If social media had an official mentalist his name might be Pete Cashmore. The Mashable founder is also CNN’s social media and tech correspondent who shared some headline news on what he thinks will be the 2012 top tech trends.
From the onslaught of iPad competitors to the rise of cloud-base apps, 2011 spotlighted some high touch/high tech advancements. And the lightening speed these new technologies have been unleashed (and consumed) by the public seems unlikely to change in 2012.
So what trends might we see in 2012?
Here’s what Cashmore forecasts we’ll be seeing in the tech days ahead.
1. Touch computing
Touch inputting is becoming the norm among smartphones and tablets, and now Cashmore expects it could begin to expand into a true replacement for traditional desktop computing. He points to the latest desktop operating systems like Windows 8 and Mac OS X Lion, which borrow heavily from mobile OS’s, as a sign of where desktop computing is headed, although he doesn’t think the conversion will be complete by the end of the next year.
2. Social gestures
Facebook unveiled “frictionless sharing” in September, which allows users to share media or news articles without a single click. If use Spotify or Social Reader on Facebok, you’ve probably noticed that the music you listen to or the article you just read is now automatically turning up in your news feed. If more services use Instant sharing, they’ll be an surge in content, but Cashmore wonders if too many users opt out over privacy concerns.
Mobile payment systems like Google Wallet finally showed up in a few mobile phones this year, and they may pop up in more phones in 2012. Using your cell phone as a credit card has been through Near Field Communication (NFC) has been often-discussed but is finally turning into a reality. With more options like Visa Wallet and Square becoming available, It might be soon before you leave you can leave your wallet at home. By 2013, Cashmore expects 1 in 5 cellphones to be NFC-equipped.
4. iPad wanna-be
While the iPad remains the fave tablet, 2011 saw many companies taking aim at the throne with some quality alternatives like the Asus Transformer and the Kindle Fire. With it’s low price ($199 to the iPad’s 499) and integrated Amazon content, the Fire represents a real threat to Apple and Cashmore predicts it will outsell the iPad in 2012.
5. TV everywhere
Live mobile TV is another idea we’ve heard about that has failed to take off, mostly because the cable companies have refused to allow their content to appear on mobile devices. That’s starting to change — with a catch — companies will provide live TV and on-demand shows and movies, if you’re a paying customer. Dish Network, Time Warner and Comcast are among those that started offering mobile TV this year.
6. Hello voice control
Thanks to Siri, the voice-control feature in the new iPhone 4S, voice recognition has gone mainstream and may spread to other devices in 2012. Voice control isn’t new to mobile phones, but Siri, the first voice-recognition software to be integrated directly into its phone, is far more reliable and offers greater functionality than previous offerings. So more devices may begin offering similar features, and Apple is contemplating using voice control to replace the TV remote.
7. Spatial gestures
Another input method gaining traction is spacial gestures, which allows you to control a device simply by moving your hands. The Microsoft’s Kinect, allows controller-free gaming, and more some hackers have tapped Kinect to work with other platforms, so more devices could begin using this input method in 2012
8. Second-screen experiences
With more and more viewers using mobile devices while watching television, TV and movie execs are buzzing about “Second-screen experiences” Providers are chomping to provide viewers with enhanced interactive content, and there are several apps, mostly on the iPad, which listen to the audio of the program you’re watching and can play related content. Disney has such an app for some of it’s movies, and more are on the horizon.
9. Flexible screens
This could be one of the most mind-blowing technologies to emerge in some time, new bendable interfaces that allow viewers to zoom in or scroll around a page simply by twisting your device.
Nokia and Samsung are talking about releasing phones with bendable displays in 2012, but paper-thin devices that you can stick it your pocket, Cashmore says those are still years away.
10. Goodbye Flash, meet HTML5
Last but not least, HTML5 — the fifth iteration of the HTML standard — allows developers to produce even more interactive applications. Cashmore says its important because HTML5 offers the opportunity to build an app once and have it work across multiple platforms. With the news that Adobe is killing off Flash for mobile devices, HTML5 could fill that gap.
Now whether all these technologies actually hit the mainstream, or if a new idea hits the market in 2012, we’ll just have to wait and see. To see Cashmore’s full report on the top tech trends in 2012, click here to see his special report on CNN.com.
Where will you be in the social media and technology mix for 2012? I will have iPhone or iPad in hand following the Social PR industry from screen to cloud to screen.