Tech that rocked 2015 + forecast 2016
Here's a recap of the best, biggest and coolest technology from 2015, and what to expect in the coming year
Smart toys: Sphero's BB8
The Sphero BB-8 is perhaps the smartest toy around, one that learns while interacting with you.Though expensive at Rs 20K, the app-enabled droid, is a smaller version of the droid that features in the new Stars Wars movie, and serves as an example of what toys may be able to do in the future.
Maker's dream: Raspberry Pi 2
The Raspberry Pi2 took a big leap in 2015 making it easier for makers to experiment and make new devices. Also, announced was Intel Curie, but is yet to be available for makers in retail outlets.
Smartphone: A world of luxury and touch
2015 wasn't a year for a particular smartphone as every brand (including newbies) set high standards which will make the next year interesting. Our favourite phones (in no order of preference) were LG G4, OnePlus 2, Huawei Nexus 6P, iPhone 6s Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Asus Zenfone 2.
Wearable gadgets: Pebble Time
Pebble disrupted the wearable gadget market in 2015 with its range of Pebble Time Steel smart watches. They look great, come with long battery life, and work across OS platforms. Next up was the Apple iWatch, but cost and OS limitations restricted its usage.
Virtual reality: Google Cardboard
It's amazing how a simple cardboard box can open so many avenues. Google Cardboard offered an easy gateway into the world of virtual reality, making inroads to product launches (OnePlus 2) and OnePlus cardboard (sold for Rs 199). Even Indian companies like CommonFloor used it to offer a virtual tour of real estate properties to potential clients.
Television gets smarter, cheaper
LED TVs got cheaper in 2015 (thanks to VU's competitive pricing), display got richer with more OLED TVs making their entry (especially the Panasonic TX-65CZ952). The idiot box also became more smarter with LG's Web OS for smart TVs.
Gaming: Microsoft XBox One
We love Sony, but Microsoft's XBox One, is without any doubt, the best gaming console of 2015. It's not only future ready, but also allows you to play older games.
Return of the netbook: Asus Eeebook X205TA
Early in 2015, Asus wowed everyone with the Eeebook X205TA that cost just Rs 14,499 and offers 10-hour battery life. Also worth mention is Xolo Chromebook that cost just R12,999 and offers 8.5 hours battery life.
Portable computing: Intel PC on Stick
Intel PC on Stick has opened several new avenues. The Intel Atom processor is fast and consumes less power. Even though we had some issues, we loved this cutie. It is manufactured in India by Panache (Air PC) and iBall (Splendo).
Wireless audio: Bose SoundTouch 10
Our top favourites in audio this year were BOSE SoundTouch 10 and Creative's Sound Blaster Roar. Bose SoundTouch allows you to stream audio to it using both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, whereas Sound Blaster Roar is just amazingly built and superb in sound, the third spot goes to JBL Pulse 2.
Drones for home delivery
A new e-commerce portal, run by a Bollywood actor and the husband of a former Bollywood actress (take a guess) recently sent out press releases announcing their plans to home-deliver products via drones. Now, was that a publicity stunt or for real, we will know in 2016. Watch this space for updates.
3D printing takes the lead
Pandorum Technologies, a Bangalore-based biotechnology start-up recently announced that it has developed artificial tissue that performs the function of the human liver. Expect news like this to become more common in 2016.
Codenamed Vienna, Blackberry CEO John Chen recently hinted on the company's plans to launch a new Android phone in 2016. We are excited to see what it would be like.
Microsoft HoloLens, HTC Vibe, Oculus Rift and more
Expect virtual reality (VR) devices to get a major boost in 2016. Facebook owned VR company, Oculus Rift, we hear, is working on a new virtual reality headset that is expected to work with XBox and PC. It will arrive anytime in 2016. Also, coming in the market will be the HTC Vibe, which was slated to arrive this year, but was delayed, and Sony's VR set known as Project Morpheus. Microsoft HoloLens kits that combine VR with augmented reality, are expected to arrive in 2016, too.
Asus VivoWatch and Apple iWatch 2
There are rumours of the new Apple iWatch being OS independent. If it's true, you may be able to sync an iWatch to your Android or Windows phone as well. Also arriving in 2016 will be Asus VivoWatch, which comes with a 10-day battery life.
After selling its handset business to Microsoft, Nokia is planning a comeback with a new Android phone, rumoured to be Nokia C1. It's supposed to hit the shelves in the last quarter of 2016.
Card on delivery
With wireless card transactions becoming more secure, and financial start-ups like Paynear and ePaisa pushing their products aggressively in the market, cash on delivery (COD) will be replaced with card on delivery soon.
Nintendo gaming console
The most awaited gaming device of 2016, the Nintendo NX is expected to be launched any time next year. The device is speculated to be a hybrid of mobile and console, and will replace all the existing consoles from the Japanese company.
Massive upgrades of popular mobiles
Things are likely to get heated as smartphone companies compete with each other on pricing as well as features. Some of the updated releases to watch out for are iPhone 7, One Plus 3, LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Xiaomi Mi6.
Arduino 101 for Internet of Things
Arduino 101 board, that combines Intel's Curie (the button-sized SoC) design and Arduino's open source software and hardware to offer makers a new IOT platform.