The world is now quite literally at our fingertips — be it on our smartphone, tablet or PC. Communication, information, gaming, productivity, entertainment, you name it, and computing devices take care of pretty much every need seamlessly. As we embark on a new journey in 2017, some existing trends will evolve to keep up with natural progression, while some new products will attempt to redefine evolution. We take a look at some developments that are expected to stand out this year.
Nintendo’s forthcoming game console, called the Switch, has a hybrid design—essentially a tablet with two detachable controllers that can be docked on either side. These can be used individually too. In addition, the Switch can be docked to your TV, for the big-screen gaming experience. It is expected to be launched in some countries by March; there is no word on when it will arrive here.
Tesla model 3 and affordable green cars
Elon Musk’s plan of dominating the global mobility circuit rely on the Tesla Model 3. Priced at $35,000 (around Rs37 lakh), this all-electric sedan has a driving range of 215 miles (around 346km) on battery. Production will start in mid-2017.
In India, the Union government’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (Nemm) offers benefits on green cars, to make them more affordable. Carmakers such as Maruti and Toyota will enhance their range of hybrid cars banking on Nemm, while manufacturers such as Hyundai are expected to use hybrid technology in launches in 2017.
Apple iPad Vs Windows convertibles
Apple is expected to add a third iPad Pro to the line-up, which means we will now have three options: 9.7 inches, 12.9 inches, and the new 10.9 inches. There will be more powerful hardware, assisted by new software. This will put it in a good position against rivals such as Microsoft Surface, which is also expected to get a refresh this year, and the plethora of other Windows 10 convertibles. This ties in with Apple’s focus on pushing the iPad Pro as a productivity device that will also be relevant for the enterprise market.
A real Facebook
Facebook is a virtual home for 1.8 billion people globally. In 2016, its news feed faced allegations about bias, and sometimes fake news would trend ahead of real news. Now, Facebook has announced that it is working with third-party fact-checking agencies, operating under Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Code of Principles.
Genuinely smart Android watch
Google will be releasing an update for the wearable platform, Android Wear, this year. And it couldn’t come any sooner. The new software will hopefully streamline the Android Wear platform, apps and options, and make the entire package more intuitive. Android Wear seemed dated once Apple released the new watchOS in 2016. Many a capable smartwatch, such as the Fossil Q Marshal and the Asus ZenWatch 2, suffered because of the poor software.
Cord cutting to your new TV
Netflix, Hotstar, Voot and, now, Amazon Prime Video—these are just some examples of how the way we look at TV is going to change in 2017. With faster 3G and 4G mobile data connections, and improved wired broadband connections for homes, India will finally be coming to terms with a world beyond cable and DTH connections. The advantage is that you will get the content you want, and when you want. No delays, no schedules, and no missed episodes.
Personal assistants, at your service
Personalized assistants such as Haptik (available for Android and iOS) will do pretty much everything for you—set reminders, make dinner reservations, recharge your phone, book a cab, even call repair services. Another example, Wishup (available for Android and iOS), is a premium personal assistant and has different subscription packages (starting from Rs10,500 per month). Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2019, 20% of all user interactions with their smartphones will be conducted via virtual personal assistants.
Digital economy, on our phones
The demonetization move has forced a shift towards digital transactions. Overnight, mobile wallets such as Paytm, MobiKwik and Freecharge have gained traction. These allow users to link their credit and debit cards or bank accounts to the mobile wallet, and pay bills digitally. This year, thanks to government policies, “your phone as your wallet” will be more real than ever before.