The year 2016 is an important one as far as the tech world is concerned. It is the year that sets the foundation for many groundbreaking technologies that will define the tech ecosystems in the next half decade. In particular, it is the year where a hitherto fictional technology of Virtual Reality has gone mainstream. In the next five years, other fictional technologies including advanced brain-machine interfaces, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence are expected to take shape. This year therefore defines a new era in technology that requires people to own these 5 tech gadgets for 2016 and beyond so that they can feel as being part of 2016 onwards.
5. A proper smartphone
The year 2016 marks 9 years after Apple introduced us to the modern day smartphones, and over the years, smartphone prices have drastically reduced from an average price of shs 60,000 for high end devices to shs 7,500 for smartphones with better features than the then high end smartphones.
Although smartphone prices have reduced by more than 88% over the last nine years, there are many who are still unable to access even the most basic smartphones either because they refuse to, or because they simply cannot afford. For those who can’t afford I understand there is nothing they can really do, but for those of you who think that spending anything more than shs 5,000 in order to own a proper smartphone is a waste of time, I really sympathise with you.
Today you need to own a smartphone that allows you to easily access information so as to constantly appreciate where the world is headed. You need to be able to comfortably read articles such as this one, comfortably watch videos, play games, and be able to communicate online using tools like WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the others. Importantly, you need to have a smartphone that easily understands you and is able to suggest to you things that may be of interest to you. You need to start experiencing the world of Artificial Intelligence by starting to interact with Digital Assistants like Siri for Apple, Google Now for Android, and Cortana both for Android and Windows. Of the 5 tech gadgets for 2016 that you must own in order to feel part of 2016 and beyond, a proper smartphone is a must – and by a proper smartphone I mean a smartphone with at least 2 GB RAM, has 5 or more inches screen, runs on at least a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, features no less than 8 MP rear camera and has no less than 16 GB of internal storage.
4. A proper smart wearable tech
To fully appreciate the impact advancements in technologies in 2016 and beyond will have, you need to be healthy, and to be constantly healthy, you need to constantly monitor your health. Now, a proper smartphone can be able to monitor your health through Apps like S Health, Google Fit, Microsoft Health and a thousand and one other Health Apps, but the problem with smartphones is that they may not be conducive in every health-tracking situation like when running, out in the gym or when swimming. To take full control of your health therefore, you need to own at least one wearable smart device like a smartwatch e.g. the Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 shown above, a smart wristband e.g the Lenovo Vibe Band VB10 or the Pivotal Tracker 1, or even a smart glass like the yet to be released Google Glass 2 probably to be released in November this year.
NB: smart wearable tech like smartwatches and smart wristbands are not limited to health applications alone.
3. A proper smart television set
A TV set has been essential house commodity since the invention of video technology in 1927. As years progress, people adopt different video technologies and for the year 2016 and beyond, no one should own a TV set that has no capability to connect to the Internet, operate Apps, and allow seamless integration with other smart devices.
The reason a smart TV is in the list of 5 tech gadgets for 2016 and beyond is not because it allows for web browsing and what nots, but because content production and distribution is also changing. If your primary reason is to be able to access Internet, then remember even your tiny 5 inch screen smartphone already allows you to do just that. But if you want to enjoy instant global news, watch latest movies, and enjoy top quality sporting, then a smart TV set is a basic requirement. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are already disrupting both free to air and pay TV services where in the near future, news, TV series, documentaries, sports, and movies will watched exclusively online. You therefore need to own a smart TV in order to be ready for this inevitable future.
2. A robotic companion
I have included a robotic companion because where we are headed is a world full of robots – everywhere. Drones are competing for airspace, robotic carts that deliver goods to ecommerce customers are about to start competing with humans for the walkway spaces in major streets, homes are already being taken care of by robots that can wash dishes, clean the floors and make beds, whereas those willing to have conversations with robots are already doing so with robots like Pepper.
You may not be able to afford a high end robot like Pepper or operate your own drone, but there are simple low cost but effective robotic like digital assistants like Alexa from Amazon and yet to be introduced Sony Digital Assistant. However, if you can afford a robot, especially a very smart and upgradable one, then go for it.
1. Virtual Reality Headset
As mentioned in the introduction, Virtual Reality is the technology that set the year 2016 as the foundation for the future tech. With Virtual Reality, people can already make phone calls in Virtual environments, have meetings at places they are not physically present, touch and hold and even have sex with partners thousands of miles apart, watch movies as if they are in the movie itself, and do several other crazy things as I described in the article 5 Big Industries that will totally be Disrupted by Virtual Reality. You cannot therefore claim to appreciate the development of tech in 2016 and beyond and fail to own the most significant of the 5 tech gadgets for 2016 and beyond – a Virtual Reality Headset.
Don’t you worry if you cannot afford the top end Virtual Reality headsets like the Oculus Rift that retails for $600, HTC Vive that retails for $800, Sony Playstation VR that retails for $400 or even the Microsoft Hololens that will retail for $3000 (?). For a simple Virtual Reality experience, there are several Virtual Reality headsets that sell for $200 and less and these include Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, Freely VR Headset, Homido VR, Panasomi VR and several others.
0. Other 5 tech gadgets for 2016 and beyond
There are several other important gadgets that should fall in the list of 5 tech gadgets for 2016 and beyond that space and time does not allow me to fully describe; but it will be worth mentioning that as you continue to live in 2016 and beyond, you should ensure that you fully embrace the idea of a smart home. Owning the above 5 tech gadgets for 2016 and beyond is the first step, but you also need to incorporate the following into your gadgets’ budget:
- Your fridge should be able to remind you that the eggs are running low or better still order for more eggs from the supermarket on your behalf.
- Your IC and/or heating system should be able to know that you are about to arrive back home so it should be able automatically cool or warm the house to the most appropriate temperature.
- Your smartphone’s digital assistant should be able to switch on/off those lights.
- Your door should also be able to respond to your presence e.g. by recognising your smartphone and automatically opens or closes.
If you there is some very important gadget you believe should be in this list, feel free to add in the comments section below.