Tech Predictions For 2013: $199 Xbox 720, PS4, 2 iPhones, And More

31 December 2012, 2:43 pm EST By Vamien McKalin email: Mobile & Apps

The year 2013 is going to be a big year for technology and gaming, and probably may end up as being the biggest yet. Trying to figure out what will happen in 2013 is not easy unless one has some inside information, so theories and speculation will have to do for now.

Below are some wild predictions of what could happen in 2013. At least one is bound to happen, right?

NFC's Rise To Glory

The year 2012 saw many mobile devices such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Google Nexus 4 launching with NFC in tow. Along with these smartphones came NFC-based speakers and other accessories that are aimed at driving adoption. Still, NFC doesn't appear to be moving ahead as expected, but with companies like Airtag making inroads on NFC commerce, things are bound to change in 2013.

NFC won't become standard in 2013; however, expect it to experience huge adaptation as companies like Google and Nokia release multiple products in the new year to excite consumers into purchasing accessories for their NFC-based smartphone and tablets.

Two iPhones, One Apple

With the increased competition from Samsung and Google, and even Nokia, Apple will be forced to release two iPhones per year. The first half of 2013 may see the release of the iPhone 5S, followed by the iPhone 6's debut in Q4. Apple's one phone per year proved to be a good strategy for a long time, but times have changed. The competition has finally caught up and consumers are reacting towards this change. Six  months refresh cycle is now the trend.

BlackBerry 10 Gains Support from Carriers, But Not from Consumers

Research in Motion (RIM) is in a tight spot. Its BlackBerry platform recently lost the number three position to Windows Phone and the company is in no position to do anything about it until Feb. 2013. To say RIM is late to the game would be an understatement, the company should have reacted a lot sooner and now it seems to be too late.

Many consumers have already found an ecosystem they have invested in, so switching to BlackBerry 10 would be a difficult decision to make. While Microsoft can push its Windows Phone 8 platform for years until it succeeds, RIM cannot do the same since its cash pile won't allow.

Xbox 720 Goes on Sale Starting at $199

The Xbox line of consoles is Microsoft's biggest consumer electronic, and its key component for controlling the living room. This is the reason why the company classifies the Xbox 360 as an entertainment system-slash-Media Hub and no longer a games console. To become present in every home, the Xbox 720 would have to be very affordable.

The basic model will come at the standard $399, but what of the $199 model? It would be the same as the $399 model with a catch; consumers will have to pay a monthly subscription as they do with smartphones. Microsoft is already testing these waters with the $99 Xbox 360, so there is no doubt the company is planning to do the same with the Xbox 720 when it launches in 2013, which could potentially disrupt the gaming industry.

Tablet Market Gets Heated Due to Increased Competition

The tablet market right now is all about the Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle Fire, but things are due for a change in 2013. The Google Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 made small inroads in 2012, but it wasn't enough to give Android a substantial amount of market share to compete effectively with the iPad and Kindle Fire. Google will no doubt step up to the plate with the help of Motorola to deliver the one Android tablet to rule them all, followed by Samsung with a new and innovative Galaxy Tab.

However, the biggest winner would be Microsoft and Windows 8. Come 2013, manufacturers will begin to flood the market with cheap Windows 8-based tablets; this will quickly drive adoption of the platform and see it gain quite a lot of market share by the end of the year. The increase in competition would see Apple innovating a lot more to try to differentiate itself. If Apple fans are lucky, there may just be a new UI for iOS on the iPad.

Nokia Gaining Market Share but Still Struggling

Nokia is a company with a lot of work to do and limited time to get it done; meaning failure is not an option because there are no more second chances to be had. The year 2013 will see the company releasing cheap Windows Phone 8 devices for emerging markets, this move has already begun with the Lumia 620; however, it needs to go lower than the $250 price point. So far, the Asha line of feature phones are doing well, far better than the Lumia, but they have no staying power since they are not smartphones. Over time, smartphones will be cheap enough for folks from emerging markets to afford, or emerging markets will no longer be, which means consumers would be able to afford smartphones.

Nokia's only option is to make people choose Windows Phone over the Asha line of feature phones, this can only happen if its Windows Phone devices can match feature phones on price.

When it comes down to tablets, Nokia won't be a big player in 2013. The company will no doubt enter the market, but unlike the Windows Phone market, it faces stiffer competition from seasoned Windows based hardware manufacturers.

Sony PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Wii U

Not much has been said about the PS4 in the rumor mill. This could mean Sony is being very successful at keeping a lid on things until the time comes for the company to tell all. It is highly likely that Sony is preparing to launch the PS4 in 2013; the company is in no position to allow the Nintendo Wii U to hog the entire spotlight, along with giving Microsoft a sizable head start. No matter what people might think, Sony has no choice but to drop the PS4 in 2013 or face the consequence of its actions.

On the matter of the Wii U, Nintendo knows its console is the only next generation device on the market for another year, so it can pretty much do whatever it wants. However, just like with the 3DS when the PS Vita launched, Nintendo will likely slash the price of the Wii U to keep it ahead of the Xbox 720 and PS4. This move would surely keep Nintendo in the pole position ahead of Microsoft and Sony, and could also be a move to undermine the launch of rival consoles.

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