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Crystal balls and calendars: A look back, and forward, at the top tech news

Business Technology | January 2, 2013

How important was technology in 2012? It changed the way we fought terrorists. It changed just how presidential candidates won election. And it definitely changed the gifts we received beneath the Christmas tree. Technology continues to advance, becoming easier for people to grasp and a lot more powerful every day. But what does the future hold? Expect consumers to spend even more of their dollars on tech toys in 2013. Expect tablet computers to get even smaller and a lot more powerful. And expect consumers to continue to replace their desktop computing with time spent surfing the web, texting friends and watching video on their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. This is a quick look inside the top technology stories of the year and a look forward to what we think stands out as the biggest tech trends of 2013.

Obama’s grip on election tech

Technology showed off throughout the 2012 presidential election and Pres. Barack Obama benefitted from it. Relying on a high-tech get-out-the-vote tech project, dubbed Narwhal, Obama managed to target his campaign to those voters whom he most needed. Narwhal also excelled at getting in contact with Obama’s core voters, a voting base that lots of pundits doubted would rush to the polls in high-enough numbers to lead Obama to victory. The pundits, famously, were wrong. Obama won in an Electoral College romp, thanks to strong turnouts among young and minority voters, those voters that campaign staffers frequently contacted in the Narwhal program. Romney boasted their own high-tech voter-contact system, Project Orca. Orca, though, famously failed. The system even went down on election day. The success of Narwhal and the failure of Orca isn’t the reason why Obama was elected into a second term. But Obama’s mastery of technology certainly didn’t hurt his campaign.

Drones

Technology is changing how the U . S . battles terrorists. Unmanned Predator drones made news headlines in 2012, especially because their deadly strikes claimed a number of the United State’s most-wanted terrorists. The drones, of course, were not without critics. Some worried that they will be employed to spy on law-abiding citizens. Others were concerned that drone strikes routinely kill civilians along with terrorists or other military goals. What’s not up for debate, though, is that unmanned drones continue to be an important weapon in the United States’ fight against terror. As drone technology increases, their accuracy and effectiveness stand to increase.

The coming year

What can consumers anticipate seeing tech-wise in the coming year? More. That’s more consumers embracing mobile computing, turning off their desktop PCs and surfing the Web, sending e-mail messages, texting, reading books, watching movies and listening to music on tablets and powerful smart phones. More includes that consumers will continue to open their wallets for the latest technology. Tablets and smart phones were sizzling sellers throughout the recently concluded christmas shopping season. Count on seeing even more of these mobile devices under Christmas trees next season. And finally, more means technology will spread into a growing group of emerging countries. Expect developing countries to flock to social media, laptops and mobile devices as these technologies gradually become open to them. People like technology, wherever they live.


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