Connected: New technologies for 2013

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As we peer into 2013 tech trends, let's revisit 2012 as a starting point. This year brought us smaller tablets and bigger smart phones blurring the distinction more than ever.

Samsung's Galaxy III and Note smart phones, for instance, seemed to stem the tide of smart phones that are smaller with each new model. To create a better visual effect, these devices give you a larger screen - "the better to see [me] with" said the wolf as you watch Little Red Riding Hood on your personal screen.

While epics, like the "Ten Commandments," still don't look epic on a screen that fits in your pocket, at least you can watch Charlton Heston play Moses while you're sitting on an airplane. And you don't even have to use ten plagues to get it to happen.

Apple is even getting in on it - facing pressure from the other phone vendors, its iPhone 5 is taller with a screen that can accommodate more icons. Although you might think it means all devices are going large again, don't be so sure. The iPad now comes mini - at least in name. While the iPad-mini is smaller than the other iPads, it's not much smaller; just enough to fit more easily into a women's purse. Looking at the two side by side, it's hard to see why you'd want the bigger one.

Two important trends have been happening behind the scenes, which I expect to accelerate in 2013. The first is the trend to the cloud. In many respects, the cloud - today's term for connecting to and using computers, disk storage and other devices that are remote from the user - is a trend back to the 1970's centralized computer departments. The main differences are the technologies are faster, cheaper and better, and that they are often provided by pay or free services, instead of by your friendly neighborhood IT department.

Combine the move to the cloud with the economy of abundance, and you have a powerful trend that will accelerate in 2013 to help us do more than ever when and where we want to do it.

The economy of abundance is a term coined by ex-Wired editor, Chris Anderson signifying that disk space, computer access, cell phone services are becoming so cheap and abundant, that it's a waste of time to bother counting it. Just use it, and don't worry about wasting it. VerizonWireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint by lowering the cost of data plans, and Facebook, Google other "free" services are all shepherding us to the point of "who cares; it costs me next to nothing. So I can afford to use all I want - and waste all I want."

Since you're saving all that money, you'll want some place to invest it.

In 2012, President Barack Obama introduced the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups), which will kick in in a big way in 2013, as it opens the door for individuals to invest in companies using a concept called crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, a company can offer to sell you part of the company over the Internet, and you buy it in small increments that you can afford. It's similar to the concept already being used to fund projects via Kickstarter and IndieGoGo websites.

The bill has passed Congress; and the Securities and Exchange Commission is readying regulations and completing its reviews before making it available to citizens and startups - a move that's likely to come in early 2013. That's when the fun begins, because there will be even more ways for entrepreneurs to release new technologies - which give you more opportunities to invest.


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