February, 2012 / Author:

Corey Shefman
The top change in the tech world this year is going to be that tablets and netbooks are going to swap places in popularity and availability. Netbooks debuted in 2007, but they paved the way for the tablet boom that is now taking off. In our ultra-connected world, the young and tech-savvy are demanding an internet-connected device larger than their smartphones and smaller than their 15-inch laptops.

While the death of the netbook will help the tablet, the real boon for tablet sales will be the release of Windows 8, Microsoft’s next operating system, expected in autumn 2012. Despite Apple’s significant attempts to turn the iPad into a useful tool for business, Apple’s tablet only really has two things going for it. First, the brand (it’s amazing how much extra people will pay for a picture of a fruit) and second, the sheer number of apps available for it.  

In addition, as much as I’m a Google fanboy and Android lover, Android tablets will never have the allure of Apple’s iPad or the Windows 8 tablets. Android remains too fragmented and, ironically, too open, for most people to be able to use it effectively.

Oh, and the last big news for tablets in 2012? Expect the iPad 3 and a price cut for the iPad 2. The latest rumours suggest that Apple is going to position the iPad 2 as a competitor to the Kindle Fire or Kobo tablet while making the iPad 3 (which will have a higher resolution display and a moderately faster processor) their new flagship. 

For personal use, get the iPad 2 in the spring when the iPad 3 comes out – the improvements expected in the iPad 3 are not nearly good enough to warrant paying the extra money. If buying for business, hang on until Windows 8 launches – it stands to be worth the wait. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO TEAR YOURSELF AWAY.

The other big news for 2012? Televisions. This year, we’re going to see the introduction of OLED HDTVs. OLED is the newest technology in digital monitors, featuring an ‘infinite contrast ratio’ – meaning you’re getting much truer colours and better colour differentiation than ever before. OLEDs stand to upend the television industry with their larger viewing angle (180 degrees without colour shifting), the thinnest panels on the market, and some sources report that they may use as little energy as a 50-watt light bulb.

– Corey Shefman is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer

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