Tech enthusiasts didn’t have much to cheer about in 2013.
There wasn’t a lot of jaw-dropping or game-changing technology introduced. Instead, it was a year in which old guard companies, such as BlackBerry, Microsoft and Intel, struggled to remain relevant, set new goals and looked for new leadership. Newer companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, matured – at least enough to make some money – but still haven’t proved they have a long-term business plan.
In short, 2013 was a year that raised a lot of questions but provided few answers. Analysts say 2014 could be when the rough sketches about the future of technology, and how it affects our lives, get fleshed out.
Here are the areas of tech to watch in 2014:
Technology has become a part of our daily lives, but 2013 showed the promise of what could happen if it becomes part of our bodies.
From our socks to our glasses, tech companies have found ways to add sensors to everyday items that turned them into mini computers. Fitness trackers and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which can take photos and answer phone calls, showed consumers the potential of wearables.
Consumers can also expect some of their high-end devices to change form in 2014 with the wider introduction of curved screens for smartphones and televisions.
Tech companies have been studying how to curve screens for years and now appear ready to introduce the technology more widely to the public, said Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, which tests and calibrates screens.
Flying drones and advanced robots will generate a lot of buzz in 2014, but probably won’t be in every home by the end of the year.
Google and Amazon.com invested heavily in the development of unmanned aircraft and robots this year, raising expectations for 2014.
Amazon says it is planning to use drones to deliver some packages within 30 minutes of being ordered online.
Whom to watch
Microsoft endured a tumultuous 2013, including the continued deterioration of the PC market and the retirement of longtime chief executive Steve Ballmer. Now all eyes are on the company as it attempts to find its footing.
Twitter, on the other hand, has the opposite problem – the social media company needs to grow, and grow quickly. Fresh off its 2013 market debut, the 6-year-old company can boast that 18 percent of all Americans have an account on the service, according to data from the Pew Center for Internet and American Life.
Watch your back
Cybercrime is expected to become even more common in 2014, posing a tricky challenge for tech companies and retailers encouraging consumers to share information online.