Each year in an effort to keep its finger on the pulse of emerging
technologies, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), comprising
over 2,000 tech companies, releases a list of trends for the upcoming
The latest list released this week gives tech enthusiasts a preview of what trends experts say will become mainstream in 2013.
printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is heading straight for
the mainstream, CEA analysts say. Common products created via 3D
printing include jewelry, figurines and cell phone cases.
than creating a detailed object by sculpting it from materials, computer
savvy consumers can create designs online and download them turning
them into physical objects, creating them layer by layer.
the technology has been around for decades, prices are dropping and the
CEA predicts the technology will become commonplace in consumers' homes.
is a potential for future concerns surrounding the creation of
counterfeit goods. Current intellectual property laws do not cover items
created with a 3D printer, so there may be a grey area for 3D printing
and physical replication analysts say.
When it comes to the future
of televisions, picture quality is everything. The CEA says TVs
offering double the picture quality we see today are just months away
from hitting stores, and are just a hint of what is possible in the
One option for the future is 4k TV, something John Taylor
of LG Electronics describes as "the HDTV experience on steroids". And
with four times the resolution of your current set, the CEA predicts the
technology will begin to catch on in 2013.
Another popular option
is the Organic Light-Emitting Diode, or OLED TV. It has significantly
better picture quality than HD sets today plus lower energy consumption.
The challenge facing both of these new, crisper, options lies in getting consumers to switch.
people are going to look at their TVs and say, 'It looks really good
and crisp to me. Why do I need four times as many pixels?'" said Chris
Chinnock, president of Insight Media, a market research company focused
on emerging display technologies.
Thanks in part to the invention
of the iPod, the CEA says MP3 players and ear buds created a new
standard of how American's listen to music.
The same is now true
with premium headphones, championed by the success of rapper Andre "Dr.
Dre". Dr. Dre brand headphones promises to deliver studio sound quality
to anyone willing to pay the $199-$399 price tag.
convenient digital music with professional sound quality in a home audio
system is just one audio trend CEA sees going mainstream in 2013. But
this is not just about the sound; it is also about functionality.
"Modern consumers put a priority on products that are both connected and portable," wrote CEA's Sean Murphy.
the past 20 years, Africa has lagged behind the rest of the globe when
it comes to internet connectivity. Mobile phones have single-handedly
leveled out the playing field, a trend the CEA predicts will continue
"Mobile phones (in Africa) are used for absolutely
everything and used to the extreme by everyone," says Bruce Krogh,
professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon
In the areas of banking, business, and social networking mobile phones have been a game changer for the continent.
social networking in Africa is used for everything from connecting
people with ex-pat family and friends to helping farmers track corn
harvests and trade exchange rates," writes CEA's Rachel Horn.
"While the West experiences its own mobile revolution, it must look to Africa for ideas, opportunities and inspiration."
Schoolchildren today have traded their paper notebooks and tablets for electronic versions, and that is only the beginning.
it comes to technology in the classroom, analysts say it facilitates
individualized teaching, where students can learn in the way that best
"In addition to classroom webpages and online lectures, social media is now heavily utilized by students as well.
social media is not a new concept, its usage within the school system
is still in the preliminary stages, with fewer than half of adults
reporting that their children's schools use this technology," the CEA
Challenges facing technology stem primarily from funding and debates over how much is too much technology in the classroom.