It is that time of the year, the time to take stock of trends that worked for tech companies and the ones that didn’t. It is becoming increasingly tough for them as product cycles get shorter and consumers more demanding. In 2013, things changed faster than most of us expected. What was predicted to be a trend at the beginning of the year was nowhere to be found by Christmas. New ones emerged mid-year and became stronger as the months passed. Here are three trends that impacted you the most in the year that was.
Smartphones, smarter phones
This was the year in which smartphones started selling more than feature phones. And the credit for this has to go to affordable Android phones powered by cheap processors from companies like MediaTek, and Nokia’s Lumia 520 which has made Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system affordable. In India, you can buy an Android smartphone for as low as Rs 4,000 though the performance of such devices does not compare to high-end models. But that is immaterial when you consider that these phones are democratising not just smart devices, but also taking the internet to places it has never been before. The result: More Indians access the Web from phones than from computers.
The smartphone has also become smarter than before. Yes, it is evolution, but the march of the smartphone has been at the cost of many devices, ranging from point and shoot cameras to radios. The smartphone can now be an assistant, not one that needs to be spoken to like iPhone’s Siri, but one that will speak to you like the Moto X. Voice control has been there for a few years now. But 2013 will be remembered as the year in which it was perfected, well almost. Smartphones have also become intelligent to the extent of being able to take some decisions on their own. The calendar on iOS when working at full capability will tell you how long it will take you to reach from one meeting to the other, and reschedule the second according to the expected time of arrival. It will even send a text message about the delay to the person you are supposed to meet. Apple also ushered in a technology that might change our lives in a couple of years. The finger print reader on the new iPhone 5s could be the death of