Recently Mashable.com revealed what it expects will be the top tech trends for 2014, based at least partially, on what will be happening at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Here are those five in no particular order, and my thoughts. (Remember, these are my opinions, no one else’s.)
The Facts: 4K TV can probably be described as the wave of the foreseeable future in televisions. Not the future, but the short-term future. Just as computer monitors got bigger before computers themselves got smaller (read: tablets, netbooks, Smartphone’s), it’s now the television’s turn. 4K TV is a generic term for the resolution of the screen pixels—4,000 instead of the previously-normal 1080. If you thought Uncle Tim’s big screen projection TV which took up half of the living room was big, wait ‘til you see these bad boys. Samsung and LG are already manufacturing these even more generous TVs which clock in at a whopping 105 inches!
My Take: First, I’m the biggest geek/nerd on the planet. OK, one of the biggest geeks/nerds on the planet. And one thing I always shared with my father and many male friends is a love of gadgets and “boy toys”. But seriously? 105 inches of TV screen? Granted watching the Super Bowl or a Star Trek or Star Wars movie on a 105-inch TV screen would be awesome, but the Super Bowl isn’t broadcast everyday. Besides, with a TV that big, you need the sound system to go with it. And now you’re talking big bucks. So unless you really have a penchant for watching shows like The Big Bang Theory or House Hunters on a screen bigger than your house, smaller is probably better.
The Facts: Tech fashion has been around for decades and oddball companies have been coming up with freaky gizmos you can wear for eons. Do you remember the solar powered radio visor? Just last year, one company introduced the solar powered bikini that recharges your Smartphone while you’re at the beach. Really. I can’t make this stuff up. Well, I could, but I’m not going to. And with technology chips getting ever smaller, you can expect more wearable tech coming soon to your nearest body part. For instance, when I was a kid, I thought Dick Tracy’s wristwatch radio was just about the coolest thing ever. Now cell phone companies like Samsung are pushing a wearable Smartphone for your wrist. Just swipe to answer, like any other cell phone, and talk to your wrist like Dick Tracy. Pretty cool, eh? There are other wearable technologies out there, too. Google Glass, special eyeglasses that project images in front of you, is expected to take off like…well, like Google…this year. And more competition from Nike+ Fuelband will be introduced as more and more people start getting into shape.
My Take: Bring it on! I love, love, love gadgets. And while I think I’ll pass on a solar-powered bikini, adult-sized mermaid tail or t-shirt with built-in speakers, an air conditioned shirt sounds great.
The Facts: Biometrics has, to some extent, been around for a while. My three-year old HP laptop has a built-in fingerprint sensor. But now tech companies are rushing to incorporate fingerprint and retina technology into their devices. The new iPhone5S features retina display. So expect this tech to grow even more in the coming months. It’s a sure thing that fingerprints, retinas and other parts of your body will be scanned to allow access to tech.
My Take: Let’s focus on the “other parts of your body that will be scanned” part. You and I both know guys are going to jump at making that part of their bodies be their penises. And not to be outdone, some women will use their breasts and/or vaginas as their “password.” Can you imagine having to go into the bathroom at work, or closing the door to your office just to access your Smartphone or computer? (I’m getting visuals like crazy on this. LOL!) With this “advanced” tech will come plenty of discussion as to whether it is, indeed, a good idea. And I can’t wait for this type of tech to make it into a movie. Can you picture James Bond walking up to a door at Universal Exports and unzipping his pants so he can, uh, enter?
The Internet of Things:
The Facts: The internet of things is a new buzz phrase, referring to things that are connected wirelessly or through other technology. For example, there’s a TV commercial airing now where a man can turn household items on or off via his Smartphone. Yup, there’s an app for all that. And while Bill Gates has been testing this in his own home for years, technology has become cheap enough to allow anyone to connect their home to their Smartphone. And visa versa. In the coming months it’ll be almost commonplace to be able to virtually see what’s in your fridge, turn the oven on, or download a recipe from your house. This tech has been available on a limited basis in cars, too, but starting this year, it will become much more available.
My Take: Are you kidding? I think this is so cool! I can already adjust my thermostat via my Smartphone so being able to play with other appliances is so frigging cool. Where do I buy a connected fridge??
The Facts: It’s expensive, it takes a lot of time and the printers are so big most companies don’t even have them, let alone most people. Printing something via 3-D is a virtual pain.
My Take: Supposedly, some companies are figuring out better ways of utilizing this technology by manufacturing smaller, easier-to-use printers and scanners. Don’t hold your breath, though. This tech, in my opinion, is far from becoming commonplace. And personally, I’d rather have a Star Trek replicator instead.