2016 has been a year where we’ve seen some major turnouts of technology.
The proliferation of new and exciting features for the gadgets that we know and love serve to make living in the 21st century a whole lot more comfortable.
As this year comes to a close, we’ve also have had some turbulent times in tech – most notably with Samsung and their Galaxy Note 7 fizzling into flames in people’s homes, cars, and on an airplane. Then their washing machines also started to do the same.
GoPro, in their bid to take on DJI, released their much anticipated Karma drone, but that too had problems. Battery issues caused it to literally drop out of the skies, and a recall ensued killing off the hype in a span of a month after its release.
But enough of the doom and gloom, 2017 is coming, so let’s take a look at what the world of tech could be doing in the next year.
Smart Home Devices
The tech war in offices is far too complex for any one company to dominate. In the consumer space though, the home is still an untapped area for tech gentrification.
It’s a wonder why.
Most of us carry the latest mobile phones, laptops, cameras and the like, but the idea of a ‘Smart Home’ and all the devices and tech it entails is still a foreign concept to most.
That will soon change, thanks to the likes of Google and Amazon leading the way.
Long before Google Home was launched as a voice assistant product, Google had acquired home tech companies like Nest to further its reach.
Amazon is slowly expanding its line of Alexa-enabled products with the Echo, and even has a dedicated products page for home innovation, which also includes products by Nest.
Thanks to Apple’s heavy-handed approach to their new Macbook Pro, manufacturer of computer peripherals now have to conform to the fact that laptops of the future will only come with Thunderbolt3 USB Type-C ports.
Expect to see more USB Type-C peripherals and accessories in 2017. Thumb drives, hard drives, card readers, and pretty much everything else.
Google has been pushing USB C-only devices in the past year, with the Chromebook Pixel laptop, Pixel C tablet, and Pixel phones all sporting this port.
Many other Android manufacturers have also seen the Type-C port make its way onto their flagship flagship devices, so for users of those devices, the transition isn’t a leap of faith.
For everyone else though, prepare to swallow this pill if you are looking to upgrade because both Apple and Google have made it pretty clear that this is the path best fit for the future.
This is one area where Google tried, and failed.
Snap Inc though took the concept that is Google Glass and made it retro cool, instead of geeking it out.
The company behind Snapchat finally launched their new hardware simply called Spectacles, and it is one that drew endless queues wherever the vending machine which it was sold through went.
At the back of a successful product, there will surely be others who will release similar products hoping to cash in on the trend, with their only problem being that they do not have the full app integration unlike Snapchat.
Let’s face it, smartwatches aren’t a thing despite it being shoved down our throats for the past 2 years by every manufacturer from Samsung to Apple.
Even the poster boy of Android Wear, Motorola today has said that they have no plans to release another smartwatch. The decline of the smartwatch is here, and companies will be looking elsewhere.
High tech shades are coming.
Still awfully expensive to even be considered by the everyday consumer, at the very least, the manufacturers of the VR headsets which are widely used by enthusiasts and companies exploring the tech are making it more readily available.
The OSVR, a subsidiary of gaming company Razer, is easily available for purchase almost worldwide through the RazerStore.
Earlier this week HTC made the Vive available for purchase in Singapore, and as usual, we have a huge price premium to contend with – S$1,349.00 as compared to the US$799.00 tagged to North America.
The Oculus Rift is still nowhere in sight, but from what was said at their developers’ conference, we should expect to see them coming up with a new headset for 2017.
The end of 2016 brought us a new wave of drones which can be folded down to a size small enough to fit in a backpack.
The Achilles heel of the traditional drone is that their rigid frames, while good for the demanding tasks in serious video productions, isn’t something that the everyday user or content creator will want to lug around.
Fortunately, there are two drones who are out to change this (would’ve been three, but you know, GoPro) before we see off 2016.
First, for those who want the power of DJI‘s full-sized drones minus the bulk, there’s the DJI Mavic Pro. For casual users who are interested in drones but don’t want anything too serious, there’s the option of the Hover Camera Passport.
The drone industry is one where products are heavily-imitated, so don’t be surprised that come 2017, we’ll see every drone company suddenly having a compact folding drone capable of shooting 4K video.
The last one is something that I’m personally looking forward to.
Nokia’s fall from grace during the advent of the smartphone generation is well-documented. Their failure to adapt (by adopting Android) culminated in their eventual sale to Microsoft, who dissolved their mobile division, and stripped the Nokia name off future phones.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Nokia isn’t allowed to manufacture or sell devices for a pre-determined period, and that comes to an end in 2017.
Yesterday in a press release, they outlined their plans to create Nokia-branded mobile phones under a decade long licensing agreement. These new phones will (unsurprisingly) run on Android.
Together with former Microsoft and Nokia executives already on board with this project, they are on course to inject some nostalgia to fans of the brand in 2017.
2017 Is Almost Here
It’s officially 29 days left to the end of of 2016, and in January 2017, we may just catch a glimpse of what the new year in tech will have to offer at the annual Consumer Electronics Show that will be happening.
Time to save up for the new tech toys coming our way.