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By 6 January 2011 | Categories: feature articles

 

With Moore's Law still proving relevant each year, we're always guaranteed of something interesting happening in the world of technology. 2011 looks set to be no different, heralding tablets, smartphones and the move towards even faster networks. Here are some of the major trends we predict to dominate 2011. 

The Rise and Rise of Android

Google’s free Android operating system had a good year in 2010, not only reviving the fortunes of a number of smartphone manufacturers but also starting to make an appearance on netbooks and tablet PCs. All signs point to a stunning 2011 for this operating system.

According to Google’s vice president of engineering, Andy Rubin, Google is activating 300 000 smartphones each day with the Android platform, with research firm Canalys measuring a 886% difference in Android shipments in Q2 of 2010 than the same quarter in 2009. Market analysts, Gartner, goes so far to predict that Android will be surpassing the Symbian platform as most used mobile operating system (OS) market in the world by 2014. Amazing, considering the amount of Nokia phones out there with Symbian installed.

Android is also the preferred weapon of choice for tablet manufacturers looking to produce the next iPad killer, with companies such as Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, Cisco, Dell and Motorola either having released or planning to release Android tablet devices. According to research firm, IMS Research, Android tablet devices could make up as much as 15% of the market this year, not bad taking into account the massive head-start Apple’s iPad had.

Android is also making the trek to netbooks, with Acer recently releasing the Happy netbook that dual-boots Windows 7 and Android, while Toshiba has also produced an Android netbook. Although if Google is to be believed their new Chrome OS, to be released later this year, should be the domain of netbooks.
 

Tablets everywhere

With Apple getting the jump on everybody, the true tablet showdown is scheduled for this year since the majority of PC (and even cellphone) manufacturers are ready to jump the market with their own devices.

Apple's traditional smartphone rival, BlackBerry, is due to release the PlayBook. Featuring a 1 GHz dual-core CPU, 1 GB RAM and front and rear cameras, the PlayBook is one of the most anticipated tablets yet.

HP's often delayed Slate 500, running Windows 7, is also set to finally enter the market. It should sport a zippy Intel 1.86 GHz Atom Z540 CPU, GMA500 graphics, 2 GB RAM and a 64 GB SSD, making it the most powerful tablet yet. The 8.9" device will display at an impressive 1024 x 600 resolution and should play HD content without a hiccup. Also to watch out for is the Cisco Cius, HP PalmPad, the dual-screen Acer Iconia notebook/ tablet and devices from Toshiba amongst others.

Despite all these efforts, Apple might just steal the show again. Though its predecessor is just a few months old, there are already rumours of the iPad 2 making an appearance as soon as February. At this stage it is widely believed that the iPad 2 will feature front and rear facing cameras, also supporting the iPhone 4’s FaceTime video calling. Increases in the processor and memory sectors are also likely, while the screen resolution should also get a boost. The iPad 2 is surrounded by a strict veil of Apple lawyers at the moment, but when more info drops, we'll be there to report.

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) taking place in Las Vegas this month should provide a more solid tablet roadmap.

Go to Part 2 or Part 3.

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What new tech or developments are you most anticipating this year?
New smartphone announcements (7 votes)
Technological breakthroughs (11 votes)
Launch of new consoles, or notebooks (8 votes)
Innovative Artificial Intelligence solutions (7 votes)
Biotechnology or medical advancements (13 votes)
Better business applications (4 votes)