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Coming soon: cool gadgets take shape in 2014

lifestyle Updated: Jan 02, 2014 16:19 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The nostalgia of a year ending tends to give way to the optimism of the beginning of the new one. This is especially true in the world of technology that already is abuzz with new launches and updates lined up for 2014. We list eight that have got us excited.

Leap Motion comes to tablets
This is the year that all that cool stuff we saw in Minority Report (2002) becomes reality. The CEO of Leap Motion has already gone on record saying that the first devices using their gesture-recognition technology will hit shelves in 2014. Once available, users will no longer need to touch their devices to control them since this technology is able to recognise individual finger movements within an eight cubic feet space and respond accordingly.

The virtual currency that allows you to purchase products electronically, caught on in 2013. Canada even saw the opening of what the creators claimed to be the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver that converts bitcoins into Canadian dollars. And reports doing the rounds suggest that New York City could be next to hop on to the bandwagon. In India, exchanges have been forced to shut shop after the Reserve Bank of India issued an advisory cautioning public against use of bitcoins and other virtual currencies. But whether it’s a passing fad or the glimpse into the future only 2014 will tell.

Smartphones with 3G are the norm now while early adopters are already moving on to models compatible with 4G networks. But before you scoff at its utility, applaud its updated information systems. Five operators - Videocon Telecom, Aircel, Airtel, Reliance Jio, and MTNL - have been given licenses to roll out 4G networks and the service is already available in select areas in India, with more key circles expected to be added in 2014.

WiFi zones in Mumbai

We’ve always felt that to be taken seriously as an international city, this was a step long overdue. But now, if reports are to be believed, the BMC has shortlisted five spots in South Mumbai for a three-month pilot project of setting up WiFi networks. In the first phase, towers will be installed at the civic headquarters at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Bombay Stock Exchange at Dalal Street, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road in Colaba, Hutatma Chowk in Fort and Mahatma Gandhi Road. This project should be up before the 2014 elections.

Social media impact
In 2012, the world participated in the first Social Games (London Summer Olympics). In keeping with this trend, in 2014, as the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls, we might be witness to India’s first Social Elections. With the battle to win young voters moving to the virtual world and the recent triumph of the Aam Aadmi Party that managed to appeal to this new demographic, we would not be surprised if the online turf becomes as important as the offline one.

YouTube Music
Just like the Google Glass, rumours about the YouTube-powered super secret music service started doing the rounds last year and its launch was considered imminent by the end of 2013. However, that wasn’t the case. The service, said to be modelled on Spotify and with users having on-demand access to music, is now expected to be made public in 2014. Well, if true, it sure is music to our ears.

Wearable tech
The arms race began in 2013 with smartwatches. Tech experts and early adopters now claim that 2014 could well be about wearable technology. With the much-awaited Google Glass scheduled to go into mass production this year, the iWatch potentially making an appearance, the Fitbit range of trackers out soon and Recon Jet sunglasses with a heads-up display and an onboard sensor suite for sports enthusiasts around the corner, it is time to don the future.

PS4 in India
While the much-hyped PS4 makes its India debut this month (January 6) for Rs 39,990, there are also several major game titles scheduled to release this year. The ones that will get gamers excited include South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Elder Scrolls Online and Mario Kart 8, among others. And unless the mobile gaming industry suddenly implodes, we expect the onslaught of new titles to continue.