Just as 2013 has been a whirlwind year for Asian technology, 2014 promises a great deal
of innovation for the IT industry
in Asia and across the world. With the development of new products,
acquisitions of well-known brands by Asian corporations, and products that are
the fruit of such acquisitions, 2014 looks to be a landmark year for
technology.

More wearable technology 

2013 saw the release of the Sony SmartWatch 2 and Samsung
Galaxy Gear — and both of these products exist seemingly only because of
rumors that Apple is developing their own wearable computing device. As with any
reactionary product, the reviews are negative and the return rates are through the roof. It appears that the new hot wearable computing
product is the Smarty Ring, which is a ring
that displays notifications on your finger. The Smarty Ring is developed by
independent designers in India.

Someone buys BlackBerry

The writing on the wall at the company formerly known as
Research in Motion (RIM) has been there for some time, and to an extent, it’s
interesting that such a transaction hasn’t happened already. Most analysts
favor Lenovo as a potential suitor, and Huawei has also been mentioned, but both face regulatory pushback on fears of espionage. However, a more appropriate
suitor with a proven security track record is Panasonic, a favored vendor for high-security organizations that use their line of Toughbook
laptops. Accordingly, a purchase by Panasonic wouldn’t be met with as much resistance
as a purchase by firms such as Lenovo or Huawei.

LG’s webOS-powered Smart TV debuts

This particular prediction is equal parts “actual plausible
event” and “webOS fan fantasy,” but according to ZDNet Korea, the Korean firm is preparing to introduce their webOS-powered Smart
TV at CES 2014. LG acquired webOS and the cross-platform framework “Enyo” from HP in early 2013. HP acquired the technology from
Palm after they purchased the mobile computing firm in 2010.

After the abrupt discontinuation of the HP TouchPad, 49 days
after it was released, the fate of webOS, which was considered a “homerun” at the unveiling at CES 2009, looked rather bleak. Speaking personally, as someone who purchased a TouchPad before the fire
sale (and who still uses a Palm Pre 2 as a daily driver), the prospect of
new life being breathed in to webOS — even as the platform for a Smart TV — is
exciting.

Softbank acquires T-Mobile USA

Softbank closed 2013 with the acquisition of Sprint
(and by extension, Clearwire), and the Japanese telecommunications firm appears to
be eyeing T-Mobile USA. In 2011, T-Mobile USA was the target of an attempted
takeover by AT&T, but that was scuttled by the Federal Trade Commission and
Federal Communications Commission. Deutsche Telekom is eager to sell, as
T-Mobile USA is hemorrhaging money for the German firm.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son is perhaps the most qualified person to make the two carriers into a viable operation, as
Softbank’s domestic wireless operations were purchased from Vodafone’s flailing
Japanese division in 2006. Since the purchase, Softbank Mobile’s operating
profit has more than doubled, due in part to Softbank locking up the iPhone as
an exclusive handset in Japan until the release of the 4S.

Large, high-DPI tablets

Rumors abound about the potential for an “iPad Pro” — a
device somewhere between 12.1 and 12.9 inches. When Apple does something, other
companies are sure to follow. Larger Android tablets at 2560×1440 or 2560×1600
to compete with a super-sized iPad would doubtlessly be rushed out the door. At
present, the only device somewhat near this form factor is the ARCHOS FamilyPad 2, with a paltry 1280×800 13.3” display. In addition, some of the
more unique form factors of Android tablets from ASUS are expected to make their
way to the United States in 2014.

Final thoughts

While these predictions for 2014 are far from exhaustive,
the potential that the next year holds is vast. If you believe these
predictions are spot on, off the mark, or if you want to share your own
predictions for technology in Asia in 2014, please share your thoughts in the
comments section below.