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Top 10 tech trends of 2013 predicted

Last year's Gartner forecast for the top 2012 tech trends to watch - with media tablets, mobile-centric applications, and social user experience topping the list - was pretty spot-on. But what does the research firm think will make waves next year?

During the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando this week, analysts presented their top 10 technologies to watch in the new year, based on predicted impact on the enterprise over the next three years.

Mobile device battles topped the list, with the expectation that by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access devices worldwide. In three years, Gartner analysts predicted, more than 80 per cent of handsets sold will be smartphones. By 2015, tablet shipments will grow to about 50 per cent of laptop sales, and Microsoft's Windows 8 will likely hold third place behind Google's Android and Apple's iOS operating systems, they forecast.

Continuing down the mobile path, Gartner predicted that developer tools including native, special, hybrid, HTML5, Message, and No Client will remain popular, but a long-term shift to Web apps is inevitable, as HTML5 becomes more popular.

Already a growing trend, the personal cloud will eventually replace PCs with local storage as the favoured vault for personal content.

"It will be the glue that connects the Web of devices [individuals] choose to use during different aspects of their daily lives. The personal cloud will entail the unique collection of services, Web destinations and connectivity that will become the home of their computing and communication activities," Gartner analyst David Cearley said.

What Gartner and others call "The Internet of Things" (IoT) continues to expand its presence on the annual list as more physical assets are connected to the Web. The IoT refers to elements like embedded sensors, image recognition technologies, and NFC payment tech, which changes the definition of "mobile" to include more than just cellular handsets or tablets.

Rounding off Gartner's top 10 for 2013 are enterprise app stores, hybrid IT and cloud computing, strategic big data, actionable analytics, in-memory computing, and integrated ecosystems.

Businesses shouldn't read Gartner's list as a technology bible, though, Cearley said.

"This does not necessarily mean enterprises should adopt and invest in all of the listed technologies. However companies need to be making deliberate decisions about how they fit with their expected needs in the near future," he said in a statement.