If you look around at what technology has brought us in 2011 it's been a truly momentous year. The iPad 2, new exciting Android tablets with the proper tablet version of the OS, Windows 8, the HP TouchPad with WebOS, Windows Phone 'Mango', Ultrabooks, cameras with GPS, multi-touch in laptops, new super-efficient Intel and AMD processors and more. These have all either been announced or released this year. In short technology is moving ahead at a pace faster than ever before and amazingly the prices do seem to be tumbling.
This is all great news but there are still some technologies that have got to change in 2012 and they need to do this very quickly or else the technology we use will move so far ahead of them that innovation itself will begin to suffer. Those technologies are all concerned with the Internet itself or with Internet communications.
Let's start with the ADSL or DSL broadband lines coming into our homes and offices. Unless you're lucky enough to live in a country such as Sweden which already enjoys 50Mb/sec lines or faster you'll be lucky to get a stable connection on a tenth of that. Indeed the old 2 miles from the telephone exchange line is wearing thin with many but telecoms companies and governments simply aren't doing enough to rectify the problem. Here in the UK we think that people who live in countryside villages and who still have to use dial up or get a 512k/sec broadband line have a bad deal. In some countries where the distances are far further such as the USA, Canada and Australia the problems are 100 times worse.
It's a similar story with mobile networks. The USA was late to the 3G game but has forged ahead with 4G connections. Many other countries however are still several years away from moving to 4G, but which time it'll be time to move onto something else in all probability. The mobile networks also need to sort out the mess that is unlimited data plans and manage their networks in such a way as to allow people to use mobile broadband properly. The pricing for mobile broadband also has to drop by at least 50% next year. There's already more than enough money to be made and many people, especially those in isolated areas would love to move away from an ADSL line and onto a SIM contract. At the moment though it's still far too expensive to do this.
Many people think that a universal wireless solution like a full roll-out of 4G or WiMax will solve the problem and make traditional broadband lines obsolete. Telecommunications companies need to protect their bottom lines however and, as such, a lot of innovation is being stifled for reasons of profit and share prices.
When we actually are able to get online though using our sexy new devices we find that the web is still looking as old and outdated as it was in 2003. Back then we didn't have the preponderance of smartphones, tablets and touch-screen PCs that we do now. Even next year's iMacs are rumoured to be multi-touch but almost none of the world's largest websites have moved to a touch-friendly design yet. I did this with my own website last month and firmly believe it's absolutely essential. Some companies are making a move in this direction with the BBC launching a part-touch-friendly website recently but the new YouTube redesign is traditional menus and mouse control only.
It's one thing having new interfaces and new form factors that enable us to use the web in new and exciting ways, and new operating systems that are designed primarily around touch. If we can't get good, quick and stable connections to the web though, or properly and effectively use the websites we visit when we get there all this technology is going to waste. Here's hoping that 2012 brings us much more than just a move to IPv6 and some 4G radio spectrum auctions. What technologies do you think really need to change in 2012 and do you agree with me here? Why not tell us in the comments.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.