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Technology predictions for 2011

2010 has been an amazing year for technology. We’ve seen an explosion of tablets, the rise and rise of Android, the saturation of location-based services, not to mention set-top boxes from Google and Apple, 3D TVs, Microsoft Kinect, and the first mainstream movie about a website, The Social Network. Mobile technology also continued to race forward at light-speed, with many advances in mobile payments, augmented reality and high speed networks.

But don’t expect it all to end there. 2011 is already holding some intriguing and exciting possibilities.Let’s take a look at some the technologies and gadgets in store for 2011.

Desktop computing:

  • Google’s Open Source Chrome OS.
  • Apple’s OS X and the much anticipated Mac App Store.
  • Oracle’s Solaris 11 Unix operating system.
  • Intel’s next generation Core processors codenamed “Sandy Bridge” for desktop and laptop computing.

Mobile Phones:

  • Near Field Communications technology to make credit and debit cards obsolete
  • Embedded SIM cards that can be activated by software and work on any carrier
  • The iPhone 5 and the hopefully (mercifully), the white iPhone 4
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread handsets such as the Samsung Nexus S
  • New phones from HP running WebOS
  • The Playstation Phone
  • Multi-core phones such as the dual-core LG Star thanks to dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon, Intel “Moorestown” and NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPUs
  • 3D smartphones such as Sharp’s autostereoscopic 3D Galapagos
  • MeeGo OS based phones from Nokia
  • High quality cameraphones such as the Android based 14 megapixel Altek Leo, and Sony Ericsson using the world’s first 16.41 megapixel cellphone sensors

Tablet computing:

  • Multi-core tablets such as Research In Motion’s hotly anticipated 7-inch PlayBook.
  • New WebOS based tablets from HP
  • New tablets running Google’s new tablet specific operating system, “HoneyComb”
  • The iPad 2, rumoured to run on both GSM and CDMA networks with a front-facing camera
  • MeeGo OS based tablets from Nokia
  • Powerful, low powered tablets thanks to Intel’s “Oak Trail” and NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processors

Device Interfaces:

  • LightPeak, the high-speed optical cable interface designed to connect peripheral devices at 10 Gbit/s and could replace SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire, PCI Express and HDMI interfaces
  • Highspeed USB 3
  • Super enegery efficient Bluetooth 4
  • The WiGig and VESA effort to push wireless DisplayPort gear that will connect PCs and handhelds to monitors, projectors and HDTVs without cables
  • Gaming:

    • The PlayStation Portable 2
    • Nintendo’s 3DS for 3D gaming without the need for 3D glasses
    • Nintendo’s Wii HD


    • Colour E-Ink
    • Copia’s Social Reading platform, that plans to be a social network for books
    • The New York Times’s plan to launch a bestseller list for e-books


    • More widespread use of flexible and transparent display technology such as AMOLED and OLED displays from Samsung and Sony
    • Low-power color display that looks great in bright sunlight such as those from Pixel Qi and Qualcomm
    • USB-powered desktop PC monitors such as those planned from Samsung
    • Silicon film from Artificial Muscle that expands and contracts with an applied voltage could provide a real sense of touch to touchscreens

    Wireless Networks:

  • Wider roll out of HSPA+ 21 Mbit/s networks
  • Next generation LTE and Wimax 2 networks running at 100 Mbits/s and upward
  • TV:

    • 3D-TV without glasses in 2011 such as those from Toshiba
    • Worldwide release of Google TV, Apple TV, and the use of set-top boxes as app platforms
    • A growth in 3D-broadcasts of movies, television series and sport events
    • 30-inch and larger OLED TVs


    • Firefox 4
    • More widespread use of HTML 5
    • If you listen to Apple, Flash will battle for relevance, but it might find a safe harbour in tablet UIs like the one of RIM’s PlayBook


    • The Panasonic GF2
    • Sony’s NXCAM HD Super 35mm camcorder


    • Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW’s Megacity EV
    • Electric motorcycles such as the Brammo’s Empulse, and electric bicycles such as the M55 Beast Electric Bike
    • In-car computer operating systems such as Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive that makes it easier for car manufacturers to create their own in-car computer interfaces
    • OnStar that expands smartphone control for monitoring stats like tire pressure and oil level from your smartphone
    • Plans for the Volvo S60 to feature pedestrian tracking and provide automated evasive maneuvers


    • The extremely cool looking Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse


    • Berkeley Bionics eLEGS exoskeleton that aims to help paraplegics
    • More advances in wireless electricity for gadgets thanks to the Wireless Power Consortium
    • Commercial space flights thanks to Virgin Galactic
    • Battery-less remote that gets its power from button presses

    Author | Martin Carstens: Senior reporter

    Martin Carstens: Senior reporter
    Obsessed with technology and the future, I write words for machines and people. Born in South Africa, now living in the United States. More