The first thing that comes to mind when I think of “New Year” are the new tech toys that will be out in the coming months. Today we'll be looking at the new gadgets coming out in 2014 that will be too expensive for any of us to afford.
Probably the most publicised gadget in years, the Google Glass is billed for a late 2014 release. It's already available to people of the “Explorer's Program”. It has brought about much media buzz since it was first announced. Basically a smartphone attached to your head, the Google Glass operates on two magic words: “OK Glass [insert command here]”. Be it taking a simple photo or a video conference, it can all be done on Google Glass.
The much-awaited eye-wear has brought a lot of controversy as well. Some have said that it takes texting and driving to a whole new level and many even think it should be banned. Whichever side of the fence you are it sure as hell costs a lot. Members of the Explorer's Program have said that Google asks them if the US $1500 price tag is worth it. Personally, I don't think it is.
As if we didn't have enough “smart” things, smart watches are the new trend that started the “wearable gadget” trend which influenced the Google Glass. The face of smart watches currently is the Samsung Galaxy Gear with costs a modest US $300 when compared to the $1500 of the Google Glass. Lightweight variants like the Pebble smart watch and Nike Fuelband SE cost $150 each.
Contrary to popular belief, smart watches aren't new. Back in the year 2000, IBM released a watch that ran a Linux-based operating system. Armed with 8MB (that's right, 8 megabytes) of memory, an accelerometer, vibrating mechanism, a fingerprint sensor and 12 hours of battery life, the watch was marketed towards students and businessmen but failed to make much of an impact and was discontinued.
The line where smart watches and smartphones differ is extremely blurred. As far as I can tell, smart watches are made based around the fact that you won't have to keep checking your phone for incoming messages, reminders, etc. so that you won't be rude in the middle of a conversation.
The wearable technology market is THE consumer market to invest right now with Apple and Microsoft jumping on to the bandwagon as well, with the Apple iWatch billed for a late 2014 release.
Valve Steam Machines
Valve's Steam platform has revolutionised PC gaming as we know it and it's about to go even further by taking the fight directly to the newly released Xbox One and PS3. PCs are about to enter the Console Wars officially with Valve's new Steam Machines (also known as SteamBoxes). These machines are essentially PCs running Valve's very own Linux-based Steam OS, and can run an entire host of titles for a fraction of the price of its console counterparts.
The Steam OS prototype has been released publicly for people to download and build their own Steam Machines while the official version will be released in 2014. Price is a factor that changes with each different build and configuration of PCs, but the general aim is for Steam Machines to offer better value than Microsoft or Sony. While decent gaming setups are now equivalent or even cheaper than consoles at times, second-hand parts are a good alternative to build a unit specifically made for gaming.
Watch this space for further info on the SteamBox.
Apple iPad Pro
What's a list of upcoming gadgets without something from Apple? The fact that Apple already owns the majority of the tablet market isn't stopping them from making even more. The iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina display are still the two most popular tablets around. However even Apple can't rest on its laurels as Google and Samsung are both clipping at its heels with many more tablets set for release in 2014.
Early rumours report that the new iDevice will have a 12.9 inch screen, with better graphics and processing power than its predecessors. Many believe that the big screen and more powerful device is a stepping stone towards Apple's move towards the “post-Desktop” market.