The year of the touchscreen

Jan 02, 2013, 09:23 IST | Hassan M Kamal

If 2012 was greeted with the Android-based Wi-Fi camera and touch screen laptops, 2013 will test their popularity and bring a major shake-up in the gadget industry as popular gadgets like the desktop PC might become obsolete. The cloud will be used more actively, and the SD flash drive will make laptops lighter. The wired network will see a major hit as more will go wireless with 4G reaching India. Hassan M Kamal spoke to tech expert Vijay Mukhi as he plays forecaster on what

Personal computing
The virtual keyboard would be the most revolutionary product in 2013. After the UK, it’s time for the rest of the world, including India, to take the virtual keyboard for a compatibility drive. The multiple-gadget support enabling it to connect with anything from a mobile phone, laptop and tablet to TV sets is what will make it stand apart.

The availability of touch-screen computers will further change the PC market while the SD flash-drive will help it become lighter and more compact like the Samsung Slate. Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors will continue to rule PCs but 2013 will be the year of mobile processor-makers, as these processors (used in mobile phones, TV sets and tablets) will evolve further.

Celluon Magic Cube virtual keyboard. Pic Courtesy/ Celluon

With the Windows 8 OS-based touch screen laptops like Sony Vaio Duo 11 and Lenovo Yoga already out, 2013 will see touch screen making its foray into more gadgets. People will look further for lightweight gadgets that double up as laptop as well as tablet rather than carrying two separate devices. Compatibility and their ability to sync-in with each other will be a major driving force. Microsoft, for the first time, will have to follow in other’s footsteps.

Windows 8-based touch screen laptop Sony Vaio Duo. Pic Courtesy/Sony

Television and entertainment
High-Definition television will become more high definition, and 80-inch TV sets with 4K resolutions will become the standard size. Picture quality will get sharper and clearer, and the idiot box will smarten up. People will look for wireless connectivity even on their TV sets. We will watch more movies at home rather than at theatres as piracy will pick-up.

Pic Courtesy/Samsung

3D television however, will take a backseat as people would want more from it, and the technology is not yet ready. Samsung and Nikon have opened a new category of prosumer cameras with the Samsung Galaxy and Nikon Coolpix S800c. Despite the Android glitches, and thanks to improved camera phones, buyers will now look for cameras allowing users to upload their pictures directly to the Web. The camera industry will see a major shake-up as more Android-based cameras (Polaroid) with big screens hit the market in 2013.

Threats to data security — personal and professional — will increase further, as more information is moved to the Cloud and more Indians join the smart phone bandwagon.

With mobile phones also doubling up as the digital wallet, the security threat will be even higher. The Android and iOS will be the two major targets. On the online space, state surveillance will increase and so will the threats to your privacy. But at the same time, it will be a year where the social Indian will be more active and aware of the dangers.

Internet connectivity will be faster and wireless. With Reliance and Airtel planning to introduce 4G to India by June 2013, India will experience the real high-speed internet connectivity in 2013. Cost, however, will be a major hurdle as 4G will be very expensive, initially, but nevertheless, it will revolutionise how we browse the Web.

Better Web connectivity will affect every gadget from mobile phones, tablets, camera phones, television to laptops and their use. Wireless connectivity is another aspect that will affect buying decisions as Wi-Fi becomes standard for most devices. Better Internet connectivity will mean Indians will download and upload more data than ever in 2013.

Mobile communication
The differentiation between smart and non-smart will reduce further as more Indians opt for the Android-based smartphone. Better screen, better camera, connectivity and more apps will continue to drive the market. Mobile phone users will be first to test an app before it moves to the PC market.

Apple iPhone will stay at No 2 while Android phones take over the market. Pic Courtesy/Apple

Cost will be the major driving force making Android the No 1 in mobile communication, followed by Apple iOS and Windows Mobile, thanks to Nokia Lumia. Blackberry might want to look at 2013 as a year to forget.

3 gadgets we might miss in 2013
Desktop PCs: It will take a major hit in 2013 due to rising popularity of tablets and phones becoming smarter.
Projector: With large screen Smart TVs becoming standard, the projector, with its inability to connect wirelessly and poor video output, will become obsolete.
DSLRs: Despite their high-quality lenses and imaging ability, the DSLR will face a major shake-up as the camera phones and portable prosumer cameras take over.

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