While flying cars and lightsabers may only be a (very) distant dream, there is still plenty of pretty cool tech that we can look forward to in 2013. So what should we be excited about this year? Well here are some of my picks:
1. Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft is expected to launch their next Surface tablet PC in the next few weeks (February 9th), but is this new device a significant improvement upon the original Surface? In a word... yes!
Firstly the Surface Pro boasts a higher resolution display than the Surface RT, 1920 x 1080 (full HD) vs. 1366 x 768 respectively.
The Pro also comes equipped with a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317 U processor with integrated graphics, along with 4GB of RAM. This tried, tested, and understood combination can be found in the majority of Ultrabooks, and will represent a quite an advance over the original Surface RT.
Along with improved specs, the Surface Pro has equally improved upon its pen and touch support. While the Surface RT only utilised capacitive pens (which emulated a fingertip but to a smaller scale), the Pro will enable the use of a true electromagnetic styli. In addition, the Pro will be bundled with such a pen, and it will support multiple pressures, an eraser, and a right click button.
2. Xbox 720/Durango
While we're on the subject of Microsoft, it would be rude not to mention the upcoming Xbox (codenamed Durango). Although the latest machines existence has not been confirmed by the Redmond-based giant, the Internet is rife with interesting rumours.
The majority of the speculation suggests that Durango will feature an eight-core CPU from AMD running at 1.6 GHz, which is exactly the same as the Playstation counterpart, Orbis. But in the case of the Durango, the CPU is married up with 8GB of DDR3 memory, which is working in connection with 32MB of what is labelled "ESRAM". This means that the two pools of memory will work in parallel, and could provide a throughput of 170GB/s.
While all of this information may be interesting, the simple fact of the matter is that no games have been revealed for the system yet. But there is talk of a Microsoft announcement for the new Xbox arriving in April, which will hopefully reveal some of the console's launch titles.
3. Mobile OS from Mozilla
Google has one, Apple has one, and Windows has one. So I guess that it makes sense for Mozilla Firefox to release one too. I'm talking about mobile operating systems of course, and Mozilla are hoping to improve their diminishing market share by venturing into the Smartphone market for the first time.
Claiming to be cheaper than Android, the Firefox OS will also support rich content with HTML 5 and tap into the hardware in novel ways. For instance, the OS may be able to take control of the phone's camera to enable slow motion recording or quick, successive shots.
The first devices that will use the Mozilla mobile OS are slated for a commercial release in (initially) Brazil in early 2013 through Vivo. Hopefully, it won't be too long until we see the OS in UK.
4. Amazon Kindle Smartphone
Ok, so this is another device that hasn't been officially announced, but let's be honest about this, there's going to be an Android-powered Amazon Kindle Smartphone at some point in the near future.
It is rumoured that the upcoming Amazon device will use a 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon processor, with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a 4.7 inch screen with 1280 x 768 pixels. These specs should make the Amazon Smartphone competitive with the current-crop of Android devices, and could be put together for a very reasonable cost.
But whatever the case may be, the Amazon Kindle Smartphone will probably behave in a similar way to the Amazon Kindle Fire, and will provide consumers with custom apps for reading books and watching videos.
So, put simply, the Kindle Smartphone will be the perfect device for enjoying content purchased from Amazon. It should hopefully be released by mid-2013 (according to word on the Interwebs).
So, here is a selection of some of the gadgets that I'm looking forward to seeing this year. But if none of these tickle your fancy, you may be excited about the Apple iPhone 5S, the Nvidia Shield, or a pair of Vuzix augmented reality glasses...
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