What New Technology Will 2013 Bring Us? (Part 2)

1/22/2013 9:12:04 AM

Changes To The Web

Will 2013 mean the beginning of Web 3.0? If so, what would that entail? The internet has seen a few major shake-ups in the past few years - the shift to IPv6, for example; the rise of high-speed broadband that meant video streaming became commonplace; and the dawn of social networking. Undoubtedly, things will change again. The fact that so many people now access the web via mobile devices will mean web developers will have to be able to create mobile friendly versions of websites, and there’ll be even more focus on apps than there already is.

HTML5 is the newest iteration of Hypertext Markup Language, the back-end coding system that dictates how Web pages should appear.

HTML5 is the newest iteration of Hypertext Markup Language, the back-end coding system that dictates how Web pages should appear.

We’ve already mentioned HTML5 in passing, and while the World Wide Web Consortium reckons it won’t be fully ready until at least 2014, it’s going to become a bigger deal over the course of the next year. HTML5 is the newest iteration of the markup language used to present content on the internet, and there are some pretty big changes on the way. Browsers will need to get ready to support the new standard, and although most of the big names are nearly there, not every browser is prepared (you can check out how well your browser supports HTML5 here: html5test.com).

For the average web user, assuming they’re using a browser that can handle it, HTML5 will mean a faster and smoother web surfing experience, particularly where video content is concerned. There are still some issues with HTML5, and some sites (like Facebook) have expressed a distaste for it, preferring to develop their own native platforms, but those wobbles will probably be worked out over the next year or so.

More Online Developments

While we’re on the topic of the web, we’d also bet that more print publications will start to move online, that e-publishing will continue to be popular, and that cloud-based storage will become the norm. Location-based services seem like they’re here to stay, and it’s a safe bet that there’ll be a truckload more apps that can find things for you (restaurants, petrol, etc.) based on your real-world location.

As for the big social networks, well, it doesn’t look like Facebook or Twitter will be going anywhere anytime soon. Concerns over Facebook’s privacy and security settings will push some people away, but it’s become one of the default communication channels for all sorts of people, even those who aren’t particularly tech savvy, and that’s an allegiance that’ll be hard to break.

In the US, Facebook and social media management technologies will top marketing dollar investments for 2013.

In the US, Facebook and social media management technologies will top marketing dollar investments for 2013.

Nevertheless, the recently relaunched MySpace might attract a bit of interest, while niche networks like Instagram and Letterboxd look set to grab people who are interested in communicating through one specific medium or about one specific topic. Expect more single-area networks to pop up this year, since we seem, as a society, to be becoming more and more comfortable with recording and sharing every minute detail of our everyday lives.

Maybe the biggest thing that’ll change about the web in the UK next year is the number of people using it and the speed at which they can do so. Superfast fibre broadband is still being rolled out, and some parts of the country don’t have access to broadband internet at all. Hopefully, that’ll look a lot different in 12 months’ time. Mobile internet is set to get a lot faster too; we’ve already seen the first 4G network rolled out in some UK cities, thanks to EE, and more companies will be launching their versions next year.

Other Stuff To Look Out For

2013 might be the year that 3D printing becomes mainstream too. In other countries, some shops, theme parks and shopping malls have started to get 3D printing kiosks, and that looks set to happen here too. With a 3D printing booth in your local stationery shop or outside a department store, the technology will become more well-known, and it’ll start to be used in more industries.

Most people’s first experience of 3D printing is likely to be buying a customised toy or doll, maybe with their own face printed on it, but with the development of more complex 3D printable materials, that might start to change. This next year probably won’t be the year that 3D printers become common household items, though. It’s still a little bit too expensive for that, but only time will really tell.

Hopefully, 2013 will be the year that Google’s driverless cars are introduced in the UK. Laws were only passed to allow them on the roads in Nevada in mid-2012, so if you’re currently learning to drive, it’s probably still worth carrying on - you’ll still need those skills for a while yet - but we reckon they’ll at least make an appearance over here this year.

Google’s driverless cars

Google’s driverless cars

And this should also be the year that Virgin Galactic finally launches its first commercial space tourism flight. The company originally reckoned it’d be able to take tourists to the edge of space by 2009, but that date got put back a couple of times, and the last we heard, Richard Branson said he’d be on the first commercial flight in 2013. Will it happen? It’d be quite an exciting event if it did.

And Beyond

12 months isn’t a particularly long time in the technology world, since many products and new ideas take several years to develop. There are a few exciting things being created right now that, unfortunately, we won’t see until at least 2014. Those include memristors (memory resistors), which will lead to the creation of ultra-efficient computer memory and 14nm chips, which will blow Moore’s Law out of the water. Both of these developments will have implications for the computing industry, but just not quite yet.

Also, fans of virtual or augmented reality may be disappointed to hear that Google’s Project Glass isn’t due to launch until at least 2014, and while Microsoft also has a patent for ‘smart glasses’, it also doesn’t seem to be in any great rush to get anything onto the market before at least 2014.

Even so, that means there’ll still be plenty to think about and look forward to by the time Christmas 2013 rolls around assuming, of course, that the world doesn’t end this year after all.

Things We’d Like To See The Back Of

There might be lots of new and exciting tech products on their way to us, and technology might be about to revolutionise the way we live our lives, and all that might be positive and lovely, but there are some things we wish we could get rid of. In 2013, it’d be great if we could see the back of all of these things:

QR codes

Those weird little boxes of black and white squiggles seemed quite interesting, at first: you could scan them with your phone and they’d link you to a website! How exciting - except that URLs already exist and are much more memorable. Okay, maybe you have to do a tiny bit of typing to reach them, which is mildly inconvenient on your phone, but it’s ultimately a system that works, across any platform.

Printer jams

Printers have been around forever and yet they still don’t work properly. They get paper jammed in them. They run out of ink at inconvenient moments. Or they stop working for any one of a million other ridiculous reasons. Printers really don’t seem to have become any more useful or reliable in the last decade; they’re definitely the most frustrating piece of office equipment the average person has to deal with.


No matter how good your spam filter is, occasionally, a spam email will get through. And it’ll be exactly the same as the last spam email you saw, because spam basically never gets any better. It’ll be incomprehensible gibberish with a hyperlink in the middle or, if you’re really lucky, it’ll be a fake PayPal notice or a Nigerian prince with money to give you, and they’re such clichés but still, still they arrive in our email inboxes.

Leaky headphones

There’s no sound more annoying than the muffled, tinny rumbling from someone else’s earphones (except, maybe, the loud, tinny rumbling from someone’s mobile phone). Noise-cancelling headphones exist, non-leaky headphones exist, so it’d be great if the crappy old ones could just be scrubbed from the world.

Proprietary USB cables

There is no reason in the world why all USB cables can’t be the same shape and size. That way, you could just keep one cable next to your PC and you’d be able to connect all your gadgets when needed. But no, your iPod, your phone, your printer, your external hard drive and your digital camera all demand their own specific cables, and you can guarantee the one you need is never to hand when you need it.

Rubbish batteries

The problem with relying on mobile devices instead of desktops is that they need batteries. And when you’re out and about, those batteries will inevitably die just when you really need them not to. It’d be great if someone could invent longer-lasting batteries next year, or at least make sure everything has an easily swappable battery so you could replace it as necessary.



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