‘Technology’ Category

 

Tech Trends in 2013 and Beyond

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2012 was a great year for technology, and may very well be remembered as the year that social media took hold with a vast majority of the population, as mobile apps exploded, Twitter enjoyed unprecedented success, Facebook continues to take off after its move to become a publicly traded company, and even Pinterest took hold as the social network for people in love with design and more.

But while 2012 was a banner year, what does 2013 hold for the tech industry, and where is it all headed? While by no means exhaustive, and certainly by no means done with the help of a crystal ball or fortune teller, here are a few tech trends that very well may take hold in 2013 as we develop more social media, mobile technology, and digital innovation.

Niche Social Networks Will Rule The Day

Facebook and Twitter, and to a certain extent LinkedIn, have cornered the market when it comes to massive social networks and large appeal social spaces for millions upon millions of people. But what about a social network designed for people who like pugs, and want to share information about their pugs with other like-minded people and pug owners?

While the major social network market is now crowded and controlled, there is space in the social network game to see mini social networks that are devoted to specific niches of the population. Much like online forums and chat rooms of the 1990s, these social networks will connect people with very specific interests who are looking for very specific things and content, as opposed to the catch-all system that Facebook and others have become.

Will We See A Social Network Revolt?

Digital technology may be here to stay, but more and more people are giving it up as they seek to connect with other humans in real life, as opposed to online and in artificial circumstances. Sure, we may not see millions upon millions of people toss out their smart phones in favor of seeking out people in real life, but more people are understanding the value inherent with connecting in person among their friends and family, as opposed to in social spaces online.

Call it a hipster trend now, but don’t be surprised when droves of people cut out their Facebook accounts, and start to make more intentional connections with friends and family in person, rather than online.

mobile devicesWhat Will Devices Do?

Will devices keep getting smaller, or larger? The iPad mini has obviously developed and taken the space between a tablet and a cell phone, but what’s next — sleeker and thinner devices that perform well, or larger devices that can do more and are more heavy duty for power users?

It all comes down to user experience, and for thousands of individuals and hundreds of tech companies, it will all depend on who can make the very best user experience and the highest quality device for the cheapest price, regardless of the size of the device or its capabilities regarding aesthetics.

Heather Boone is a tech  blogger and web journalist who covers the internet and how technology affects education and society. Her work can be found on blogs like the one on this site.

 

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Software on Surface

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There’s no denying that more and more people now owns a tablet computer. In the last quarter of 2012, a survey found that the rate of tablet ownership rose seven percent from the previous quarter. The rate of people intending to buy a tablet computer also went up as 3 out of 4 online consumers who were surveyed said they expect to make the purchase in the future.

Among businesses, there is also a significant rise in the use of tablets over the last few years. Business usage has exceeded expectations, growing at a faster rate than consumer usage. Businesses are also pushing in the envelope in terms of how tablets are used. While the average consumer uses a tablet for internet surfing, emails, reading and playing games, businesses conduct conferences, perform financial transactions and create client presentations, among many other needs, using a tablet.

microsoft surfaceA relatively new entrant to the tablet market is Surface, the first tablet series developed by Microsoft and released on June of 2012. There are two versions of Surface – Surface RT which has an ARM processor and Surface Pro which has an Intel processor. You can install new applications onto both models via the Windows Store but you can only install third-party desktop applications on Surface Pro.

Surface Windows RT is already installed with Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview that has touch-optimized versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. On the other hand, Microsoft has made their Windows 7 programs available to work on the Surface Pro. Users will be able to use the full MS Office Suite and other business applications from the Windows Store.

With the availability of the Office Suite applications on this tablet, Surface has made it possible to produce content with much ease using a tablet since the apps you would be using are the same ones you’re running in your laptop or desktop computer. Surface also has a very useful file system that allows you to download a file and save it to a folder and then access it later using several programs, much like you would be able to do in a real computer. Surface tablets also come loaded with Windows Mail and Messaging that can be set up with Google like Mail, Contacts and Calendar.

The Surface offers a new and very productive way to use tablet devices, which is designed to appeal to business users. However, there are some disappointments like a poor battery life and the need to work on a proper surface for keystrokes to register reliably. Only time will tell whether this much-praised device will greatly increase tablet usage among business users.

Stephen Valle is a retired business professional who coaches companies on team building, leadership training, and business technology. 

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