Looking back at 2011, one cannot help but notice that the year was full of contrasts, lots of hits and misses. While some managed to sell like hot cakes, there were some others who failed to live up to the hype. But, all things taken; one thing's for sure, it has left us all hopeful for the new year. We, at Tech2 have listed down the products, or trend that we would like to see happen in 2012.

Next generation Apple products
This year, we saw the Apple iPad 2 garner an overwhelming response with its slim form factor, camera, faster processor, etc. However, when it came to the iPhone, Apple was supposed to launch a device that had a completely different design. Instead, they unveiled the iPhone 4S, which, virtually had the same looks, although the internal hardware was beefed up to quite an extent. We expect the next-gen iPad to retain its slim form factor, but feature a high resolution display akin to the iPhone’s Retina Display. Apart from this the battery, it is believed that Apple is bumping up the battery to 14,000mAh, which is double the size of the battery found on the present iPad. There are rumours floating around that an iPad mini could also be in the work to battle against the popular Kindle Fire.

Will they go beyond a 3.5-inch screen?

Will they go beyond a 3.5-inch screen? Image Source

With the iPhone 5, we expect it to feature an aluminum unibody design similar to that of the iPod Touch and the iPad. We had seen covers leaked in the past from a reputed manufacturer, which confirms this speculation. Apart from this, Apple may add a larger Home button or may do away with it, altogether. The screen size is also expected to be increased to 4 inches and the handset will come in nano-chromatic colours, the same found on Apple’s iPod Nano PMPs. As with most things Apple launches, the excitement levels are certainly going to be high and who knows, maybe Apple may throw in the iTV as well, next year.

Multi-core mobile computing to be all the rage
Blame it on competition, blame it on technology scaling or simply blame it on poor optimization, quad core technology is going to rule the roost in 2012. Dual core phones were supposed to set a new benchmark in 2011, and they did. But, in 2012, dual core will merely be a standard most manufacturers will have to take for, as a given. 2012 will feature quad core phones and tablets, alike and the Transformer Prime is a living example of that.

When two cores just wont do

When two cores just wont do

What does this mean for consumers? Simply put it, a faster (if it wasn’t quick enough, already!) experience on your phone at speeds which could be comparable to your current desktop PC. Extra horsepower means games can render more graphics, your phone can support heavy apps (Photoshop, anyone?) and more processes will be able to run simultaneously on your smartphone. What this also indicates is that battery life will stutter greatly, unless they get more powerful batteries onto the market. Whatever the scene may be, one thing is for sure, quad core will be the marketed keyword on every manufacturer’s phone and tablet in 2012.

Hooplas on internet censorship and free speech
Towards the end of this year, we had two big events, one global and one local, that would affect the way we consumed content and expressed ourselves on the internet.

Censorship blues

Censorship blues

One was SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, which is still in debtate in the United States. The other is Kapil Sibal's request to the social networks to prescreen content before it is put up on the social network. While bigger companies like Facebook and Twitter will not prescreen content, they most likely could set up a stricter method of punishment for offensive content. Currently, in India, a common form of punishment for posting offensive content is lodging an FIR, but if Facebook develops their own punishment system, the Indian judiciary can focus on bigger problems.

Mobile Commerce
NFC made its way to many phones, but it can be argued that it will become mainstream once it hits the iPhone. However, even though the next iPhone can only be expected late next year, we can expect more development in NFC on a global scale.

Payments made easy

Payments made easy

Currently there are apps for banking using NFC where mobile users can transfer money to and from accounts, as well as make certain deposits into their accounts. NFC, at least, on a global level and not just in India is expected to grow and mobile users will be able to carry out more types of transactions like making bill payments as well as transfering information from one phone to another.

Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung is all set to dish out the successor to its renowned Samsung Galaxy S II which is expected to make an appearance in February 2012. Smartphone enthusiasts can look forward to the mighty device dubbed Galaxy S III. The all-new Galaxy S III is set to raise the bar of high-end smartphones with an array of next-gen features. It is speculated to run on the Samsung brewed quad core processor. The spec sheet is likely to feature 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED display, support for LTE support and the latest Android flavor – Ice Cream Sandwich. Moreover, this time around, Samsung has apparently roped in a 3D display for the device.

Windows 8
Windows 8 should be the next big thing for PCs and there's a lot banking on it. The Windows operating system has seen decades of development and there's a lot depending on it in 2012. Tablets are the latest craze and smartphones are likely to grow some more this coming year. This is where Microsoft needs to make its presence – by delivering a solid product that caters for both, traditional desktop and tablet users.

The next best thing?

The next best thing?

Windows 7 and previous versions haven't done too well on the tablet and a strong OS for ARM-based devices is required. With a strong presence of the Metro user interface, somewhat similar to the one found on the Windows Phone and the right partners, Microsoft should be catch up with the competition – iOS and Android. Another area where Windows 8 should find success with is with Ultrabooks. Intel has been pushing hard for these low-lower, ultraslim notebooks and many of its partners will be launched Ultrabooks based on Intel's hardware running Microsoft's Windows 8. The next variation of Windows Phone might also be based on it. A new Windows release arrives every couple of years and if Microsoft gets it right, 2012 should be looking great for them.

Ultrabooks
Thin is in, and this wave is going to rise higher than ever in the world of notebooks, next year. With the netbooks fading away into history, Intel has jumpstarted a new trend that’s only going to swell in 2012. Ultrabooks or ultra compact notebooks is changing the way we look at notebooks, and it’s high time as well. How often do you use your DVD drive? do you really need Ethernet with Wi-Fi now almost commonplace? And how many of you have actually used the Express card slot on your notebooks? Chuck away all these things and you’re left with a slimmer, more portable computing device with all the basic components you need, nothing more, nothing less.

As slim as they come

As slim as they come

With the first phase of Ultrabooks already out, we are most eagerly awaiting the send phase which will be based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs. This 28nm die shrink of Sandy Bridge should improve performance and power draw but more importantly drive the costs down as it would be cheaper to manufacture. Another feature we would really love in Ultrabooks is provision for a 3G SIM as standard. This is just more convenient rather than having an ugly dongle sticking out of the side and it also brings the functionality of Ultrabooks closer to tablets.

Aakash tablet

The launch of the Aakash tablet was easily among the most spoken about launches, this year in India. Revolutionizing the humble education system of the country, the Aakash tablet made heads turn with its surprisingly low price tag, and the specification list that came along for that price. The tablet's early version earned itself a decently-sized fan following across the country, and some admirers abroad. Early this month, the tablet was put up for sale online, and within a week it was SOLD OUT!.

Getting better in 2012

Getting better in 2012

Now, an upgraded version of the tablet is being prepped in the labs for a February 2012 release. Needless to add, the upcoming version is being rumored to pack a punch. For a price tag of Rs.2,999 the upgraded version will offer Android 2.3 OS, 7-inch display, Cortex A8, 700 Mhz processor with HD Video co-processor, Connectivity with GPRS & Wi-Fi, among others. It wouldn't be an exaggeration here, if one would say that Aakash is only going to grow bigger in the coming times.

That's it form all of us at Tech2 for this year. We hope you'll enjoyed reading about the various technologies as much as we did writing about them. We like to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year and here's to a splendid 2012. See ya'll on the other side!

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