By Jaye Sonia
Well, it looks like the Mayans were wrong – the world didn’t end on Dec 21st and we’re all doing pretty well. Of course, if you’re reading this by candlelight in your bomb shelter (because the power grid failed), maybe they were right and I’m just horrible at predicting, one month out, what I should write about for the January issue of bazaar. It’s hard to know, really.
I’m willing to bet, though, that things are just fine. In fact, outside of the obvious not-dying-by-a-giant-space-comet, I’m pretty excited about what 2013 holds. Rumors (care of Forbes.com) suggest that we’re going to see the next generation of high-definition television this year (labeled UltraHD), although it won’t really be available to anyone in the common consumer market. Well, not unless you want to pay the $20k (KD 5,600) price tag that Samsung is slated to slap on one of these bad boys. I suppose we’ll know more, by the way, this month. The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) runs from January 8th-11th in Las Vegas, NV.
Of course, fancy TVs need awesome game consoles and I truly hope 2013 is the year! In June of this year, a leaked document hit the Internet suggesting that we’d see the Xbox 720 “Infinity” (true 108-p output, multiple 3.2 GHz chips, 4GB DDR4?) by Christmas 2013 (just under a year away). Rumors also suggest that we’ll see the PS4 “Orbis” release at roughly the same time, sparking the classic Sony-Microsoft console war. In either case, we’re probably (hopefully) looking at machines that will touch on all the latest technology – including gesture recognition, immersive environments (virtual reality to you kids from Generation X), 3D playback, and full-scale social integration!
Speaking of social integration – let me be the man to tell you that MySpace is back. It’s been a few years (at least six for me) since it was really relevant and I had just assumed that the Mayans had accurately predicted its demise – probably death-by-a-comet. Apparently, however, they did not. Not only is the new social media site much more visually engaging (at least from what I’ve seen), it appears to be built for tablets and similar devices – using what seems to be the same sort of format you might have seen with the Flipboard App.
But yeah, back to the cool things we’ll see this year.
I wanted to talk smart cars in this article (believe me, I really did), but so far, nothing has really excited me. While I know that, according to Back to the Future II, we’re all supposed to be gearing up for our flying cars (and their accompanying hover-boards), nothing over at Motor Trend came close to suggesting those were in the works. In fact, most of the information on smart cars involved those tiny, box-like vehicles that the delivery guy from Burger King drives. Sure, they might be efficient and economical, but they look far from smart. In fact, driving one in Kuwait might even qualify as dumb – one water truck away from a steel pancake on the side of the 30. So, we move back to portable tech.
Let’s talk something that is truly cool – flexible phones. Most of the major companies (Samsung, LG, NEC, Philips, Sharpe, and Nokia among them) all report having working prototypes, some that very well may enter production and see release dates in 2013. When they do release, we’ll be looking at phones that we’ll be able to bend, twist, drop, roll up, and even wear. They’ll be free from a lot of the traditional problems we face now (like broken screens from that short fall off the nightstand) and will likely include a whole new set of cool options for us. Oh, and they’ll be the genesis for the next big thing – flexible tablets (“hello iPad 9…”). Now, I can’t even begin to comment on those yet, but I’m overjoyed to think I’ll be playing with a tablet that looks like something out of The Minority Report in two to three years. I mean, come on, how cool is that?
I imagine all this will hit Kuwait in its normal waves, with the local telecom companies offering us all sorts of incentives and upgrades! So, when you start signing up for those year-long payment plans on your next phone, keep in mind what might be dropping six months down the road. Sometimes patience pays, especially in a country like Kuwait, where the next big thing is just around the corner.
In closing, 2013 promises to be an exciting year. I’m incredibly pleased with its prospects and I look forward to all of it will offer – minus that comet – which the Mesoamericans can keep until 2112.