"The world of tech advanced by leaps and bounds in 2015. Here's a snapshot of next-gen tech we saw this year"As the year draws to an end, we can take a deep breath and truly appreciate how the world of technology has raised the bar for us. Unfortunately, we won’t be stepping into a world filled with silver jumpsuits and flying cars anytime soon. But nonetheless, things are looking pretty cool.
Speaking of Oculus – one of the more renowned names in the VR space – it also launched its Development Kit 2 for developers in early 2015. Back in May, Oculus VR announced that consumer versions of its VR headset – the Oculus Rift – would be shipping in Q1 2016, with pre-orders beginning in January 2016.
Talk about gaming companies, Sony is one of the first to come to mind. In the VR arena, Sony announced a headset that would be compatible with its latest gaming console – the PlayStation 4. Aided by the PlayStation Camera, the PlayStation VR will include a 5.7-inch 1080p OLED display with a 100-degree field of view. The PlayStation VR, announced in September 2015, is anticipated to release in Q1 2016.
All in all, there’s been a huge amount of activity in the VR sector. Be it in the form of hardware, or compatible apps and videos, or even simple things like YouTube and Facebook supporting 360-degree videos, we’re seeing media content become more immersive and interactive, thanks to virtual reality. And this trend will be more popular in 2016, with more content and more avenues for the VR space.
A more prominent example would of course be HoloLens from Microsoft, which makes use of Holographic APIs to enable users to interact with their computers (running Windows Holographic – an operating system enhanced with AR) through augmented reality. The platform was announced in January 2015, and the smart glass headset – the HoloLens – will be released in Q1 2016.
AR presents a new level of interaction in the digital space, and in a way diminishes the boundaries dividing the physical and digital realms. With active developments in 2015, and scheduled launches in 2016, AR will make its way into mainstream gadget space very soon.
Along with smart lighting, come smart devices. Between smart scales, smart plugs and smart air purifiers from the likes of Xiaomi, smart thermostats from Nest and Hive, and support for various smart devices through apps like IFTTT, we’ve seen huge advances in the field of IoT in 2015, and 2016 promises a whole lot more in this regard.
In fact, most of the action may be centered around just fitness and sleep tracking for now, but there's potential for more developments, specifically in coaching and expert advice regarding the stats collected. GOQii is one such company that is redefining the way for wearables and the associated app ecosystem function.
In fact, concepts such as the Lily Drone, Twitter’s recent take on a drone that takes selfies, and Amazon’s drone delivery system actually created a lot of buzz in 2015. So much so, that the FAA in the USA now has regulations regarding the possession of drones.
Microsoft too revamped its voice assistant – Cortana – to make it better suited for Windows 10 devices, specifically laptops. Cortana was also launched as a standalone app for Android and iOS. Amazon launched the Echo – a unique speaker which could interact with the user by simply listening to voice commands.
In India, Micromax has announced a new payment service in partnership with fintech firm TranServ, which will be available very soon to Micromax handset users. This would be India’s first smartphone-based native payments solution.
In fact, companies such as Alphabet are relying on ‘moonshot’ projects such as their self-driving car program to radically change the vistas of automotive technology. Much like how Facebook plans onnattracting prospective investors through VR and Oculus, Alphabet has its self-driving cars to attract investors.
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