Big-ticket product launches like the Galaxy Nexus and Kindle Fire got gobs of attention this year. But between the marquee product unveilings there were even better stories — telltale hints of what kind of tech might be in products five, 10 or 15 years out. The field of emerging technology let us sneak a peek at the wonders of the future.
It’s just a potential future, of course. One with lots of promise, but a lot of things need to happen for a breakthrough in a lab to become a mainstream product. Quirks need to get ironed out, money needs to be spent, and early adopters need to buy it — among a host of other variables. If even a single one of them doesn’t happen, it’s kaput for any tech, no matter how good.
Startups have an inherently predictive quality. As the innovation engines of the economy, what startups figured out in 2011 will likely appear on other sectors’ trend lists in 2012.
And if it doesn’t, it will be replaced quickly. For instance, in 2011 group messaging both took off — with more new companies than we could count — and all but shut down, as the startups with most traction were scooped up and repurposed by giant companies.
2011 was a huge year for infographic design. Large companies embraced data renderings as a business strategy like never before, whether it was to promote their brand (GE) or bolster their bottom line (the New York Times). Nowhere was that more evident than at Facebook. Timeline, the site’s most ambitious redesign to date, brought the central tenet of data viz—organizing unwieldy bits and bobs into a compelling, visual narrative—to millions of people around the world.
Cascade, from the NY Times Lab, allows you to visualize how stories spread across Twitter
Facebook is the power hitter in social networking today, and is likely to drive the most activity and a fair share of the innovation in social networking in 2012. But it’s not the only company driving things forward.
To support a new initiative from Intel aimed at uncovering and supporting young Innovators, PSFK has tapped some of the world’s established innovators to share some insights into what young entrepreneurs should be on the lookout for in 2012. Below is a summary of their thoughts.
Lifehacker’s been around for a few years, so every week we like to round up some of our favorite posts—new and old—on a particular topic. Here’s a look back at our most popular top 10 lists of 2011.
Atos Europe’s largest IT company, is phasing out email over the next 18 months and will turn to the phone, text and Facebook for communication. Atos CEO, Thierry Breton, says it’s being done in preparation for a new wave of usage and behavior. This will be interesting to watch and to see what other companies follow their path.