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5 Tech Predictions That Just May Come True in 2013


Forecasts for tech inventions are usually pie-in-the-sky. Here's a look at what we might realistically see happen with Apple, RIM, and other major players this year.

It was one year ago that I had the pleasure of venturing out west to Las Vegas to attend the 2012 CES convention. While I wasn't wowed by the majority of products on display -- and traversing that massive show floor didn't do wonders for my feet or back -- it was certainly exciting to see what 2012 had in store.

It was just too bad that barely anything made it out of the convention center that also delivered on the same promise touted by its barking vendor.

Despite the admirable roll of the dice on a brand new UI, Windows 8 (NASDAQ:MSFT) is getting a lukewarm reception. Microsoft's partnership with Nokia (NYSE:NOK) resulted in the superbly constructed Lumia line of smartphones, but they surely won't break any sales records. And even a year later, Google TV (NASDAQ:GOOG) still can't get it together.

At the start of any year, it's tricky to foresee what the next 12 months will bring, but often it's the stuff that's championed the loudest that has the most spectacular falls. So tech writers have to wade through a lot of glitz and hubris to find what will really catch on. Sure, it's a lot of guesswork and arguments are invariably to be had, but come on, it's tradition.

And with that, I give you my tech predictions for 2013.
1. The video game console market becomes a two-horse race
Like an Italian plumber finding a cache of subterranean coins, Nintendo (PINK:NTDOY) gleefully reported that it's newest Wii U console had exceeded the revenue generated in its first 41 days than that of its predecessor over the same time period, and estimates put its sales numbers at around 890,000 units since its November 18, 2012 launch.

It's a nice win for the Mario folks, but it still wasn't good enough. Microsoft managed to sell 1.4 million units of its seven-year-old Xbox 360 in last month alone.

The original Wii suffered a slow and steady fall as the novelty of waggling one's wiimote to shovelware began to wear thin, and dense, compelling, and mindfully constructed games allowed the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (NYSE:SNE) to thrive long past normal console obsolescence. The Wii U, while supporting a couple well-received titles like Batman: Arkham City and Assassin's Creed III, continues to rely more on novelty controls than appeasing hardcore gamers.

It's still early in Wii U's lifespan, but there are tens of millions of original Wii owners who've already been burned by the Wii and are far more likely to enter the age of the eighth generation console with the next Xbox or PlayStation in tow.
2. The very possible death of Research in Motion
It won't be much longer before troubled Waterloo manufacturer Research In Motion (NASDQ:RIMM) debuts its BlackBerry 10-powered devices to an increasingly disinterested public. The company's journey to this perpetually stalled OS release has been tumultuous to say the least: a rapidly diminishing user base, nonexistent sales, massive executive turnover, a mutinous staff, fleeing developers, and an embarrassing marketing campaign or two. And yet, RIM remains a standalone company.

2013, however, might be the last year it maintains its independence.

Early glimpses at BlackBerry 10 show it has some admirable features, like its keyboard input and innovative navigation, but the OS overall is hardly groundbreaking. Even if RIM delivers an astoundingly revolutionary OS and equally trailblazing hardware to run it -- and that is a massive "if" -- it still has a mountain to climb to even come close to competing with the mobile front-runners, Android and iOS (NASDAQ:AAPL).

And considering former top dog Apple is even finding itself grappling with less-than-stellar demand for its iPhone 5, it's very unlikely a manufacturer like RIM -- which has managed to make every wrong decision it possibly can in the last three years -- will turn it all around.

Like Palm (NYSE:HPQ) before it, there is a very good chance that RIM will finish out the year as a division of another company.
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