Stuff’s Expectations for 2016

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Stuff‘s not equipped with any crystal balls (stop sniggering) but we’ve all spent enough time in the presence of technology that some sense of where it’s going in the near future has passed from the tech itself into the brains of Stuff’s staffers.

This is the first part of our collective crack at it. What we’re expecting from 2016, what will be big and what will be less-so, and yes, a few more speculative looks at the immediate future of technology in South Africa… and the world.

Wearables

Apple Watch FrontWho would have thought, a few years ago, that wearable technology would have taken off to the extent that it has. Yet here we are, with a wearable for just about every taste and, more importantly, wallet.

If you’re a fitness nut, you’re covered. If you just want to move around more, we can do that too. If you’re looking to extend your smartphone onto your wrist, that’s also a thing and you do. And you can more or less choose what you’re going to pay for these additions to your tech life.

In 2016? People making calls and taking photos with their smart wristwear is just the start. If you thought people taking selfies with smartphones were annoying, brace yourself. Anyway, smartwatches and other wearables should be getting more advanced and a lot more varied. Since TAG and Fossil are getting into the game, life’s about to get interesting.

Smartphones

Samsung FlipBigger, better, stronger, faster? Momentum on smartphones is slowing down and we’re going to see them going the way of the desktop PC. That’s not going to be in 2016 though, that’s more of a longterm thing. Just you watch. In 2016 everyone’s going to go bonkers, with more power in smaller packages and loads more RAM to back it up. How do we know this? Because Samsung, who makes a fair quantity of the world’s mobile RAM, has been very busy of late.

Your smartphone might have 12GB of RAM before you get around to increasing the allocation in your notebook. As far as Apple goes, we’re expecting them to generate less interest when it comes to news, leaks and events. Oddly enough, it’s not going to make a damned bit of difference to their sales because they’re still going to sell brain-bending numbers of devices. The cult is strong, and there’s no reason to believe it’ll weaken next year.

Smarthome

August SmartlockSmarthome tech in 2016? It’s going to be big. Smarthome tech in South Africa in 2016? Er… a little less so. The truly interconnected smarthome is still waiting in the wings and it’ll continue taking a back seat in the coming year. Until there’s a standard that’ll let different devices from different manufacturers play with one another seamlessly, few people are going to spend the money or time required to smarten up their homes. Sorry. We have, however, been wrong from time to time (like, once, back in 1993). So as pessimistic as we are about the South African smarthome’s prospects, we’re (not-so) secretly hoping someone proves us wrong.

Virtual Reality

Project-Morpheus2Now we’re asking the big questions. The Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, Sony’s Project Morpheus, they’re all supposed to be hitting the market in 2016. Hololens should also be getting closer to launch. But we’re looking at an unproven technology, as far as the commercial market goes.

So, no matter how excited Stuff might be about the pending rise of virtual reality, it’s going to come down to all the people who will support the tech in a giving-it-money and developing cool-things-for-it sort of way, and from what we’ve seen there are plenty of people willing to do both. Hurray!

 

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