Technology is advancing rapidly. So it will be little surprise that 2012 will go down as a year that saw technology firm up its hold on the imagination of the U.S. public. Anything from how the election was covered to the way consumers tackled their holiday shopping was influenced by technology in 2012. And next year? That appears to be yet another big year in technology.Here is a look back at the tech trends of last year and look toward what might be the big tech stories of 2013.

Obama’s grip on election tech

Pres. Obama relied heavily on social media to spread his message and reach his core group of younger voters during his historic 2008 presidential victory. This Year, technology again proved to be a powerful ally to Pres. Obama. This time around, Obama was aided by a sophisticated “get-out-the-vote” program dubbed Narwhal. This communications system allowed campaign staffers to frequently contact key voters in equally key states. The end result? Obama’s core of voters — whom many pundits predicted would largely stay home this year — again flocked into the polls. Obama’s commanding leads among African-American, Hispanic and young voters helped launch him to an easy Electoral College victory. Romney tried his own communications technology, a system referred to as Project Orca. While Narwhal succeeded, Orca failed, rather terribly. The program even crashed for a vital chunk of time on election day. No one would argue that technology was the crucial reason why Obama defeated Romney. But Obama’s superior grasp of technology certainly played a role in his election victory. You can bet that future presidential candidates will arm themselves with the maximum amount of technology as possible in coming presidential elections.

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The United States’ growing reliance upon unmanned Predator drones to battle terrorists become an important, and controversial, tech story this year. Drones made headlines in 2012 as they continually killed terrorist objectives. Supporters say that the drones enable the government to target dangerous terrorists without putting soldiers in dangerous situations. Critics say that the drones many times claim civilian lives in addition to those of terrorists. Other critics wonder if the us government may use drones to spy on its own citizens. What’s not debated? That unmanned drones are here to stay.

The coming year

What can the general public anticipate seeing tech-wise within the coming year? More. That’s more consumers embracing mobile computing, switching off their desktop PCs and surfing the Web, sending e-mail messages, texting, reading books, watching movies and listening to music on tablets and powerful smart phones. More includes that consumers will continue to open their wallets for the most advanced technology. Tablets and smart phones were sizzling sellers in the course of the recently concluded holiday shopping season. Count on seeing even more of these mobile devices under Christmas trees next year. And lastly, more means that technology will spread to a growing number of emerging countries. Expect developing countries to flock to social media, laptops and mobile devices as these technologies gradually become open to them. People like technology, irrespective of where they live.

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