January 21, 2016
Are you a lover of the latest technologies that spring up each year? Are you one of those early adopters of leading edge techie people who take advantage of new technologies to stay ahead of the competition or do you love new tech just because it’s cool? Every year there are advances in technology. This year is no different. Some of the technologies we will talk about in this issue are revolutionary breakthroughs, others are technologies that are maturing to the point that their cost and usefulness are creating demand. Some of the items we will talk about are showcased at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. So if you’re ready to learn about many of the latest cool gadgets and inventions coming your way, read on and discover what’s new in tech this New Year.
Move over Jetsons, it’s our turn
Many of the products we buy use ABS braking, Eco boost engines and much more. Yes, many takes these features for granted, but the latest technologies in Smart cars include touch screens, onboard Wi-Fi, auto piloting via GPS navigation, Satellite communications, Internet movies, Internet enabled heads-up displays and much more. So what about the all-electric or even self driving cars? At this year’s CES show, Chevy introduced the all new Bolt, a $30K, 200-mile range EV you can buy now. It’s like a small SUV with tons of cool amenities. This could be a game changer for Chevy and the US car industry.
Technology always gets better and more feature-laden. This is especially true for automobiles. Standard features in cars today often include Bluetooth controls and connection to your smartphone and stereo system, backup cameras,
And you though 4k TV was Cool
Now this was hands down the coolest piece of tech at CES this year: a TV screen you could roll up like a newspaper. This tech is still in its infancy and is not slated for release anytime soon, but the fact that it was being showcased as a functional TV screen bodes well for the future. Last year and even this holiday season, retailers where all touting 4K and 3D TV as the king of the hill, right? Well move over 3D and 4K is already considered passé! At this year’s CES we saw the introduction of 8K TV’s and 100 inch curved screens. New this year was the introduction of HDR or high dynamic range, which produces a wider color palette, brighter, sharper and more realistic images. When this is added to 4k or 3D (or maybe even 1080p), the images become richer and more realistic. This new feature may be just the thing (along with lower prices) to get consumers rushing to upgrade their home TV viewing experience. The only real drawback I see in the whole 4K – 3D – HDR upgrade movement is that the movie makers are slow to release new 4K content and without that, the upgraded experience is minimal. Other important trends of note are the smartification of all appliances, especially TV’s. Soon your Smart TV may just replace your computer system.
Drones Multiply and Get Smarter
Drones have been in the news for the past few years. And, this holiday season, drones were high on many gift givers lists. At this year’s CES, drones got their own demo test field and were a highlight of the Consumer Electronics Show.Many drones showcased new features like upgraded payload capacity, better video, longer flight times and much lower prices. Many new drones also showed off autonomous functions, including “follow me flight”, pre-programmed GPS flight paths, memorized flight programs and some new safety features that are designed to sense and avoid obstacles. This also makes them easier to pilot. Other safety features include flight stabilization and better/easier to use controls. A Chinese company even introduced a drone that can carry an adult. It’s called the EHang 184 passenger-carrying drone and is capable of lifting a five-foot-tall 500-pound passenger on a 20-minute flight. All they have to do is enter in the GPS coordinates that are within the vehicle’s range and off you go. My take on this year’s swarm of drones is that the lower price tag and upgraded features will make these devices as ubiquitous as kites on a breezy summer day.
Virtual Reality Goes Main Stream
Virtual Reality is not new, but it is pretty cool. And thanks to the latest technology, it appears it’s time has come to go mainstream because several manufacturers are now producing retail products that are not only affordable (some of them like the PlayStation VR at $99) but actually work well. HTC,Oculus, Sony PlayStation and Samsung have all released new models this year. Some of these devices also use your smart phone for 3D viewing. Others are designed for specific platforms like the Sony PlayStation. Of these new devices, I think the Sony will be the most successful, partially because of its large user base and also because of its price point. One of the drawbacks preventing VR technology from really taking off is the lack of content that is currently available. So who do you think will be jumping into the VR pool? None other the Porn industry, the industry that made the Internet grow and flourish in the first place. An article/video in Mashable by Raymond Wong reviews a contentproduct by one of the U.S.’s largest porn movie companies called Naughty America. In his article, Wong states that’s this new VR porn is, “scary how realistic it is. Apparently Futurist TV showz like Babylon 5 that portrayed VR sex in their show will now have their real life digital version coming to a VR screen near you.
Wearable Launch their Next Wave
This year takes wearables to the next level. All the major manufactures launched their latest and greatest creation hoping to catch the consuming public’s imagination and attention like the Apple Watch did a while back. Intel created new chip technology to help spur on the development of these devices. All the major players launched new products including Fitbit, Basis, Misfit, and newer players like Under Armour, Fossel, Tag Heuer, MICA and Casio’s have jumped into the fray. Fitbit launched what seems like a cross between a sport fitness tracker and Apple-like smart watches. Called the Blaze, this tracker is touted as an upgrade to their very popular Charger HR. It features a stylish metal smart watch looking case and color screen. It looks like Fitbit borrowed features from Garmin’s Vivo Active and Apples Smart watch and rolled them into a slick looking fitness smart watch that will go 5 days on a single charge. It’s too early to tell if this will be the Apple killer they are hoping it will be, especially since they now have a class action lawsuit pending on the inaccuracies of their wrist-based heart rate technology.
Digital Devices get a Makeover
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other computing devices all got a little something extra as Intel and other chip manufactures recently released their latest processor family. Things keep getting thinner, faster and more feature rich. Many manufacturers are finally incorporating solid state hard drives (SSD) into their computers and laptops. This addition, along with new processors, memory and better batteries have increased run times and performance of these computing devices substantially. Samsung, HP, Dell and Lenovo seem to be leading the way with convertible tablets that provide high-end performance in portable devices.
Netflix and YouTube make a Big Move.
Netflix announced a major expansion into world markets. Netflix is one of the first pioneers to bring video content on demand to the US viewing audience. Like the way the proliferation of cell phone coverage and usage reduced U.S.consumer’s dependency on the Baby Bell monopolies for phone service, Netflix has altered the landscape of the TV viewing public forever. There is no doubt that their model of low cost access to on-demand content ushers in significant changes to our viewing habits. Their success has forced many of the current cable, wired phone and satellite companies to alter their programs just to compete. Now that Netflix is expanding their operations to include the world, their expansion will change the domination of the video playing field forever. Google on the other hand was one of the first to provide free content to internet users. YouTube pioneered webcast and web TV shows and now they are starting to cash in on their long term efforts. Not only do they have a buy/rent portal like Amazon, Vudu, Hulu and others, they have contracted with established content providers who already have an audience on YouTube. Now they are also launching a Netflix type service where you can watch video content without ads. Unlike Netflix, YouTube has been worldwide as a Google product for some time. Companies that are first to market usually gain and keep the market share for a decade or two. In the 70’s through the early 2000’s, cable companies had a lock on the top content like HBO, Starz, Cinemax and other. If you wanted to see first run content, you had to pony up to either cable or satellite TV. Today, all you need is an internet connection and your choices are greatly expanded. Gone are the days of having to sit through endless commercials or having to purchase bundles of program content that you neither watch nor want. If you thought Netflix and YouTube started a revolution in the mid 2000’s – wait till you see the changes that are on the way.
Technology will continue to evolve as long as we have civilization. This year’s new technology is inspiring as it has shown technological leaps in capabilities and increased access because of its lower cost. This article covers many new items announced at this year’s CES. Overviews of many of these new technologies are provided below with links to other articles that as well.
Hector Cisneros is the president and COO for W Squared Media Group LLC. A digital Marketing Agency in the N.E. Florida Area. He is also the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio Show Working The Web To Win. W Squared Media also does Business as Working The Web To Win online and in Florida.