The year 2016 was a mixed year for technology with various hits and misses. This year, some exciting new products will be unveiled to tech-watchers. In Tech Mate’s first column for 2017, let us look at the nine launches that I am looking forward to.
The entire gaming console industry is struggling to survive due to the onslaught from mobile phone gaming. Every company worth its salt is trying to come up with innovative solutions to stay relevant in the changing landscape. Nintendo registered its biggest financial loss in 2014. There have been rumours since then that the company is working on a revolutionary hybrid device to shake the market, and recently, it announced Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo’s upcoming game console is designed to offer a completely new experience with a novel form factor. It is a home game console that you can take with you on the go. The hybrid machine comprises the Switch Console, Switch Dock and the Joy-Con controllers. The console features a 6.2-inch touchscreen tablet with two detachable motion-sensitive controllers on either side that can be taken out to be used with TV gaming through the Switch Dock. Gamers can expect a battery life ranging from 2.5 to 6.5 hours. Nintendo Switch goes on sale in March.
The 10th-anniversary iPhone
Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007,and since then, it has changed and evolved radically. In this changing landscape of mobile device industry, Nokia is no longer in the running, Android is the dominant mobile OS, Microsoft is at best a marginal player, and the iPhone is still considered cool. The tech world has been abuzz about what Apple will introduce to mark iPhone’s 10th anniversary. Surely, there is going to be a major redesign. Expect to see more glass, more variations, faster chip, and a better camera with optical image stabilisation. Rumours also have it that the phone will have a curved OLED display with almost no bezel, a long-range wireless charging, biometric security lock, and maybe no home button. Relax, these might just be rumours. Wait until September when all will be revealed.
XBox Project Scorpio
Microsoft has been a major player in the gaming console market with Xbox. Now it has the entire gaming gurus drooling about the Xbox Project Scorpio. The console is hyped as the one to create a big impact on the market. It boasts of a spec list that will blow your mind. The foremost is the heart of the system. It will be powered by eight-core AMD CPU cores will deliver six teraflops of computing power. Other features are true 4K Gaming, 320GB memory, and high-fidelity virtual reality experience. Project Scorpio is believed to come out by the end of 2017.
Tesla Model 3
In early 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Model 3 and created history. One week after the unveiling—at the end of March 2016—Tesla reported more than 325,000 reservations, which corresponds to about US$14 billion in potential sales. Model 3 was introduced as an all-electric four-door compact luxury sedan with a range of at least 215 miles (346 km) and a base model price of US$35,000. The positioning of the car and the showmanship of Musk made automobile enthusiasts go crazy and this is reflected in the reservations numbers. Model 3 promises to combine real-world range, performance, safety, and spaciousness into a premium sedan that only Tesla can build. This is Tesla’s most affordable car and is designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category. The first deliveries are expected to begin by the end of 2017.
Samsung Galaxy S8
2016 was a year that Samsung would like to forget. The bad market garnered by Galaxy Note 7’s exploding batteries is something the company wants to put behind. Trust the Korean giant to come up with devices that are innovative in features yet practical and bound to win the hearts of technology enthusiasts. Galaxy S8 would be the first major product launch from the company after Note 7 fiasco, and I think Samsung would want to assure the market that it is still miles ahead when it comes to design and engineering. There are many rumours floating in the market as far as S8 go. On the hardware front, it will have a bezel-less display, a better camera, and premium material. It is also expected to ditch the home button and headphone jack. It will have a flavour of Android 7.0 Nougat, a Siri-like virtual assistant, and its own version of inbuilt Health app. So watch out for this device.
The next Samsung Galaxy Note
This will be the most keenly watched device of the year. Samsung is soon to go public with the results of its investigation on Note 7’s notorious battery. Trust Samsung to learn from this fiasco and come up with an even better device. As of now, not much is known about the specs, but it might have a 4K resolution and emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) and VR features.
Doppler Labs Here One
There have not been any truly revolutionary changes in the engineering design of headphones. Apple recently introduced AirPods, which were something new. And now Doppler Labs is soon to launch Here One—wireless headphones with active noise-cancellation function. This stunning little gem has two smart earbuds and a connected app that lets you stream music, take phone calls, reduce unwanted noise, amplify speech, access Siri and Google Now, and do much more. You can selectively choose what you want to hear and remove what you don’t, using the Smart Noise Cancellation feature. If the reviews on the internet are to be believed, Doppler Labs has a winner!
Google Pixel 3 Laptop
Google seems to be in love with Pixel branding. The industry is now abuzz the tech giant is about to debut a brand-new OS that will be a combination of Chrome OS and Android, called Andromeda. To showcase this OS, Google is working on a new device to be christened as Pixel 3. Reportedly, teams of Android, Chrome OS, Android, and Pixel have been working on this project collectively for quite some time, and we might see the culmination of this collaboration in 2017. Expected features include a ultra-thin laptop with a 12.3-inch display and some innovative hybrid mechanism.
Android Wear 2.0
2016 was not exactly the year of wearable devices. While Apple released Apple Watch Series 2, Android did not introduce its next version of Android Wear. This year, though, Google will release Android Wear 2.0 OS sometime in February. Soon after that, all major manufacturers will release their devices featuring this OS. LG might be one of the first to introduce two models—the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. The biggest feature of Android Wear 2.0 is the ability to install apps directly on the watch. So there will be a standalone Wear Play Store and you would be able to install apps without accessing your phone. The watch will be able to interact with the phone through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi ,or cellular.