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Hybrid laptops and more: The world of technology in 2016

A peek into how the world of technology is likely to pan out in 2016.

brunch Updated: Jan 03, 2016 10:06 IST
Hybrid laptops that can convert into tablets will be the stars this year, predicts Rajiv Makhni.
Hybrid laptops that can convert into tablets will be the stars this year, predicts Rajiv Makhni.

With the new year comes the promise of a bounty of all-new technology. Unfortunately, not every direction tech will take us this year will be good.

Awesome hybrid laptops
This is the golden boy of 2016. Really good laptops that convert to Tablets and don’t have ugly unusable flexible keyboards built into covers. Microsoft has shown the way with its Surface Book. It has a solid magnesium build, great keyboard, brilliant screen, pops out at the press of a button and has an outstanding pen input. Expect more of this from all brands.

Glitches
Put this in as your Google-alert word, as you’re going to hear a lot more of it in 2016. A ‘glitch’ isn’t just a software bug. Glitches were why stock exchanges worldwide got crippled and why thousands of flights were grounded. This is mainly due to the all-new start-up culture of ‘release it NOW, we’ll fix the problems LATER’. This fast-to-market attitude is going to lead to a lot of chaos this year.

Virtual Reality
Oculus Rift, Samsung VR and cameras like the 360fly are all going to be in our hands (and on our heads) this year. It is rare when a technology actually matures properly with hardware, software and content-creation devices all coming together at the same time. Life will never be real again.

Getting real: Virtual reality cameras are going to be in our hands (and on our heads) this year.

4K for real
Those 4K TVs, 4K phone screens and those 4K laptops were all wasted! Not any longer! Now 4K Blu-ray players, 4K discs with real UHD content and 4K streaming movies (hint: I’m talking about one of the biggies coming to India soon), are all set to unleash their awesomeness. Full HD is so 2015!

Read | 2015: The year tablets finally grew up

Bendable screens
It features on tech lists every year as the promised bendable land. This year screens will finally be able to curve and bend and fold. LG showcased an 18-inch bendable polymide film screen device that rolls into a one-inch tube. Many others have shown devices that do similar contortionist tricks.

Bend it like...In 2016, screens will finally be able to curve and bend and fold.

Tech everywhere
Tech features are fast becoming the USP in every walk of life. Ships such as the Quantum of the Sea (The world’s first Smart Ship) and hotels like Yotel in New York (where robots handle your baggage) are proving that technology may well be the biggest selling point for everything.

Secure phones
It’s happening all around us and yet we still live under the illusion that it won’t happen to us. Smartphones are the most easy-to-hack-into device ever built and yet we carry on storing and creating more private data on them. 2016 may well be the year for secure phones such as the Blackphone. The phone runs on PrivatOS, a custom version of Android and this encrypts everything – data, voice calls and everything stored on your phones. It is a wake-up call of epic proportions, so don’t press the snooze button again.

Ad blocking
With Apple supporting ad blocking, the world will be broken into those who want you to see ads while online and those who don’t. At stake is the future of companies such as Google (that simply live on ads) and those that don’t (ecosystem owners like Apple). Eventually, you’ll decide.

3D Printers
Just like bendable screens, this makes a regular appearance on every new tech list and then doesn’t seem to perform. It will, this year. With more printable raw material – get ready to print your first food items, your first piece of 3D chocolate and your first pasta. You might even print your own underwear sometime this year.

Bigger tablets
This is a ‘not-so-good’ trend. After Samsung and Apple, all other Tablet manufacturers will now give 12 and 13-inch screen sizes a shot. A dying Tablet market may see some resurgence before people will realise that a Tablet that is big, heavy and unwieldy is not a Tablet at all. It’s all going to die kicking and screaming this year itself.

More Smartwatches, way too many!
Another unfortunate trend. You’ll see Smartwatches popping up from every nook and cranny. Apple will come up with version two and every other player will come with versions three and four. All these will get a tepid response. 2016 isn’t the year of the Smartwatch. Not even 2017.

Unfortunate Trend: Like it or not, there will be many more Smartwatches around.

Drone lanes and airports
Drones were the biggest trend of 2015. Except you were not allowed to fly one, legally. This year you’ll get drone lanes (areas where you’ll be allowed to fly a drone) and airports (designated areas and air spaces to go and give your drone a real workout). Also, you’ll soon get state-of-the-art drones for less than 20K.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, January 3, 2016

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