4 non-mobile tech trends to look out for in 2012

From over at Memeburn – everyone has been talking about mobile trends, however here are some non-mobile tech trends.

1. Cheaper hardware

In a similar vein, if you’re into electronics, the Raspberry Pi is due to be released and we should see the boards in the general public’s hands early in 2012. What does this have to do with cheap hardware? Well, at around $25 per board, it’s probably one of the cheapest functional computers around on the market. For people who have toyed with Arduino a bit, the Raspberry Pi is interesting because it includes so many useful chips already built into the board, and its comfortable running a standard linux kernel.


2. Operating Systems

With Windows 8 coming to market midway through 2012, it’s time to start thinking upgrades again. New versions of the major operating systems are always interesting because they often bring a bunch of new features (and bugs) that create good news stories. I promised I wouldn’t get into mobiles and tablets, so I won’t spend any time talking about the fact that Windows 8 will be the first Microsoft operating system to have support for ARM processors. More interesting is the new Windows-To-Go feature, which will allow you to boot the operating system off a USB stick. To be fair, the Linux community has had this sort of functionality for a while, but it finally means that you won’t need a Knoppix install to attempt to recover things on a faulty Windows hard disk. It’s also a blessing to Windows users, who will be able to carry their chosen Operating System around with them when they travel.


3. Games Consoles

For gamers Sony plans to finally release its next hand-held games console, the PlayStation Vita, globally early in the year. The device has already been launched in Japan, but has received an initial slew of complaints suggesting that the global launch may turn out to be a bit of a damp squib. Don’t panic, the new Nintendo Wii U is due to launch in March soon after. Nintendo is also moving toward greater portability, and the new Wii U will feature a hand-held console that connects to the main set-top box wirelessly and includes its own screen. Currently, Nintendo is keeping pretty quiet about what other features we can expect from its next console, but that just leaves us with more to look forward to next year.


4. Quantum Computing

2012 also looks ready to herald in the era of quantum computing. Early this year, the world saw its first commercially available quantum computer, D-Wave One, hit the market thanks to Canadian company D-Wave. This 128-qubit workhorse came onto the market with the budget price-tag of around $10 million. As a general purpose computer, D-Wave One is likely to be outpaced for most user operations by your standard PC, however its quantum processing capabilities are designed to tackle heavy-duty optimization and complex number theory problems, commonly used for AI applications. To be fair, D-Wave has been heavily criticised by some scientists working in the field of quantum computing, who have pointed out that their computer is only doing a single operation, called discrete optimization. Physicists argue that D-Wave’s claimed speedup over classical algorithms is based on a misunderstanding and that their computer is likely to be no more powerful than your average mobile phone.

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