What we loved about tech in 2014
Smartphone prices plummeted, 3G became affordable and everyone has finally given up strapping their phones to their arms while jogging for sleek, cutting-edge fitness bands, thank heavens.gadgets Updated: Dec 26, 2014 19:26 IST
We're still way behind the developed world, whether it's high-speed internet or online shopping. And yet, there were a few things that made us happy to be digital natives in good old Bharat this year.
Really great smartphones finally come in at really great prices
Last year our advice to anyone who wanted to buy a top-of-the-line smartphone was this: prepare to break the bank. The good stuff -- the Samsung Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5S and the HTC One -- was priced upwards of Rs. 35,000. One of your few options was the Nexus 5, which packed in powerful guts at a reasonable price.
In 2014, all that changed. Powerful phones with great specs from both Chinese and Indian manufacturers are glutting the market. You can now buy a mid to high-end phone under 15 grand, 10 if you count the endless deals and discounts. No, it won't necessarily be from a Samsung or an LG -- think OnePlus, Micromax, Oppo, Gionee, Xiaomi, Lava, Karbonn, heck, even T-Series, but who cares. You've never been more spoilt for choice.
Indian music streaming services are finally good enough
If we had 5 bucks for every person who admitted to using torrents to download music last year, we'd be rich. This year, that's not true. Let's face it, torrents are not only illegal, they're cumbersome. Most people we know now stream their music off of streaming services like Gaana and Saavn. Both services not only have the latest Bollywood
soundtracks, they're also chock full of old Hindi music, 90s Indipop and most popular American music. They also have really slick apps (take that, Spotify). Best of all, they're (mostly) free What's not to like?
3G is finally affordable (and 4G is round the corner)
Remember how 3G in India cost the Earth when it first launched at the end of 2010? And how crappy the speeds used to be? It took four years, but 3G in good, old Bharat is now relatively affordable for a majority of the users to consider ditching their crummy old 2G plans and is fast enough to stream YouTube in glorious high-definition when they're stuck on that boring Metro ride. Heck, companies are now pricing 2G data higher than 3G data to push them towards the service.
Having usable 3G is nice, but what's nicer is super-fast 4G, which is available in a few parts of the country right now, but will go mainstream next year. Seriously, can 2015 get here already?
Wearables are finally starting to take off in India
This was the year when we finally stopped strapping our iPhones to our arms while running -- and thank heavens because we looked like dorks -- and finally invested in fitness bands. Leading brands like Garmin finally entered the Indian market with its signature VivoFit band, and FitBit, the granddaddy of them all is coming next year. But that hasn't stopped Indian developers from coming up with their own.
Earlier this year, GOQii released a fitness band with an innovative pricing structure: you get the device for free as long as you subscribe to a 6 or a 12-month training programme. And Bangalore-based startup Get Active makes a FitBit clone for a fraction of the price.