Captivating tech trends [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) STYLISH: We can anticipate an avalanche of tech products, apps and services to come our way this year. But which of these innovations will make an impact? The New Sunday Times takes a look at some of the tech trends predicted to captivate consumers in 2014.
IF you can't afford iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S4 or any smartphones for that matter, don't fret. Industry observers are envisaging that the market will be swamped with low-cost smartphones, be it Apple, Android or Windows. Manufacturers working hand-in-hand with telcos will roll out cheaper models with the aim of getting as many consumers as possible browsing the web and consuming data services. The average selling price for smartphones is expected to drop.
4K TELEVISIONS AND MONITORS
Yes, the next big trend for displays after high definition is 4K or ultra high-definition. A 4K television/monitor offers resolution that is four times more than the 1080p HD televisions, similar to the 4K digital cinema standard.
Although it was introduced last year, take up was slow because of the hefty price point. However, things are about to change as 4K- capable TV sets are now available from most of the major TV manufacturers, such as LG, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba, competing to capture the market. 4K models are available in 50-inch and above.
You would have heard about Samsung's Galaxy Gear, a voice- controlled smart watch, Google's Glass, a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display and Sony's wearable HDTV. More of such wearable computers - from smart watches, smart eyewear to wrist- worn activity trackers - are being explored and these devices are expected to be rolled out this year. Google is expected make its wearable Android-powered computer built into spectacle frames available to consumers sometime this year. Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are said to be working on something similar. Wearable tech is anticipated to be the highlight at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas, United States.
This is the new wave in the PC industry. Pushed by Intel, the first generation of two-in-one laptops (tablet-cum-laptop) did not do so well in the market. However, newer models rolled out by PC vendors this year are expected to make an impact with better designs and at lower price points. So watch out for some interesting offerings - Windows and Android-based versions of convertible models - from Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, Dell and many others.
Does Google plan to take over the world with robots? In just six months, Google has bought over six big robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics - an engineering company that designed robots for the Pentagon. The initiative is being led by Andy Rubin - the same person who spearheaded the development of the Android smartphone software. New York Times suggests it might only be a few years before a Google robot driving in a Google car is delivering products to your door. Google has yet to announce why it's buying all these robotics companies - but rest assured - if Google is interested in it, then it's likely that robotics is going to be one of the tech fields to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future.
The quadcopter and its derivatives are poised to be the next big thing in technology - allowing computers and technology to interface with the physical world in ways never before seen. A startling experiment in Orleans, France, saw a swarm of quadcopters constructing a building from foam bricks. Amazon recently announced that it was testing drones for unmanned delivery services to United States homes. The first delivery drones to send items to US doorsteps may be seen next year. You can also own a drone, like the Parrot AR quadcopter, for about RM1,000. This model allows you to fly and take pictures with your own drone with the use of your iPad, from the perspective of the drone itself.
SMART HOME DEVICES
The idea of home automation has been around for many years but had never really attracted consumers in a big way. Perhaps because it was expensive, maybe because in some aspects, it's not realistic and there's yet to be a common standard for smart home automation. But vendors continue to push the idea of smart homes with many new devices and applications. Instead of full automation of homes, more people are expected to use single smart devices to address specific needs in their homes, such as lighting, security, air-conditioning, home theatre, distributed audio, motorised curtains and blinds, and wireless PC networks.
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