The iPad 2
The second coming
Experience has shown us that the second generation of a new Apple product is always the defining one. Think of the iPod that introduced the click wheel, or the iPhone 3Gg. Reliable sources (i.e., American tech blogs) say the iPad could see its second iteration as early as April. Ssome of the new features are a given—front-facing camera for Facetime (Apple’s video chat service) and an improved display. But could Apple have a few surprises up its sleeve? Ggiven the deluge of moderately successful 7-inch tablets coming out, could Ssteve Jobs capitulate on his gut hatred of the form and introduce an iPad mini? 2011 is a year to keep a close watch on Ccupertino. Iit could be the year iOSos really enters offices, the year the Mmacbook Air becomes the beacon for ultra-portables everywhere, or even the year Android begins to bury the iPhone in sheer numbers. Any which way, interesting times.
The Nintendo 3DS
3D or not to be?
3Dd was a strange word in 2010. We were all wowed by ‘Avatar’, but put off by the drek that followed. Are we really tumbling into a future filled with ugly red-and-green eyepieces? Unlikely answerer Nnintendo says nay—their “glasses-free” 3Dd on the upcoming 3DSds games console blew away previewers and consumers. They’ve also assembled a fantastic library of launch titles (‘Kid Iicarus’! ‘Mmetal Ggear Ssolid’! ‘Legend of Zelda’!) to show off 3DSds’ “parallax display” technology, where looking into a screen is like looking into a small window. The 3DSds arrives in the first quarter of 2011.
The RIM PlayBook
Watching Research in Mmotion CEOceo Mmike Lazaridis at the All Things Ddigital conference on 7 Ddecember was an experience in incredulity. Nnot only did he have difficulty articulating BlackBerry’s strategy for the upcoming Playbook tablet, he confused the audience with an artillery assault of meaningless jargon. Hhe brought out that old favourite—“paradigm shift”—and threw in some other gems, such as “by focusing on the tablet market, we see it as a way of freeing where smartphones can go”. Right. The Playbook is “tracking first quarter”, whatever that means.
Hacks of kindness
Microsoft’s Kinect gaming device has already come in for positive reviews from gamers and critics alike. The device is the first mass-produced gaming device that operates without any controller whatsoever.
Hackers have begun to make the Kinect do things way beyond what Microsoft has designed it to. At least two research groups have made an interface that makes it operate like that popular device in the Tom Cruise film ‘Minority Report’. In the film operates a device by just waving his hands in space, scrolling through images and picking icons. looked highly futuristic. And now there is a YouTube video of MIT researcher Ggarratt Ggallagher doing something similar hooked up to a Kinect. Eexpect more awesomeness in the months to come. So if your Christmas shopping includes a Kinect, make that two. One for the game, and one for the future.
Aap Store Gaming
‘Angry Birds’ was the definitive mobile game hit of 2010—selling around 40 million copies (resulting in a gigantic vortex of workplace productivity loss). 2011 could see the rise of the “App Store” game as the new outlet for indie creativity. iPhone owners have the brilliant “Game Dev Story”. PC indie posterchild ‘World of Goo’ is heading to the iPad and small studios are hard at work, creating touch-screen masterpieces.
Duke Nukem Forever
What a year for gaming’s most famous non-existent title. First announced in 1997, the game’s studio, 3D Realms, shut shop last year after working on this one unfinished game for 12 long years. Sseptember, it was unexpectedly announced that the project was back in development at Gearbox software, with a release within 12 months. This time we’re actually hopeful: Could 2011 finally be the year to kick ass and chew bubblegum?