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Best in Tech 2013

© Richard Seagraves

ET reviews the best gadgets this year for business travelers.

Having the right smartphone, laptop, peripherals and apps can make life on the road productive and seamless. Read on for predictions for 2013 from our technology editor, Chris Null, and then click through to see the new products Executive Travel has selected as winners of our 2013 Best in Tech Leading Edge Awards.

In many ways, 2012 has been a “tween” year for technology. As I write this, the biggest tech story of the year hasn’t involved a new iPhone or iPad (at press time, talk of a “mini” iPad was still just a rumor) but rather Facebook’s disastrous IPO—a financial debacle that could change the tech investing landscape forever.

Why a tween year? Because many of the tech trends that were starting to shape up at the end of 2011 have yet to arrive in a meaningful way. With global disasters—heat waves, wildfires, floods and politics—consuming the zeitgeist, who had time to look into buying a 3-D TV?

But technology never stands still, and with the imminent arrival of 2013, it’s time to look ahead to the advances that will shape the near future.

Windows 8 Comes to Market

One of the biggest open questions is Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, which was set to launch at the tail end of 2012 and should be widely available by the time you read this. The new OS is arguably the biggest departure from the status quo for Microsoft since 1995, and it’s already shaping up to be a love-it-or-hate-it piece of software. Fans love the all-new approach to apps that makes your PC work more like a tablet or cell phone. But naysayers feel Windows 8 hampers productivity, since it’s difficult to open more than two windows at a time. The jury’s still out, but if Windows 8 is received the way Windows Vista was, it could ultimately close the door on the Windows era and push many to the Mac.

The Smartphone Wars Continue

As Apple continues to push its dominance in the tech world—it is now, by a vast margin, the world’s largest company by market capitalization—it faces new challenges from its scrappier, Android-based competition. Android now has more than a 50 percent market share among smartphones. Apple: just 32 percent, a figure that is going down. Will new Apple hardware and a revamped Siri (an increasingly embarrassing problem for the company) change that? In lieu of something radical, it doesn’t seem so. For now, it’s increasingly an Android world out there.

What of RIM, then? The new BlackBerry 10 OS is delayed, the company is cutting jobs and it’s losing lawsuits and money hand over fist. Still clinging to your CrackBerry? Hold on tight, because it may be your last.

Security and Gaming Push Ahead

Security’s going to be another growing challenge in 2013. A variety of malware attacks made the news this year, and it isn’t just Windows users who got hit. Macs, iPhones and Android handsets all experienced attacks, and everyone’s going to have to pay more attention to keeping their gadgets safe in the coming years.

But hey, there’s some fun stuff on the horizon too. All three major gaming hardware companies—Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo—are rumored to have new consoles on the market in time for Christmas next year. And if Santa doesn’t bring you what you want, soon you’ll be able to make it yourself: 3-D printing looks to be the next big revolution at both home and the office.

See the winners of Executive Travel’s 2013 Best in Tech Leading Edge Awards

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