What to Watch From Five Tech Giants in 2012 | CIO. (No longer available online. Original text included below.)
With 2011 almost behind us, it’s time to look forward to 2012, and ponder what the top tech companies might have up their sleeves. Though a few of them have made announcements, most of what we think is coming is based on rumors, our own speculation and the speculation of others. With that in mind, here’s how your business might be effected by five of the top tech companies in 2012.
Amazon started as a bookstore and has become a content monster. The recently introduced Kindle Fire has been a big hit so far, and the “not quite a tablet” eReader is bound to start showing up at work. Look for Amazon to find way to make the Fire more versitile, and for even more versions of its Kindle line to be available by years end, maybe even in the form of an Amazon phone. With a growing range of devices, look for Amazons App Store to grow in importance, and compete more directly with Google’s Market.
Apple isn’t much for sharing future plans, but based on the current rumors, businesses can look forward to an updated Macbook Pro line. The stand-out feature is said to be a 2880 x 1800 high resolution “retina display”, which would undoubtedly be desirable to graphic artists.
Road warriors that like the portability of the Macbook Air models, but not the small screen sizes may be in luck as a larger 14 or 15 inch model is rumored to be in the works as well.
The third iteration of the iPad is also due, presumably with a higher resolution screen and stronger processor.
Though Facebooks biggest effect on a company may be to distract its workers, it is also a great tool for connecting with its customers. Beyond an inevitable IPO in 2012, Facebook is rumored to once again be looking at a Facebook phone, and with it, perhaps more location based tools. Ads are said to be coming to users streams, offering businesses another way to get their message in front of customers, presumably in a highly targeted way.
Beyond search, Android has probably become the way most people interface with Google every day. 2012 will see the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, available on dozens of new phones, as well as upgrades being pushed to many more of the newer models out there. You can also look forward to seeing it on tablets, where Google says it is releasing a “high-quality” tablet, presumably something that will compete well with the iPad. Finally, look for everything Google does to have a Google+ tie in with new features being introduced, and tighter integration with its existing products to make it almost impossible for businesses to avoid.
For 2012, it’s already obvious what Microsoft will be known for: Windows 8. With the beta due in February, and the official release some time later in the year, new computers will have it installed, and businesses will need to evaluate if they want to upgrade. Besides Windows 8, the Kinect could also find its way into business. This advanced collection of sensors will be available for Windows, and could become useful not only for video conferencing, but as a way of using body movement or even lip reading to help control your computer. Finally, look for Microsoft owned Skype to expand its offerings to better compete against Google Hangouts for audio and video conferencing.