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For a deeper dive into the topics and technologies covered on Gigaom, check out the latest in-depth analyses on Gigaom Research, our subscription-based research service. This week: the future of hardware design and is Google+ a failure?

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photo: Shutterstock

This week, we wrapped our final conference of the year, with Roadmap in San Francisco (if you missed it, you can catch up with our full conference coverage here). Over the course of the two-day show, a major theme became evident: the rising importance of design in technology products, and the convergence of technology and design. Over on Gigaom Research, our analysts are also tracking these trends, and our latest research content includes a deep dive into the future of hardware design – a rapidly changing landscape responsing to the rise of the (connected) device.

Note: Gigaom Research is a subscription-based research service offering in-depth, timely analysis of developing trends and technologies. Visit research.gigaom.com to learn more about it.

Consumer: Sector Roadmap: hardware design innovation
Haydn Shaughnessy

In our latest Sector Roadmap, Haydn Shaughnessy looks at the “emerging infrastructure of product development and asks whether we have already passed the era of iconic design.” Rather than focusing on a single product, this Sector Roadmap instead analyzes six major trends that hold the potential to disrupt the hardware market in the next 18-24 months. As hardware is increasingly thought of as a device, the convergence of engineering and design, and the rise of new players in the hardware design innovation sector will transform and disrupt this market in the near-term future. Shaughnessy takes a deep dive in analyzing the how the role of design, product validation and the nature of cross-disciplinary teams will shape the future of hardware design.

Mobile: Survey: the mobile shopping apps consumers value most
Phil Hendrix

Phil Hendrix shares findings and analysis from a recent survey of smartphone owners and their usage of online shopping apps to identify “the mobile shopping apps that consumers value most.” As mobile devices become the most important tool for connected consumers at every stage of the shopping experience – both online and in brick-and-mortar stores – Hendrix examines the survey data to identify the four major phases of a mobile shopping experience and, explores the relative value of shopping apps by gauging respondent interest in 20 hypothetical apps spanning the mobile shopping ecosystem. Perhaps more tellingly, Hendrix breaks down these responses to examine how mobile impacts customers’ shopping experience before closing with major takeaways and implications for retailers, brands, and local businesses.

Social: Google has missed the social era, again, with Google+
Stowe Boyd

In his latest post, analyst Stowe Boyd digs in to Google+’s often-questioned usage numbers. While Google has boasted about having 300 million active monthly users, a closer look reveals that a “user engagement” is broadly defined, and that Google+’s active user roster is probably closer to 10 million. Boyd uses these statistics to argue that not only has Google missed the social era, but that in 2014, the company will downplay Google+ and instead acquire other social products or platforms as they try to build more social tools into email, their dominant product.

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