Saturday, December 29, 2012

Leap Motion, 3D printers and Google Glass predicted to be hot products in 2013

People will be hearing a lot about ultra-high definition television, new game consoles from Microsoft and Sony, and next-generation smartphones and tablets in 2013. But those are incremental improvements to existing product categories.
Meanwhile, several groundbreaking products are expected to make a big impact next year.

2013 tech industry predictions, part four:

1. Leap Motion will make a big splash.

San Francisco-based startup Leap Motion has created a 3D user interface product for computers that has Silicon Valley buzzing, ReadWrite says. It says the “tiny gizmo could be a very big deal in 2013 – and beyond.”
The first version of the product will start shipping in early 2013 and cost $69.99. It is an iPod-sized gadget that connects to a laptop or desktop computer.
“Basically the engineers at Leap Motion have invented the 3D user interface of the future,” Dan Lyons writes. “You don’t use a keyboard and mouse; you don’t even use a touch screen. You just move your fingers in the air, and, as if by magic, with zero latency and pinpoint accuracy, stuff happens on your screen. Think of Microsoft’s Kinect controller, but way better. Leap Motion claims its device is 200 times more accurate than anything on the market and can track your finger movements down to 1/100th of a millimeter.”

2. 3D printers will go mainstream.

3D printers “will become very popular in 2013” and in maybe 5 years one out of 60 people either will own a 3D printer or have access to one directly, says Marshall Sponder, an independent Web analytics and SEO/SEM specialist.
Technology entrepreneur Mark Cuban also believes we’ll see major growth in 3-D printing in 2013. Leaders in the home 3D printer market include 3D Systems and MakerBot.

3. Google Glass will raise eyebrows.

Google’s computerized glasses, Google Glass, will hit the market in early 2013. The initial versions of the glasses, the Explorer Edition, will cost $1,500 a set and will be available only to software developers who attended a Google conference last summer.
Google Glass will be a “passive presence” mechanism that goes mainstream, Sponder says. The special glasses can take photos and videos while users are wearing them. They also feature a small screen for users to access information.
Google Glass could fit into a predicted trend in social media involving “frictionless capturing of precious memories in the real world,” says Patrick J. Sweeney II, a featured contributor to Social Media Today and CNBC. “When people are skiing, doing a triathlon, at a concert, or doing anything fun and engaging – mobile technology will enable them to capture the moment with very high quality pictures and video and instantly share online without lifting a finger.”
Market research firm Gartner predicts that wearable smart electronics, like Google Glass, will be a $10 billion industry by 2016.

4. Google gets its mojo back.

Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson said Google will get its mojo back in 2013.
“Google’s efforts in email, video, smartphones, maps, and driverless cars open up new long-term expansion paths, with more to follow,” he said. “With all its many failures, the company has proven it can find and plough new turf. In terms of creativity, Google becomes the next Apple.”
Google will challenge Amazon.com’s AWS for public cloud supremacy next year, says Floyd Strimling, vice president of community and technical evangelist at Zenoss.
And Google’s Chrome will hit 45% of the worldwide Web browser market by the end of the year – almost entirely at the expense of Firefox, predicts Joshua Bixby, president of Strangeloop.

5. Netflix will have a breakout hit TV series.

Netflix will show that an Internet-based TV service can have a breakthrough hit series just like cable and broadcast TV, predicts Informa Telecoms & Media in a Dec. 19 report. That hit could be “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey, which is scheduled to premiere Feb. 1 on Netflix, Informa says.
2013 could be the year that the Internet gains legitimacy for its original programming, JWT Intelligence says. Netflix will be airing the fourth season of cult comedy series “Arrested Development” and political drama “House of Cards.” But other over-the-top TV services will be playing the same game.
“Hulu, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft (and possibly Amazon) are all recruiting big-name talent to develop attention-getting web programming, while YouTube’s $100 million bet on programming channels is well under way,” JWT says. “With so much invested, high-quality Web programming is almost too big to fail.

Photos: Google Glass (top) and Leap Motion sensor.

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