A look back and forward at the biggest tech stories

How important was modern technology in 2012? It changed the way we fought terrorists. It changed the way presidential candidates won election. And it definitely changed the presents we received beneath the Christmas tree. Technology is constantly on the advance, becoming easier for people to grasp and much more powerful every day. But what does the future hold? Expect people to spend a lot more of their cash on tech toys in 2013. Expect tablet computers to become even smaller and a lot more powerful. And expect consumers to continue to replace their desktop computing with hours spent surfing the web, texting friends and watching video on their smart phones, tablets as well as other mobile devices. This is a quick look inside the top technology stories of the year along with 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 during the 2012 presidential election and Pres. Barack Obama benefitted from this. Counting 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 contacting Obama's core voters, a voting base that many pundits doubted would rush towards the polls in high-enough numbers to steer Obama to victory. The pundits, famously, were wrong. Obama won in an Electoral College romp, thanks in part to strong turnouts among young and minority voters, the very same voters that campaign staffers frequently contacted in the Narwhal program. Romney boasted his own high-tech voter-contact system, Project Orca. Orca, though, famously failed. The system even went down on election day. The achievements of Narwhal and the failure of Orca isn't the reason why Obama was elected to a second term. But Obama's mastery of technology certainly didn't hurt his efforts.

Drones

The United States' growing reliance on unmanned Predator drones to battle terrorists become an important, and controversial, tech story in 2012. Drones made headlines in 2012 as they continually killed terrorist objectives. Supporters say that the drones enable the government to focus on dangerous terrorists without putting soldiers in danger. Critics say that the drones too often claim civilian lives in addition to those of terrorists. Other critics wonder if the us government might use drones to spy on its own citizens. What's not debated? That unmanned drones are here to stay.

The coming year

What tech developments should you expect in 2013? First, expect consumers to spend even more cash on their technology. Tablets, smart phones and laptops remained hot gifts throughout the holiday season. There's not any reason to think this will change. Expect, too, for people to will begin to depart from desktop computing. Today's consumers prefer computing on the go, depending upon their tablets and smartphones to surf the web, read e-mail messages, watch movies online and enjoy their favorite songs. This is a trend that is only growing more robust. Finally, expect technology to continue to propagate throughout the world in 2013, establishing itself in lots of emerging countries. This, incidentally, can only be a good thing. Technology improves cultures. Putting powerful technology within reach of consumers in emerging countries can only be considered a positive.


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