see all" to have all of the snapshots on a single page
      -- "mouse hover" over each snapshot lets you know what item is depicted
      -- and most importantly, you can (at least 95% of the time) read the same post in a "blog" format where all of the descriptions and the accompanying pictures are on the same page (or at most 2 or 3 if there are a lot of items).

      Makes it much easier to read through...
    • worse yet

      The most pathetic thing about this slide show, is that there is absolutely no reason for any pictures. It's a bullet list with a bunch of stock photos of logos and flags.

      Not to mention most of them are not predictions, they are "stories to watch", with no prediction of how they will play out.
    • Agree

      Full page refresh when you click on the next photo seems rather like lazy programming. It's pretty sad coming from a "technology" blog.
    • I believe is done in purpose fot SEO purposes

      is generally better to load 12 pages linking each other than a series of div activated via javascript
  • ring-your-own-device (BYOD)?

    ring-your-own-device (BYOD) personally I dont think this will happen for most, as a lot of companies have group policys that install software on your laptop\tablet & restrict internet sites, which are non removable.

    BYOD will be ok for phones but not tablets or laptops.
  • Hacktivism?

    It's cyberthuggery. Which points out another sure bet tech prediction. Tech bloggers will still slant stories to reflect their personal bias.
    • RE: Hacktivism?

      "Tech bloggers will still slant stories to reflect their personal bias."

      100% agree... No mention of Android/Google wiping the floor with Microsoft and Apple at all - this is already happening and will continue next year. OP must be a Metro/Apple user :-D.

      One prediction I have is that MS will continue its downfall and Apple will fall off the maps next year - Steve Jobs isn't around anymore to rescue the company... They are history!
      • Maybe there's no mention of Android/Google

        wiping the floor with Microsoft and Apple because even the bloggers know that will never happen.

        "MS will continue its downfall and Apple will fall off the maps next year"

        Well, since MS isn't in a downward spiral, and people have proven they'd rather have an iPad over Android kind of makes you're statement...imaginative.

        Just telling you how it is.
        William Farrel
        • Android already outsells iOS

          in phones by a very large margin.

          Android tablets are already catching up in market share and projected to pass by iPads this coming year.

          None of that is a statement of my preferences, just some facts, figures and projections in the industry.
          • There is a lot more to business that market share

            Of course anybody with any business sense realizes this and doesn't base everything on that simply statistic. You can have 95% of a market but if our competitor with only 5% still makes more money you are not winning. I'll take 5% market share and higher profits versus 95% market share and razor thin break even margins any day. Both market share and profit margin are important only one will sustain a company over the long haul.
      • Mr. Rocks - we know where the Rocks are

        Did you ever think that Android and Google were not mentioned because the products are so small it's not worth it? Android is SOOO saturated and varies from total crap hardware so mostly decent hardware and products that it's actually hurting itself, not to mention the issues with the AppStore and the update mess that Google - due to their Beta mentality - has created. Yeah they will not - you can go back to your day job now...
    • re: Hacktivism?

      > Tech bloggers will still slant stories to reflect their personal bias.

      The blogger doesn't exist that doesn't, tech or otherwise. You lost. Deal with it. LOL!
      none none
    • More like the digital Mafia

      I think Anonymous is more like organized crime than activism. I wish our country expand RICO.
  • 3D Printing Ethical Issues?

    I think it is a bit sensationalist and totally off base to suggest ethical issues are of any major concern for 3D printing. 3D printing is just another machining tool with some very attractive features with accessibility to a growing base of DIY enthusiasts. Other tools are better suited for large scale production and are used commercially for quick cloning of many devices. 3D printing will contribute a miniscule amount to commercial cloning but will allow many to personally produce items they desire. Current laws cover patentable and copyrighted materials and 3D brings no new issues to the table. You are much more likely to see a continued up swell of open source and legitimately reverse engineered drawings and plans.

    As to printing guns there real sensationalism given the current issues in the media. Come On!!
    You really can't regulate what people do with tools they own. That is just absurd and totally unenforceable and the statement that where there is 3D printing there will be regulation beyond absurd. Regulation will be based on core issue not the machine tool you use.

    How about concentrating on how 3D printing is opening a new level of capability allowing more people to create their ideas and dreams into reality. A new manufacturing paradigm of individual manufacturing and customization. A boon to low quantity manufacturing and aid to fast prototyping and R&D. These are areas that are real issues for 3D printing.
  • You might wish to cite different analyst opinions on certain subjects, Zack

    Regarding the following comment in the Apple TV slide, "Apple lost out to the sub-$200 mini-tablet range by pricing its own 7-inch iPad mini at a price premium."

    There have been reports that the iPad Mini is selling like the proverbial hot cakes. In fact, some sources (DigiTimes) - although I don't place too much stock in their future product predictions - claim that iPad mini orders from eight million units have been increased to 10 million due to strong sales worldwide and even suggest those orders might reach 12 million units.

    Further, DigiTimes reports that the supply chain supplied Apple with 4-4.5 million iPad Mini components in October and the same amount in November.

    I have further read that the Amazon Kindle Fire HD units might not be selling well although for the Holiday season, sales of the new Kindle Fire HD might resemble those of the first gen device. That is to state, sales of the Kindle Fire HD will peak during this holiday buying season but will return to disappointing sales levels after this period.
    • Better yet

      "Windows 8 will likely, despite analysts hedging their outlooks, become a massive success, despite its sluggish start. Most organizations are expected to roll out the next-generation software to their existing machines."

      Name a single organisation lookin to roll out Win8! It isn't happening anywhere outside consumer market. DOA for the enterprise.
      Richard Flude