The smartphone revolution continues unabated. Many late adopters will succumb and get their first one, while power-users go in search of upgrades. Phone-makers are squeezing extra megapixels into camera parts, fashioning high-res 1080p screens and cramming more cores into processors than you’ll find in a bag of Golden Delicious. But it won’t just be the year of super smartphones. Chargers, consoles and televisions also get a makeover.
A few modern mobiles can be recharged wirelessly on special surfaces but Apple and others have even more ambitious plans for recharging gadgets through the air, up to three feet from power sources. NFC (near field communication) chips will also make it into more phones, for making small transactions without fumbling for bank cards or cash.
Divisions between phones and tablets will blur. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 may sport a 6.3-inch display, and sales of the iPad mini and Nexus 7 boomed this year, so expect a rush of bijou tablets. Windows Phone 8, which the once-mighty Nokia has big hopes for, could regain some ground lost to Android and Apple. BlackBerry is in a similar make-or-break situation with its new line, from January.
Consoles – also suffering as gamers get hooked on touchscreen apps like Angry Birds – will strike back with new PlayStation and Xbox models by next Christmas. They’re likely to have enhanced gesture control, a trend spreading to other hardware. The Kickstarter-funded OUYA console may carve out an alternative niche, like Raspberry Pi has for PCs.
As for your living room, most new TVs and set-top boxes have internet-delivered features, and new ways are coming to stream satellite TV around the home with developments such as SAT-IP. Rumours of an Apple TV set aren’t going away, so 2013 could be its year.
Finally, forget 3D. 4K is the number-letter combination deserving your attention. Also known as Ultra HDTV, these TVs display four times more detail than 1080p. Right now they have five-digit prices but they’ll become affordable eventually. Just in time to be superseded by 8K of course.