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2014大展望:三大趋势统治科技界

JP Mangalindan 2014年01月02日

展望刚刚到来的2014年,分析人士认为,贫富差距拉大引发的旧金山文化冲突还将进一步激化,可穿戴设备在新的一年大行其道,而更多科技公司将成功上市。

    约翰•多恩有一句诗很出名:没有人是一座孤岛。这句话用来描述科技界尤为贴切。一家新创的高科技企业、一款新应用、一种新硬件都可能会给整个社会带来实质性的改变。

    新的一年到来之际,我们一起来展望科技界的未来,看看哪些重要的议题将在2014年吸引科技界的注意?

    旧金山的文化战在缓和之前还将愈演愈烈。旧金山过去似乎是美国梦的有力证据,如今却被那些对收入差距不断拉大感到恼火的市民所鄙视。有些愤怒的市民甚至组织了小规模抗议活动。谷歌(Google)的一辆班车就在两周前加州奥克兰市举行的一场抗议活动中被毁坏。随着越来越多的非技术人员感受到房租上涨和就业市场竞争日趋白热化的影响,这种紧张局势预计将在未来几个月持续发酵。Inkling首席执行官马特•麦金尼斯在本月早些时候向笔者表示:“我认为最终的结果将是各群体展开实质性的政治交锋。这可能不是那些煽风点火的人希望看到的结果,但我认为这是未来回出现的结果。”

    可穿戴式设备崛起。(没错,是真正的崛起。)据英国研究机构IMS Research预测,到2016年,可穿戴式计算机设备的市场价值有望达到60亿美元。而谷歌眼镜(Google Glass)等可穿戴设备在2013年趁势狠狠炒作了一把。但说实话,可穿戴设备在2013年的确凤毛麟角,虽然出现了几款产品,例如三星Galaxy Gear智能手表,但功能少得可怜。这类新式计算机设备只不过是为人们提供了谈资的小众商品。至于谷歌眼镜?Box公司首席执行官亚伦•利维近日接受《财富》采访时,直言不讳地表示:“谷歌眼镜任重道远,它离大家的期待还远着呢。”(个人用户版谷歌眼镜根本就还没有面世。)改进版的谷歌眼镜有望于2014年发布,价格在250美元到600美元之间。如果消息属实,竞争对手肯定会迅速跟进。

    更多新创企业上市。Twitter的上市堪称成功,股价目前也达到了63美元,比发行价高出42%,无疑将拉高不少公司对IPO的期待。Facebook和Twitter的成功上市为其它新创企业的上市铺平了道路。杰克•多西手中的公司之一Square是IPO列表中的热门人选。有报道称,在线信用卡交易公司Square 2014年收入有望达到10亿美元。其余有可能上市的公司还包括云存储厂商Box和Dropbox。

    No man is an island, the famous John Donne poem reads. It's especially appropriate for tech, where one new startup, app, or slab of hardware can bring about meaningful change in society.

    As another year winds down for this dynamic industry, we look ahead. What do we think will be the major topics taking up the technology world's attention next year?

    San Francisco's culture war gets worse before it gets better. What once seemed like a booming testament to the American Dream is generating scorn from city residents irked about the growing economic divide. Some are so bothered, they've organized small protests, including one that resulted in the vandalism of a Google (GOOG) bus in Oakland, Calif. two weeks ago. Expect the tension to mount in the coming months as more non-tech workers feel the effects of higher rents and a fiercely competitive job market. "I think the end result will be actual political engagement between the groups," Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis told me earlier this month. "It may not be what the inflammatory people want, but I think it's going to happen."

    Wearables take off. (Yes, really.) 2013 was a year of baseless hype for wearable computer devices like Google Glass -- a market worth as much as $6 billion by 2016, calculates U.K. firm IMS Research. But in truth, wearables remained scarce this year, and those up for grabs, like Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch remain too limited features-wise to be anything but niche conversation starters. As for Glass? "The delta between expectations that have been created and the actual reality shows they have a lot more work to do," Box CEO Aaron Levie told Fortuneearlier this month. (The consumer version of Glass isn't even out yet.) A more polished Glass is expected to hit next year between $250 and $600. When it does, expect competitors to quickly follow.

    More startups take the public route. Twitter's successful public offering -- at $63, it's priced 42% higher than its initial price -- will spur some companies to make good on their IPO ambitions. The recent debuts of Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) have paved the way for other startups to dive into the public markets. Square, Jack Dorsey's other company, may be one of them. The credit-card processing startup reportedly expects $1 billion in revenues next year. Others, including file-syncing competitors Box and Dropbox, may do the same.

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