Gadgets to buy in 2014, and those to avoid
Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
December 30, 2013
First Published: 14:27 IST(30/12/2013)
Last Updated: 12:06 IST(31/12/2013)
This column started off as a report card for the year that is about to bow out, but somewhere right in the middle of analysing the best and worst of 2013, I gave up.
Techilicious columnist Rajiv Makhni
Enough has been said and written about the gadgets and devices that came out this year (after all, that’s what I did with 52 columns right here), so it seemed pointless to regurgitate that with a new pros and cons list of the same.
Instead, let’s make this a crystal ball gazing of what is to come. Presenting: your gadget future in 2014; the cool stuff to look out for and the gimmicky non-starters you need to avoid like the plague.
My prediction: every household in India and Mexico will own one of these in the next two years and this will outsell microwaves. It’s an aesthetically pleasing little box in which you fill one transparent container with flour and the other with water. Use the touchscreen to tweak and perfect the kind of roti you want and the Rotimatic then goes into ‘living up to its name’ mode.
It’ll mix up the dough, make the atta balls, roll them nicely into shape and out will pop one fulla hua roti per minute.
I expect to have one on my dining table before the year is over.
May well be the hero device of next year if they can get it out on time and it delivers on ALL its promises. This is the device that every family worldwide needs. A simple touch to the forehead in the morning for all and it’ll literally tell you your current and future health. It scans and tells you exactly how you are doing (almost all the vital tests they run if you ever go to an emergency room in a hospital) and uses that data to tell how you’ll fare in the future. A device that may be able to tell you that you may come down with a fever one day BEFORE! What’s not to love?
The euphoria around wearing something that tells you how active you were is going to continue into 2014 and explode. New devices that can do a lot more than track activity are just around the corner. The next Basis band, the next Nike FuelBand, the next Fitbit, plus brand new devices like the Misfit Shine, the Amiigo band and a whole lot of others are all set to make sure that every breathing, beating, living movement of yours is tracked as a number and told to the world. I expect at least one Indian company to finally enter this field with revolutionary new features and make sure that we in India aren’t left out in this campaign to make the world a fitter place.
The India-China not-Bhai-Bhai Factor
Smartphone wars between Indian companies that source from China and Chinese companies that now sell in India under their own brand name will be the source of great amusement and excitement. Nothing will define the Indian market better and you can expect this war to pay rich dividends to you, the consumer. You’ll see fantastic products, great innovation and truly competitive pricing all play out in 2014. At the end of the year, very few of these warrior companies will survive; but those that do will rule the roost for many years to come.
Well, OLED TVs are finally here, but 2014 won’t see them drop in price to levels that make them part of anyone’s buy list. The hot category in 2014 will be large-screen 4K LED TVs. Somewhere in the middle of 2014, you’ll be able to buy a 65-inch Ultra HD TV for HALF of what you are paying right now, and right around that time is when you’ll be able to source real 4K movies and TV programming too. And that’s when the whole big screen 4K revolution will start with a bang.
Most of what I’m predicting is categories of tech, but here’s a device that I think is a serious contender for ‘most wanted’. This is where augmented reality, virtual reality and immersive gaming all merge into an awesome mixture. It’s the first time that wearable tech lives up to the hype as these glasses literally take you into an alternate world, yet are still very aware of everything you are doing. Oculus could be the precursor to a whole new level of technology that will blow your mind, literally.
I’ve written a whole column on these, so won’t go into too many details. Suffice to say that 2014 will see Amazon smartphones make an entry and shake up the market with top-of-the-line specs at bottom-of-the-barrel pricing. Nothing like true sledgehammer-like competition to get the rest of the companies to wake up from their slumber. Amazon phones will be the reason why you’ll see more innovation in this field than any other.
Let’s mark this list quickly as it’s an annual ritual. iPhone 6 (bigger screen?), iPad Air Pro (bigger 12.1-inch screen?), Samsung Galaxy S5 (metal body, leather back?), the Samsung Note 4 (even bigger screen crammed into an even smaller body), the next Nexus phone and tablet (awesome specs, not so awesome form factor, super awesome pricing), HTC One 2014 version (new form factor, even sleeker) and the LG G3 (the successor to what some call the phone of the year, the G2). None of these will be serious ‘game changing made from the ground up’ kind of devices. Yet, these will still command 75 per cent of the market worldwide.
Well, I’m putting this in the cool list but this is more a hope against hope plug than a true endorsement. After the rather horrendous start smartwatches have had in 2013 (Samsung, Sony take a bow), it may once again need Apple to get it right and reboot this entire category all over again. Lots of other companies are also planning smartwatches and most will release them soon, but this is now a laggard category already and will need to be infused with some really cool reasons for people to strap them on. I don’t know of a single person who has bought a smartwatch and has been thrilled. Mildly amused, yes. Passionately excited, absolutely not. Apple, come save this category please.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
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