Tablets with paper-thin screens that can be folded and tucked into your back pocket, artificial intelligence and augmented reality — the stuff of science fiction may be coming to a store near you.
Some researchers are experimenting with wearable devices, such as Google Glass, a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on eyeglass frames to record video, access email and surf the Web. Others, like Microsoft, are investigating the use of 3-D cameras to create images that pop up when a person calls. Samsung has a concept video that shows a bendable, transparent 3-D smartphone-hybrid tablet that can also be used as a real-time interpreter.
Few of these new technologies will hit store shelves any time soon - companies and researchers are more actively working on touchscreen innovations in the near term.
Why did Facebook buy Instagram for $1 billion?
The price was stunning for an apps-maker without any significant revenue, even when measured by the lofty standards of Silicon Valley, where startup valuations have soared in recent years. It highlights the rising stakes in the social networking market in which services such as Facebook need to constantly excite consumers with new features and mobile applications.
By acquiring Instagram - in a deal announced days after the startup closed a funding round that valued it at $500 million - Facebook may also have sought to absorb a potential rival or at least prevent it from falling into the hands of a major competitor like Twitter or Google Inc.
"Anytime you see a social platform that’s growing that quickly, that’s got to be cause to be nervous," said Paul Buchheit, a partner at the start-up incubator program Y Combinator and a co-founder of FriendFeed, which Facebook acquired in 2009.
"It would be better to have bought Twitter at this stage," he said of Facebook. "So if you’re thinking this could be the next Twitter, it could be a smart thing to do."
Josh Buckley, chief executive of an online gaming start-up, is looking forward to next month’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, particularly for the parties and the accompanying schmoozing with industry A-listers.
There’s one problem: Buckley, who will turn 20 this week on February 22, may be turned away from many of the parties because he is not old enough to drink. His fake ID was recently confiscated, and the two new ones he ordered from a company in China have not yet arrived.
Such are the dilemmas facing the ever-younger entrepreneurs that Silicon Valley investors are backing these days. While little data on the phenomenon exists, venture capitalists say they are funding more chief executives under age 21 than ever before.
Read more: Meet the adolescent CEOs of Silicon Valley
Facebook filed for its hotly anticipated initial public offering on Wednesday, setting the stage for Silicon Valley’s largest-ever IPO.
The world’s largest social network, a dorm room project for Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg that exploded in popularity and vaulted to Silicon Valley’s top tier within 8 years , submitted preliminary IPO documents to the Securities Exchange Commission after weeks of frenzied speculation.
Read more: Facebook files for mega-IPO
Apple’s Steve Jobs directly asked former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in 2007 to stop trying to recruit an Apple engineer, according to a court filing.
In 2010, Google, Apple, Adobe Systems, Intel, Intuit Inc and Walt Disney Co’s Pixar unit agreed to a settlement of a Justice Department probe that bars them from agreeing to refrain from poaching each other’s employees.