Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Tech Trends in 2011

While winding back the year 2011, it is obvious to have a look what changed the IT scenario & online part of our life this year. Here are the IT Trends & Important events of 2011 which I feel, will definitely guide the future.

01. Geolocation - For non-technical users it can be just reference of user location tracking like Facebook did. This trend is observed as a major phenomenon. Let it be apps, social networks, search or maps, Geolocation features added the ease of operations, on the other hand a bit restriction on privacy front. Indeed we can call it a buzzword of the 2011. More of Open API's are hitting the market than the earlier trend of OpenSource. Geolocation can be easily integrated to the native apps, websites, softwares, products or contents, thanks to APIs.

02. End of flash for mobiles - The era that wasn't everywhere on the mobile. Adobe confirmed on 9th Nov 2011, that they are no longer be developing mobile flash, saying that HTML5 is the best solution for mobile dynamic contents and videos. (Ref. - Business week). A bold move indeed, but it was call of the time. Apple devices which carry considerable number in the market, has no support for Flash and its parallel apps ecosystem. But instead of making this a point, there were more dynamic contents optimized to serve iOS devices. Fragmentation of android, less response to QNX (Blackberry Playbook) & really necent stage of BADA, nothing is favouring the allocation of pool of resources for mobile flash. There was an era of common standard for dynamic contents, dominated by flash. For mobiles, Flash is heavy, consuming battery, resources, space & time. Now it will be replaced by more flexible standards like HTML5. But dear Flash, you will be missed. Another major reason for mobile OS makers not choosing flash is the parallel ecosystem of apps, and UX, which flash allows. Players like Apple, Microsoft want to offer seamless and unified User Experience, can control the individual market (iTunes & Apple Marketplace as well as Zune Market), but will open a backdoor by allowing flash on the devices. This will lead to another popular situation of Fragmentation, which is often referred for the rival, Android. Reasons are many, outcome is, mobile flash will become history over the time.

03. Google buying Motorola - an attempt to secure Android. This year was year of lawsuites. Intellactual property rights, features and User Interface were the weapons leading ITCOES used against each other. In this warfare, Google extended the arms to build competancy in the mobile hardware market, acquiring Motorola Mobility. Android is still lagging on few fronts than its closest competitor iOS. One of them is dedicated hardware for the OS. Android is often modified by OEMs, to differentiate, to make it suitable with the specified hardware and to make it attractive. As the legend Steve Jobs once said, "Every android is different, but all iPhones are same." Somewhere there is a need to standardize hardware config for android. But this is not the major reason. Patent pool in possation with Motorola which will add another layer of defence for Google & associated android vendors, which is surrounded by IP violation cases. The problem here is innovating & patenting are appears to be two different things. Like Face unlock techonogy which is introduced to market by Android IceCream Sandwich on Samsung Google Galaxy Nexus, but is registered for patent by Apple. (Source)

04. Siri - better voice control on phone - Apple products always grab the attaintion because of its well planned marketing campaign. Same thing happened for iPhone 4S. Again was best kept secret under the heading of Lets talk iPhone on 4th Oct 2011. Speculations were for iPhone 5, with better camera, better features to leap ahead in mobiles. It happened to be modified and upgraded iPhone 4 named iPhone 4S. When I thought that Apple is listening to market, bringing dual-core process, better camera, which is already present in the other brands. But there was an innovation, SIRI. A smart voice control, in the form of humble personal assistant. A cleaver blend of Geolocation, User preferences record and Interactive Voice recognition, it was truly innovation. Though Android devices were enjoying Google Voice search right from FROYO days, the interactiveness of SIRI makes is one amazing feature. There are siri clones like IRIS being ported to android, but its not that unified experience. Credit surely goes to Apple.

05. New breed of Touch optimized Windows & Mango - It was early 2010, when Microsoft announced Window Phone 7, a unique UI based highly reworked breed of mobile OS. But it was Mid 2011, when they came up with MANGO (Windows Phone 7.5), which can be said a truly mainstream mobile OS. In late August 2011, announcement of Windows 8 Developer Preview, again grabbed the stardum for Microsoft. After XP, Windows 7 was widely accepted than the predecessor VISTA. Windows Phone Platform is catering to GenNext smartphone, Desktops becoming obsolate, world is moving towards Tablet, so as Microsoft. Porting METRO tile UI to touch optimized Next Generation of Windows, Microsoft integrated the classic feel of Windows with ease & connectivity of current internet & social network era. Windows 8 is really in its early phases, but it surely point towards the future, which can be TOUCHED.

06. End of WebOS - WebOS was a dream by Palm, which is now part of HP. This linux based OS, targeted for mobiles devices, was officially abandoned by HP.  Additionally there were roumers that HP is spinning off its personal computers business. Officially HP announced, "It plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward." On 9 Dec 2011, HP announced, "HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices." Looks like one more Open contender in the mobile red ocean is up for 2012.

07. Group Buying - More of consumer interest trend observed worldwide. (like Groupon, living social worldwide or dealandyou, snapdeals, flipkart etc. in Indian scenario) Groupbuying sites shown remarkable growth. More important is people are adapting this whole new business model, and ease of it as well as focus on economical service delivery. Will expect some more innovative approaches to bulkbuying in 2012.

08. Rise of new brands - Xiomi, Meizu, Micromax and others, are now ringing some serious tones in front of giants like Samsung, Apple & Nokia. Mobile market has been typically dominated by large players throwing series of models with competitive prices, performance workhorse at lifestyle consumers and created a closed market situation, is now opening up with some serious entries late this year. Is this thing will change the worldwide scenario of the consumer electronics market? Time can tell.
As said by Kingsley Joseph (Founder, Petal Flames) on Twitter - The most interesting companies in the mobile market are not Apple and Google - they are Meizu & Xiaoi. Growing brands in a huge, growing mkt.

09. Android ICS & iOS5 - The year was marked for mobile computing, and mobile computing was marked by two words three letters each ICS & IOS. The battle started with announcement of iOS5, with improved multi-tasking, cloud integration, own messaging service, and many more features. Now reaction was expected from relatively more open, Android, for its upcoming IceCream Sandwich version (Android 4.0). ICS brought bunch of new standards, features and advancement, with a good attempt to streamline the tablet, mobile, medium sized devices & TV's together in one single solution. Finally its the consumer who will get benefited the most, the competition is heating up & ground is open. 2012 will give the turn.

According to a renowed IT expert in India (source Twitter), Till Dec 2012, more than half of the Android OEM will leave Android, looking for other platform.
Problem in this case is, where to go. Windows Phone is the only viable option rightnow. Unless, some names like GridOS or WebOS (yeah, the dead one) or someone like MeeGo will rise the bar.

10. Reach of social media its impact, Censorships & Content filtering - Later half of 2011 was filled with political unrest, revolutions, and spontaneous public reactions on the rulers. Osama Bin Laden, the worlds most wanted terrorist is killed, Gaddaffi the dictetor is punished, many countries underwent revolutions, this time with technology assisting them. Egypt was the first, where social networking & mobile communication fueled the anti-government sentiments, resulted into revolution. London riots are also called Blackberry riots, because of open use of communication technology to co-ordinate the activities. This is the same year, when Government of India, suggested measure to filter the contents, in a manner which is kind of Censorship. In USA, S.O.P.A. proposal stirred the tech world. Movements like India Against Curruption, Occupy Wallstreet etc. was powered based of efficient, easy and effective information sharing. The technology is truly becoming part of life now.

In 2011, We lost many notable people, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Father of C Dennis Ritchie, Legandary Singers like Jagjit Singh, Bhupen Hajarika and many more. Their contributions to our better life will always be acknowledged and remembered. 

Year 2012, looks like, we will meet better computers, smarter phones, more efficient machines as a result more dumb people.

Wish you all a very happy & happening new year 2012!!
Be Smart, Use Smarter, Spend Smartly


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