It’s a new year and we’re highlighting some of the most interesting changes you can expect to see in the connected devices industry—all of which were already in motion as the ball dropped just last week. Take a look at what’s to come in 2013 as incremental innovation enhances and redefines key devices and platforms, and our customers’ methods of engaging with them.
Mobile search, which provides targeted results specifically for the nuances of how users search on their devices, has proven to be a cost-effective way for brands to direct their consumers to the right mobile-optimized experiences. And with 1.2 trillion searches in 2012, this year will see revolutions in providing timely and relevant data to users. As mobile search ad investments grow, natural language processing becomes a focal point for content curation, and adoption of the Google Now for Android App and mobile search app Grokr—leading trends in predictive search—grow, we’ll eventually see a true winner in mobile search capabilities, now clearly undefined. (PS, you’ll never guess the most searched word on mobile devices in 2012.)
Never thought that the windshield would be the next screen in the connected devices landscape, but it just might be, as car companies continue to create more intelligent, safe, and environmentally-aware automobiles. Here’s what a new Volvo or Mercedes-Benz will look like (or already does), and check out innovations Toyota and Lexus plan to unveil at CES in vehicle-to-vehicle communication and advanced safety systems. The Financial Times recently ran a great piece on what other auto manufacturers need to do to keep up in the race. Also, read how connected cars can revolutionize cities like Detroit and the experience it will provide to the average driver. And with the news that Avis bought Zipcar for $500 million, it’s evident that allowing users access to wheels simply through digital interfaces and swipe cards can become the norm for car-sharing capabilities in the future.
The smartphone/tablet landscape will have its own share of innovations this year, blurring the lines between devices, pushing mobile as the first screen, and making consumers super-humans with superhero abilities to connect and engage like never before. From the expected slew of new devices and screen sizes, unbreakable, bendable and HD screens, to reduced energy consumption and higher computational power, faster data communications and rebel UI releases that could disrupt the norm, there’s a lot to consider.
Consumers Becoming Their Own Password
Considering Mat Honan’s password hack scandal and these stats on logins and passwords, how consumers authenticate themselves on digital devices is questionably safe or efficient. Thankfully, 2013 will bring innovations on how we access our device and the content in it. As smartphones become more capable of handling this technology, the multi-factor authentication market will continue to grow, voice biometrics will become more popular, and developers will explore the many other ways to utilize this technology. Biometric technology will particularly impact the mobile banking industry, making transactions faster, safer, and increasingly user-friendly.
Responsive Web Goes Mainstream
The buzzword of the year surrounding the connected devices industry, Responsive Web, has resulted in tons of new site upgrades from brands big and small. What does this mean for brand marketers? Read about its pros and cons, thoughts on responsive web vs. native apps, and a sneak peek on its application to microsoft.com.
For a developer’s perspective, check out these thoughts on redesigning the media queries, implementing through CSS3, five tips for responsive builds and testing @font-face support on mobile and tablet.
Remember that big black box sitting in your living room? That used to be many people’s main source of entertainment before the rise of smartphones and tablets. Now, the television is the focal point for innovation and has potential to be the biggest source of disruption in 2013. Read what industry leaders like Intel, Apple, Sony, Samsung and LG have planned for the device and its content, and how smart TV owners engage with them (hint, it’s not pretty). Unsurprisingly, user interest in television-related subscriptions is waning, while online content providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon look toward an unstable future of their own. In one of my favorite pieces of 2012, The Verge provides a fascinating long read on the subject.
Learning from Mistakes
Sometimes the best way to understand what could be is recognizing what wasn’t—or, the biggest tech fails of 2012. We saw some doozies, like Facebook’s continuous attempts to own the mobile space (which has greatly improved in the latter half of the year), the Path app’s address book flub, Nokia’s failed resurgence, and Instagram’s TOS shake-up that left users furious. Key learnings? Consumer usage and context should inspire innovation, smartphone devices must attain to a specific market (with a price point to match) and as users become intimately involved with their devices, the content they share on them must seem protected—with full transparency on where and how it could be used, perhaps? (Check out Wired’s full piece on tech fails if you want more.)
What are you most excited for in 2013?