The Techie 2017 Vol. 1
So I’ve decided to have a bi-annual series where every half year or so I blog about emerging tech around us and a little about future upcoming trends in the industry. We’ve seen a lot of amazing stuff so far this year, but here’s the top 5 in my list:
1. True Wireless Charging
For some reason this is not as hyped as it should be and this tech definitely deserves a lot more attention than it currently has. So, the first instance of this came about 3 years ago, when a company by the name of Energous started talking about wireless charging. Not the induction kind, but the kind where they actually beam power to your device. The concept consists of a charging station sending out RF waves in a focused beam toward a compatible device. A chip in the gadget then converts the waves into direct-current electricity. This “rectification” process isn’t new, but Energous’ claim is it’s able to do it efficiently enough to make sense for charging small devices like wearables and phones. Cue in the health concern. So, the RF waves are similar to what you would use in routers or bluetooth devices and are harmless. BUT, they are still able to charge small devices. The idea is trickle charging, where your device can be anywhere in the room and continues to charge very slowly, but just fast enough for it to actually get charged. While this technology, in essence is brilliant, it is only advanced to a stage where it can charge a few inches from the station. The long term goal, is a range of about 15 ft.
2. Samsung Galaxy S8
There is no way that any tech article in 2017 would be complete without mentioning this device. It is undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful pieces of tech I have seen in many years. An even though it was always Apple making the stylish and well designed tech, I think Samsung has beat them by a huge margin with the S8. What makes this phone a beauty is the long bezel less ‘infinite display’. Now though many brands may have claimed to make bezel less displays in the past, this phone has truly materialised that concept. Now apart fro the display, there’s not much new happening inside the phone. The S8 now features Bixby, Samsung’s own AI for phones. Though, I don’t see it ever being as widely used as the google assistant, Siri or Alexa for that matter. Another, unique feature is Facial recognition and an Iris Scanner along with the fingerprint sensor. Though they may seem fancy, but these can be easily bypassed with pictures. What you require is true facial recognition which (according to rumours) will be featured on the upcoming iPhone Edition (the iPhone 8 as you would have called it) which will actually construct a 3-D model of your face.
3. LG Signature W-Series “Wallpaper” TV
TVs have come a long way since their conception back in 1927 when they used CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes). We’ve now come to the age of Organic LEDs which are much more power efficient and have the best black levels. OLEDS have allowed us to cut, curve, bend and pretty much do anything with our displays. And TVs have continued to become thinner and more vibrant with higher resolutions. But TVs are’t just a piece of tech these days. They’ve become a part of your home decor. People choose TVs as they would choose furniture, and that has led to consumers demanding eye-popping displays that would blend seamlessly into their living rooms. LG then came up with the Wallpaper TV. Its essentially a very thin, 65 inch, $8000 OLED TV which gets mounted on your wall and practically appears like a wallpaper. Imagine the pen you may be holding in your hand, it’s thinner than that! It is exactly 2.57 mm thin, which is extremely thin by the way. The secret to this thinness is ‘external internals’. What they’ve done is completely remove everything that you usually find inside a TV, including the speakers and ports, and created an external hub out of it. So all the ‘TV’ becomes is really just the OLED display while the hub becomes a centre for all your media playback devices and even a great pseudo surround sound system.
4. Nintendo Switch
The latest gaming device release by Nintendo called Switch came out in March as a Handheld + Console in one gaming experience. The concept is that you could play your console games on the go on a handheld device which turns back into a console when you need it to. While this isn’t any sort of revolution in the gaming industry, it does manage to introduce a completely new way of gaming which we may see take off in future years. One should note that this device is not intended for hard gamers. In fact Nintendo has always created devices which are family friendly or can be played in social groups. The Switch is no different and can accommodate up to 4 controllers in the handheld mode itself. Now, while this is not a tech review, I will say that the controllers themselves are very thoughtfully designed. They are small enough to be used in the handheld mode but their modular-ish nature allows them to shape into perfect (well not perfect) controllers for the console mode.
5. Apple iMac Pro
Apple just launched their flagship iMac Pro on Monday at the WWDC and it appears to be one of the most powerful machines I have ever seen. Its honestly as if Apple is saying, ‘We Now Sell Supercomputers’ (for unjustified exorbitant prices but you still buy them from us). The machine is a 5k display, 128 gigs RAM, 4 TB SDD, 18-core xeon processors (up to 22 teraflops!) and high end radeon graphics space grey Mac featuring a thermal cooling system with 2 fans. Phew! It also has a new space grey keyboard and trackpad to go with it. The iMac Pro also features a 1080p FaceTime camera and real-time 3D rendering. The catch is the whopping $5000 price tag (which is the entry level pricing). Of course the beast of a machine is made to cater only to professional videographers and designers with processing power intensive applications. Overall, it’s pretty much the all-in-one Desktop Computer of the year.
Honourable Mention: Quantum Dot Display
The quantum dot display or QLED as it is commonly known, is the latest in display tech by Samsung. It’s not an upgrade over the OLED, but in fact competes directly with it. The QLED works on the old LCD backlit display system but promises more brighter resolutions. But like every backlit display, the black levels of the display are not as great as on OLED which has a much more vibrant display. The selling point for the QLED is the LCD itself which use Quantum Dots. These are nanoparticles that emit or alter light at different frequencies when exposed to electricity. This light-tweaking can produce more precise colour in a wider range than the LCDs illuminated by white LEDs can (as done in traditional LED TVs). While a wider colour gamut is beneficial, the QLED display has the disadvantage of not being able to be cut or curved. The QLED TVs will also be much thicker than an OLED TV and also be more or less equally priced as one.
And that’s all.