12 Top Tech Rumors We Hope Will (and Won’t) Come True
By Jeff Bertolucci
The tech world loves rumors and spreads them incessantly, thanks to a seemingly endless outpouring of Internet blather about impending tech gadgets and gear.
Each time a new rumor sweeps through the blogosphere, we find ourselves saying “Really hope that happens” on some occasions and “That’ll never fly” on others.
For this story, we’ve assembled a dozen of the hottest rumors in techdom today and separated the real from the surreal, IOHO. See whether you agree.
We Hope Will Come True: An Amazon-Branded Tablet to Ship in 2011
For months now, members of a mysterious cabal of unnamed sources have whispered that online retailing colossus Amazon will soon unveil an iPad-style slate. Though Amazon has been coy about its tablet intentions, company CEO Jeff Bezos has implied that the reports may be true, telling Consumer Reports to “stay tuned.” Hey, if the rumors were false, wouldn’t he just quash them? With its Kindle e-reader a proven success, we think that Amazon should (and will) make a play in the burgeoning tablet market.
We Hope Won’t Come True: A Chrome OS Tablet Is Coming
Let’s keep it simple: Android is for tablets; Chrome OS is for laptops. Most people who’ve used a Chromebook, one of the new cloud-centric netbooks that run Google Chrome OS, recognize that the fledgling UI is best suited for a keyboard and a touchpad, not a touchscreen. And yet persistent reports suggest that Google is developing a modified version of Chrome OS for tablets, too. Prediction: Google will come to its senses and draw a Mason-Dixon Line between Chrome OS and Android, especially since Android is evolving into a very nice tablet OS, despite its initial shortcomings. A Chrome OS tablet would only confuse consumers and muddle Google’s Android tablet strategy.
We Hope Will Come True: The Droid Bionic Smartphone Arrives in Early August
The mysterious Motorola Droid Bionic phone made a very public debut at CES 2011 in January, and then pulled a Greta Garbo and went into seclusion. Recent reports, including one showing the Bionic in an alleged Best Buy ad, claim that the phone will finally launch on August 4. A Verizon LTE handset, the Bionic runs Android and has a 4.3-inch qHD display and a dual-core processor. So why did it disappear after CES? Perhaps the Bionic went back to the lab to become better…stronger…faster.
We Hope Won’t Come True: Apple iPad 3 to Go 3D
There’s no end to iPad gossip, and most of the speculation right now centers on the alleged autumn arrival of either the iPad 3 or the iPad 2 Plus–whichever sounds better–with a vastly improved display. But one oddball rumor claims that the third-generation iPad will sport a 3D display, and that major Hollywood studios are working feverishly to create 3D content for the tablet. This seems unlikely, as today’s 3D phones and tablets are gimmicky at best; Apple is more likely to adopt a wait-and-see approach toward 3D technology.
We Hope Will Come True: PlayStation 4 to Have Kinect-Like Motion Tracking
Sony plans to launch the PlayStation 4 next year, according to Digitimes, and the new gaming console will feature motion-sensing controls similar to those of Microsoft’s Kinect. The PlayStation 3 has been with us only five years, which is a short life span for a home console, but it’s looking more and more dated every day. The PS3’s Move motion technology is akin to the now ho-hum Nintendo Wiimote, and the PlayStation platform needs a gee-whiz infusion–the sooner, the better.
We Hope Won’t Come True: Google+ Will Beat Facebook
PCWorld Facebook page fan Hoang Xuan Thai called this one, and he’s spot-on. Google’s slick new social network has a lot going for it, notably the Circles feature designed to simplify the task of subdividing friends, family, and acquaintances into distinct groups. But nothing is stopping Facebook from implementing many of Google+’s clever innovations, and it’ll take more than a few cool tricks to persuade millions of Facebook loyalists to jump ship.
Next: Windows 8, the Nintendo Wii U, more Microsoft Kinect, and more rumors.
We Hope Will Come True: Windows 8 Will Arrive Early
When will Windows 8 ship? A new rumor says the date could be as early as next April, months ahead of schedule. Windows 8 is designed to run on tablets and PCs, and as Technologizer’s Harry McCracken points out, Microsoft has good reason to push the new OS out the door: Redmond is currently a nonentity in the tablet business, and it wants to change that situation ASAP.
We Hope Won’t Come True: Nintendo’s Next Console Will Be a Pricey, Premium Box
The Nintendo Wii was a huge hit because of its clever, motion-sensing remote–and because it cost less than its more-powerful competitors, the Sony PlayStation and the Microsoft Xbox. The Wii was both fun and cheap, an appealing combo for casual gamers. Nintendo’s president has said that the Wii U, the Wii’s the new and improved successor, will cost more than the original system, but we’re still waiting on a price. If Nintendo plans to reach the same crowd that found the Wii so appealing, it won’t charge more than $300 for the Wii U.
We Hope Will Come True: The Apple iPhone 5 Becomes Available on Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless
Assuming that the next-generation iPhone arrives in September or October, a dual launch on the two largest U.S. wireless carriers makes sense. Verizon began selling the iPhone 4 in February, and a fall arrival of the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4x) probably wouldn’t upset many of Big Red’s early iPhone adopters, though some of them might experience a wave of buyer’s remorse. From Apple’s perspective, a two-carrier launch could help the iPhone grab market share from the advancing Android horde.
We Hope Won’t Come True: Kinect Has a Future in the Sex Biz
Purveyors of porn are often early adopters of new technology, and Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect device may be the next big thing in a-partner-would-be-nice-but-this-will-have-to-do ersatz encounters. Microsoft has washed its hands of Kinect sex games, but that hasn’t stopped game developer Thrixxx (yeah, Triple X) from releasing a demo video showing how a Kinect sex game might work. We won’t link to the clip, but we suspect that Kinect’s hands-off approach to simulated whoopee may leave more than a few players unfulfilled.
We Hope Will Come True: Sprint and T-Mobile to Get the iPhone
Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Misek predicted in May that Sprint and T-Mobile would get the iPhone by the 2011 holiday shopping season. This now seems increasingly likely. To combat Android’s growing market share in the United States, Apple must expand the iPhone’s reach to all four major wireless carriers–or all three, if the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger wins federal approval.
We Hope Won’t Come True: Apple iPad 3 Arrives This Fall
Rumors that a next-generation iPad will arrive in the fall just won’t die. Whether you call it the iPad 3 or iPad 2 Plus, the alleged higher-resolution slate will reportedly coexist with the iPad 2, but target a business or otherwise upscale clientele, gossipers say. Well, we say that the next iPad won’t arrive until 2012. Apple owns the tablet business for the time being, and it doesn’t need to rush a new model to market.
Disagree with our takes? Heard other rumors you hope will or won’t come true? Sound off in the Comments section.