Technology is advancing rapidly. So it will be little surprise that 2012 will go down as a year that saw technology firm up its hold on the imagination with the U.S. public. Everything from the way the election was covered to the way consumers tackled their holiday shopping was influenced by technology this year. And next year? That appears to be yet another big year in technology.Here's a look back at the tech trends of this past year and look toward what might be the important tech stories of 2013.
Obama's grip on election tech
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Pres. Obama relied heavily on social media to spread his information and reach his core group of younger voters during his historic 2008 presidential victory. This Year, technology again proved to be a formidable ally to Pres. Obama. This time around, Obama was aided by a sophisticated "get-out-the-vote" program dubbed Narwhal. This communications system allowed campaign staffers to frequently contact key voters in equally key states. The end result? Obama's core of voters -- whom many pundits predicted would largely stay home this year -- again flocked to the polls. Obama's commanding leads among African-American, Hispanic and young voters helped push him with an easy Electoral College victory. Romney tried his own communication technology, a program referred to as Project Orca. While Narwhal succeeded, Orca failed, rather terribly. The program even crashed for a important chunk of time on election day. No one would debate that technology was the main reason why Obama defeated Romney. But Obama's superior grasp of technology certainly played a role in his election victory. You can bet that future presidential candidates will arm themselves with the maximum amount of technology as possible in coming presidential elections.
Technology is evolving how the U . S . battles terrorists. Unmanned Predator drones made news headlines in 2012, especially because their deadly strikes claimed a number of the United State's most-wanted terrorists. The drones, obviously, were never without critics. Some worried they would be employed to spy on law-abiding citizens. Others worried that drone strikes routinely kill civilians along with terrorists or other military objectives. What's not up for debate, though, is that unmanned drones will continue to be a significant weapon in the United States' war on terror. As drone technology grows, their accuracy and effectiveness stand to increase.
The coming year
What can shoppers anticipate seeing tech-wise in the coming year? More. That's more consumers embracing mobile computing, turning off their desktop PCs and browsing the web, sending e-mail messages, texting, reading books, watching movies and enjoying music on tablets and powerful smart phones. More also means that consumers will continue to open their wallets for the latest technology. Tablets and smart phones were sizzling sellers during the recently concluded holiday shopping season. Count on seeing a lot more of these mobile devices under Christmas trees next season. And lastly, more means that technology will spread to a growing number of emerging countries. Expect developing countries to flock to social media, laptops and mobile devices simply because these technologies gradually become open to them. People like technology, regardless of where they live.