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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.
Apple TV could revitalize slumping television market
Will Apple launch its own television set in 2013? It's possible, and very likely -- if the analysts are right -- but when, and at what price?
Apple lost out to the sub-$200 mini-tablet range by pricing its own 7-inch iPad mini at a price premium. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant has not broken down the figures, but analysts still believe the mini-tablet has failed to take off. If Apple takes the same approach with a fully-fledged 'smart TV,' it may not revitalize the wider technology market.
The problem is that televisions are not replaced very often, and are low margin products. This is why Sony, Sharp and Panasonic, and others -- excluding Samsung which is faring the weather well -- are struggling to stay afloat and are looking at financing options. A break into the television market would be an automatic failure, but if Apple could control it -- as it would -- it would be more than a "hobby business," as Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at the company's fourth quarter earnings call, but also be less than a dire waste of time.
Still, by bringing iTunes and pay-per-view content to the television set, the devices could be sold at a modest premium with razor-thin margins -- just as Google and Amazon do with their tablets -- and still rake in the cash long-term with the television content factor.
Anonymous, Wikileaks will revive, hacktivism will hit a new level
Wikileaks has had a relatively quiet year, in spite of Julian Assange's 'house arrest' in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Anonymous, however, has remained busy, taking down what it deems to be unethical companies, exposing security holes in networks, and above all else -- it seems -- having fun in the process. The hacking collective typically works 'for the people' exposing wrongdoing and illegal behavior and activities.
Wikileaks' Assange has already promised to release many more leaks in the coming year that could have lasting effects on governments and private industries. Outside of the Wikileaks collective, Anonymous and its affiliates will continue to exploit security weaknesses 'for the lulz,' and the possibility that governments will begin to exploit these hackers for their own purposes.
Cyber-weaponry will continue to be used as an effective method of destroying physical items with computer code, such as with the rise of Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame among others. Where drone missiles and tactical military strikes once did the most damage, the 'unknown' governments behind these attacks will anonymously strike at regional targets that pose ongoing threats to domestic and international security.