A few confessions on what I believe has been a strange internal conflict for the last few days. By the time you read this, I’ll be on an aircraft to Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015. Thus, like it always is, this should have been a curtain raiser for that incredible technology show. It’s not! Also, by the time you read this, 2014 will be but a memory. So, like I always do, I should have written a ‘Best and Worst of 2014’ a week before. I didn’t!
2014 was a great year in technology. Online versus offline gadget retailing became a pitched battle, top-end hardware at rock-bottom pricing became a way of marketing, wearable technology went from the most hyped to the least bought, tablets became a serious headache for manufactures and retailers, laptops made an unexpected but very welcome comeback, smartwatches became the dumbest purchase decision, virtual reality became fun and also got itself a fun name (faceputers), and pretty much all things promised were actually delivered.
Thus doing a round-up of what I’d written about every single week seemed like an exercise in futility. And I will report on CES 2015 in detail in the next two weeks anyway, so why waste a whole curtain raiser on it?
What I really want to do with the coming of this new year is break away from all this typical cliché tech round-up writing that is being done all around us. How about a real look at some technology and some gadgets that will truly change our lives this year?
Top gadgets to wait for in 2015
Windows 10 may not be a gadget but this all-new OS could well be the reason why some really cool gadgets come out in 2015. The new Microsoft Surface could be the best hybrid implementation (if finally Microsoft gets the price right and finally releases it in India), the
will move from a developer product to a consumer one and it’s going to be a doozy, and the Samsung Gear VR may well be the other big one here.
The new Apple Watch will move to reality and should revive the almost-defunct smartwatch category. And, at least one company will come out with a fully-flexible screen device.
The hype and buzz around Google Glass will go lower and Google Glass 2 may get a tepid response. The Apple iPad series will get another update but the excitement around it will be at an all-time low. Also, Apple’s iTV (a TV screen) won’t come out in 2015 either and there may well never be an iTV ever.
Top smartphones to look for in 2015
The smartphone category is such a critical category that it deserves its own space. The usual suspects will fire their usual missiles (the next iPhones, Samsung Notes, HTC Ones, Sony Xperia Zs, LG G series and a whole lot more of those typical flagships). Samsung will arrive with a back-to-the-drawing-board, all-new Galaxy S phone (which has to be a radically new phone, else it’s all over for this series).
But the real excitement will come from other players. Gionee’s next flagship could be a game changer. Micromax, with its all-new brand Yu, could redraw some new lines in the mobile phone market.
Xiaomi will up its game and its way of selling and OnePlus Two could make most established brands very, very nervous. Google’s Android One may become the catalyst to fuel the next half billion smartphones sold with many new product launches and Spice and Celkon seem best poised to take this forward.
Battery life will be the biggest USP of all phones in 2015. Phablets will be the mobile revolution catalysts - they will kill feature phones on one side and tablets on the other.
Top technologies of 2015
The Internet of Things may be a horribly convoluted phrase but in 2015, you’ll start using many gadgets that will make that happen. It’s estimated that by 2018, more than 50 billion devices will talk to each other without human intervention and 2015 will see the start of that.
Other things that will reach potential will be 3D printers (huge drop in price, will become very easy to use), fast high-speed data and net neutrality (the launch of 4G LTE will make 3G a mass-usage product; charging more for Skype or Viber will get shot down [sorry, Airtel]), and Big Data (all our devices will generate more personal data and thus those who can analyse it all will rule).
India and China will dominate because of huge domestic demands, huge production within and new investments and acquisitions. Things that won’t hit pay dirt this year will be robots and artificial intelligence; that’s in 2017.
Wearable tech will show signs of revival but will need another year to truly fire. Battery-powered cars will move to mainstream, Tesla Model S leading the way. 4K TVs, laptops and tablets will get a big boost as 4K media and content will finally appear.
2015 comes with great promise of a great bounty. And whether it will live up to all the expectation will get tested on the floors of CES 2015. The proof of that pudding will start next week, right here.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, January 4, 2015
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