2012年十大科技趋势

(CNN) — 2011 注定是一个技术革新之年。在这一年,平板设备市场不断升温,团购网站空前火爆,互联网 IPO 亦强势回归。

The pace of change has become blisteringly fast, with traditional industries — bookstores, video-rental chains, newspapers — crumbling more quickly than we could have imagined.

变革的势头极其迅猛,随之而来的是传统产业——书店、影碟租赁连锁店、报业——以始料未及的速度崩溃。

Predicting what will happen in 2012, therefore, is a shot in the dark: A year is virtually a lifetime in the digital era. And yet we can at least make a guess at what will happen in the early part of next year simply by looking at the trends that are shaping the latter half of this year.

因此,预测 2012 年的科技趋势变得极为困难,毕竟在数字领域,一整年就意味着一个生命周期。但是,我们依然可以通过观察今年下半年的最新进展,猜测明年上半年的趋势。

Here’s my best estimate of some of the innovation we’ll see in 2012:

下面,我会尽可能预测哪些创新产品将在 2012 年进入我们的生活:

1. Touch computing

1.触屏电脑

New input methods will be the dominant trend of 2012. Tablet computers such as the iPad might seem like a nice alternative to desktop and laptop computers, but I believe they’re more than that: They’re replacements. Just as the command line (remember that?) gave way to graphical user interfaces, so the mouse will be superseded by touchscreens.

新的输入方法将在 2012 年成为主流。表面上看来,iPad 之类的平板电脑只是台式电脑和笔记本的补充,但我认为平板电脑将有更大作为:它将取代传统电脑。就像图形用户界面最终取代了命令行(对它还有印象吗?),触摸屏也必将取代鼠标。1

The signs are obvious: Windows 8 and Mac OS X Lion, the latest desktop operating systems, borrow heavy from their mobile counterparts. These new interfaces essentially impose a touchscreen-inspired interface over the traditional desktop environment.

我们已经看到很明显的迹象:最新的桌面操作系统,Windows 8 和 Mac OS X Lion 都在很多方面借鉴了同公司的移动操作系统,将触摸操作界面引入传统桌面环境。

Over time, this half-step will become a whole one, and mobile operating systems will dominate. The transition won’t be complete by the end of 2012, but we’ll be much further down the path, and using computer mice much less often.

随着时间推移,移动操作系统将成为主流。这种转变不会在 2012 年完成,但我们肯定能在转变之路上走得更远,使用鼠标的频率会越来越低。

2. Social gestures

2. 社交动作

In the social media realm, social gestures appear to be the leading trend of 2012. Launched by Facebook in September, this so-called “frictionless sharing” functionality removes the need to click a button to share media with your friends. Instead, everything you listen to, read or watch is automatically posted to your profile once you approve the relevant app.

在社会化媒体领域,“社交动作”(social gesture)很可能成为 2012 年的主导趋势。Facebook 在九月份发布了名为“无障碍分享”(frictionless sharing)的新功能,用户无需点击任何按钮就能与朋友分享资源。只要用户安装这类应用,其所听、所读、所看都会自动呈现在个人状态里。

If you’ve seen apps such as Spotify or Social Reader in your Facebook news feed, you’re already aware of these features.

如果你在 Facebook 信息流中注意到过 Spotify 或 Social Reader 之类的应用,那说明你已经知道这种功能。

The trend makes sense for social networks: With 800 million people already on Facebook, its growth is bound to slow. But if sharing becomes automatic, the volume of content on Facebook will grow at an accelerated pace. There’s a big problem, however: Users may be “creeped out” by all this automated sharing of their Web activity and grow suspicious of the apps using it.

该趋势对社会化网络意义重大:Facebook 已有八亿用户,增加用户量变得愈加困难。然而,如果分享变得自动化,Facebook 的内容增速将加快。不过,这也带来一个重要问题:用户可能被自动分享所有网络活动“吓走”,不再信任这类应用。

3. NFC and mobile payments

3. NFC(近场通讯)和移动支付

Google Wallet, Google’s mobile-payment system, may become more widespread in 2012.

2012 年,Google 的移动支付系统 Google Wallet 将得到更广泛的使用。

Next year is likely to be the year when mobile payments blossom. While we’ve seen a great deal of innovation in mobile payments technology this year — including the success of Square’s iPhone dongle, allowing anyone to accept credit card payments — 2012 is the year of NFC.

明年很可能是移动支付开花结果的一年。今年,我们注意到移动支付技术创新层出不穷——包括取得成功的 iPhone dongle,由 Square 推出,让个人也能接受信用卡支付——而 2012 年则属于 NFC。

What’s that, you ask? Near Field Communication essentially lets you replace your credit cards with your phone: Wave an NFC-enabled phone near the credit card reader in a store (or taxi cab), and the money is deducted from your account.

NFC 是啥玩意儿?从功能上来讲,有了近场通讯(Near Field Communication,缩写为 NFC)技术,你就能用手机替代信用卡:只需在商场里(或出租车)的信用卡读卡器附近晃一下支持 NFC 功能的手机,就能完成支付。

By 2013, 1 in 5 cellphones are expected to be NFC-equipped. Early contenders include Google Wallet, Visa Wallet, Serve (by American Express) and ISIS.

预计到 2013 年,两成手机将支持 NFC 功能。早期竞争者包括谷歌钱包(Google Wallet)、维萨钱包(Visa Wallet)、美国运通推出的 Serve和 ISIS(译者注:由移动运营商Verizon、AT&T和T-Mobile 组建的移动支付公司)。

4. Beyond the iPad

4. 超越 iPad

If touch computing is the future, then the iPad is surely king. And yet the iPad came up against serious competition in the latter part of 2011: As I wrote previously, I expect the new Amazon Kindle Fire to outsell the iPad in 2012. Why? Simply put, the iPad costs $499 while the Fire costs $199.

如果我们承认未来属于触屏电脑,那么也得承认iPad是该领域的王者。但是,到了 2011 年下半年,iPad 开始面临激烈的竞争:在一篇旧文中我就预测,在 2012 年,亚马逊(Amazon)推出的 Kindle Fire 的销量将超过 iPad。为什么呢?简单来说,iPad 定价 499 美元,而 Fire 只要 199 美元。

Amazon’s advantages don’t stop at the price point, however: The company owns an entire content store of movies, e-books, TV shows and other media. With tablet devices, the hardware is somewhat important but the content available for the device is absolutely critical: With plenty of media available for the Fire right away, it’s an appealing proposition.

但是,低廉的价格并不是亚马逊的唯一优势:它还拥有完善的内容商店,提供电影、电子书、电视节目和其它资源。对于平板设备来说,硬件在某种程度上很重要,但是可用的内容资源才是核心竞争力:目前 Fire 丰富的可用资源使其极具吸引力。

Why does one device constitute an entire trend? Well, as a true competitor to the iPad emerges, content producers, distributors and even app developers may have an entirely new platform on which to push their wares. (And yes, the Kindle Fire does indeed run Google’s Android operating system, but Amazon’s version is so unlike other Android tablets that neither users nor app developers will perceive it as “yet another Android device” — it’s a whole new platform.)

单一设备怎么就能引领趋势?因为真正有实力与 iPad 竞争的产品为内容生产商和经销商,甚至应用开发人员提供了难得的机会,使他们能在一个全新的平台上推广产品(我承认 Kindle Fire 的确运行谷歌安卓操作系统,但是亚马逊使用的版本和其它安卓平板完全不同,所以其用户和应用开发人员绝不会把它当成“又一个安卓平板”——它是全新的平台)。

5. TV Everywhere

5.范电视化

So you thought you’d be able to watch all your favorite shows online and get rid of your cable subscription for good? Not so fast!

也许你会想,反正能通过互联网看到所有喜欢的节目,干脆彻底抛弃有线电视网络。先别急着这么做!

The cable companies have a cunning plan: They’ll let you watch live TV, plus on-demand movies and TV shows, on your connected devices if you keep your cable subscription. Dish Network, Time Warner and Comcast are among those offering the service.

有线电视公司有自己的小算盘:只要你保留有线电视网络,不但可以通过连接到电视网络的设备观看直播节目,同时还能点播电影和电视节目。Dish Network、时代华纳(Time Warner)和Comcast 都提供类似服务。

TV Everywhere has been buzzed about since 2010, of course, and could be a dud — but the rise of tablet devices would seem to create increased demand for a “TV in your hands.”

从 2010 年起,范电视化概念就被炒得火热,当然,不排除它是垃圾概念的可能——不过,平板设备的崛起有可能增加“掌上电视”的需求。

6. Voice control

6. 声控技术

Here’s another trend that’s got a moderate chance of taking off in 2012: Voice control.

声控技术应该能在 2012 年得到稳步发展。

Siri, the voice-control feature in the iPhone 4S, may spread to other devices.

类似于 iPhone 4S 独有的 Siri 的声控功能很可能被应用到其它设备。

The novelty of Siri on the iPhone 4S — which allows you to send texts, create reminders, search the Web and much more using just your voice — may be the start of a new trend in voice controlled devices.

iPhone 4S 独特的语音助理Siri——让你说句话就能完成发信息、创建备忘、搜索网络等超多任务——将会开创声控设备的新趋势。

Surely voice control has been around for years? Yes, but it wasn’t very accurate.

声控技术多年前就已出现,这是事实,但是此前的设备识别准确率实在不高。

Siri and its ilk define a new era in which we talk, and our devices understand — often on the first attempt. Other device makers will likely follow suit. What’s more, Apple may use voice control to replace the TV remote.

Siri 们将重新定义人机对话,即设备完全理解我们的语言——而且准确率非常高。其它设备制造商肯定会如法炮制。另外,苹果(Apple)公司有可能会利用声控技术代替电视遥控器。

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7. Spatial gestures

7. 体感技术

Other input methods are gaining traction too: Microsoft’s Kinect, for instance, has given rise to interfaces that use spatial gestures. Just like in “Minority Report,” your devices can be controlled simply by waving your hands in the air.Thanks to the many innovators who have hacked Kinect to work with other platforms, we may see more devices using this input method next year.

其它输入方式也将获得发展动力:举例来说,微软的 Kinect 催生了支持体感技术的界面。正如《少数派报告》中的场景,只需挥几下手就能控制你的设备。一些极客已经破解 Kinect,用于其他平台,感谢他们,明年我们会发现更多使用这种输入方法的设备。

8. Second-screen experiences

8. 双屏体验

“Second-screen experiences” is a buzz-phase among TV and movie execs these days. It refers to apps (mainly on the iPad) that listen to the audio output of your TV and display content related to the show or movie you’re watching. The chances are that you already use your tablet computer or phone while watching TV, so there’s ample opportunity to make the viewing experience a more interactive one.

“双屏体验”可谓近年来电视和电影公司主管眼中的“红人”,它主要是指一些特殊应用软件(主要针对 iPad),能够识别用户正在观看的电视节目或电影的音频,并播放相关内容。很多人都会在看电视时使用平板电脑或手机,因此,提供交互性更好的观赏体验前景广阔。

Disney already has second-screen apps for movies such as “The Lion King” and “Bambi,” while multiple TV networks have similar offerings: We can expect many, many more to be released in 2012.

迪斯尼(Disney)已经为《狮子王》和《小鹿斑比》等电影提供双屏应用软件,同时,很多电视网络供应商也提供类似应用。可以想见,2012 年会涌现出大量类似应用。

9. Flexible screens

9. 柔性屏幕

Personally, I just can’t wait for flexible screens: These awesome new bendable interfaces will let you zoom in, zoom out and scroll around a page simply by twisting your phone or tablet.

我个人非常期待柔性屏幕:有了这种可弯曲操作界面,只要扭一扭手机或平板就能实现放大、缩小或在页面滚动。

Nokia and Samsung have both hinted they may release phones with bendable displays in 2012. The really exciting stuff, however — like paper-thin devices that roll up to fit in your pocket — is still years away.

诺基亚(Nokia)和三星(Samsung)都暗示可能在 2012年推出柔性屏幕手机。不过,真正碉堡的产品——例如可卷起来放进口袋的超薄设备——还要再等个几年。

10. HTML5

10. HTML5

Can I squeeze in one more trend? It’s HTML5 — the fifth iteration of the HTML standard — and it lets developers create richer, more interactive applications than ever.

还要再挤出一个?那就应该是第五代 HTML (超文本标记语言)标准——HTML5,帮助开发人员创造有史以来交互性最好的富应用。

Why does this matter? As developers tire of building applications for every operating system out there — from Android to iOS to Windows Phone and beyond — HTML5 offers the opportunity to build an app once and have it work everywhere.

为什么说它很重要?开发人员厌倦了为每种操作系统——安卓、iOS、Windows Phone 等等——分别开发应用软件,而利用 HTML5 开发的软件能够通用于各种平台。

The rise of HTML5 is bound to be accelerated by a recent revelation: Adobe is killing off Flash for mobile devices, meaning one of the primary methods of serving videos and rich applications on mobile phones is about to disappear. HTML5 will fill that gap. For us as consumers, that means richer applications and experiences on all our devices.

奥多比(Adobe)公司最近宣布,将终止为移动设备开发 Flash,这意味着少了一种用于手机视频服务和富应用的主要解决方案,HTML5 的发展速度必定会因此加快,以填补相关领域的空白。对于我们这些消费者而言,这意味着设备上的应用和体验将更加丰富。

In short, 2012 is all about new ways to interact with our devices through touch and voice control, new lightweight ways to share content, a revolution in mobile payments and a plethora of rich Web applications — not to mention the hundreds of new innovations that we’ve yet to dream up. I can’t wait.

简言之,在 2012 年,我们可以期待新的人机交互方式——通过触摸屏和声控、新的轻量化内容分享模式、移动支付革命和海量网络富应用,更不用说那些只存在于想象中的新发明。我已经等不及了。

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