Five Tech Trends That Could Dominate In 2013

From superfast mobile broadband to self-driving cars, the Guardian rounds up what to expect technology-wise in 2013.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Technology: five developments that could rewire your world” was written by Charles Arthur, for The Guardian on Tuesday 1st January 2013 07.00 UTC

Self-driving cars

Google is good at doing amazing. Five years ago, its self-driving cars were totally experimental and could only be run on special test areas free of humans. Then, by May 2012, Nevada had licensed them. California has since followed suit; expect more US states to license vehicles, so that reading a broadsheet newspaper or putting on makeup while you drive won’t get you busted.

Augmented reality

The successor to the smartphone. Well, sort of. Google is there again with Google Glass, which are spectacles that also give you an “augmented reality” (AR) view of the world – overlaying information about what you are seeing in your field of view. The first ones will go on sale (to the most eager Google-heads) in 2013, but it turns out that Microsoft and Apple have patents on exactly the same ideas, so maybe they will be pitching in too. Then again, everyone knows how fabulously successful 3D TV has been (cough) in trying to do much the same thing, except in our living rooms.

Superfast mobile broadband

Also known as 4G and LTE, this has already been popular in the US, and it is just spreading to Europe; the mobile operator Everything Everywhere (AKA Orange/T-Mobile) has been offering it since October, but all the others will get in on the act by summer 2013. Benefits: really fast connections – great for video and games. Hassle: you might need a new handset; it won’t work between different networks or countries; it burns through data like it’s going out of fashion.

Flexible phone screens

Samsung was promising to have these in “early 2012″, so maybe it will make good on that in 2013. Nobody’s quite sure what to use them for, though. Perhaps the flip phone will make a comeback with a giant, flexi-screen?

Measure yourself

Merely signing up for a gym in January is so noughties; now you have to sign up for a gym and get a little device (such as the Fitbit) that measures how many paces you have taken during the day, how fast, and logs it all so that you can passive-aggressively compare yourself with your friends all the time. Possibly by relaying your results to their Google Glasses.

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