Will 2016 be the year of Virtual Reality? I think so.
If one thing is clear, it is that virtual reality will create the biggest news this year. We will see Sony’s PlayStation VR (for the PS4), the Oculus Rift, the HTC/Valve Vive, the Microsoft HoloLens and the Google Glass. Technology has already taken over our wrists, and our eyes are next. These headsets will bring about a huge change in the way we consume content. We will no longer need to go to a theatre to watch a movie, because a virtual theatre will do the job. We will play games in first person looking straight through the protagonists’ eyes. We will consume - and produce - content that is not just flat, but that spherically surrounds you in 3D.
But not everything is sweet about VR. The headsets will be too costly to be a common commodity, and the experience will be limited by the amount of VR content available. If 4K took over 5 years to become a standard, VR might take longer. Moreover, the equipment that is required to shoot 360 degree video seamlessly is still not perfect. Basically, 2016 will introduce VR to us, just like 2007 introduced the smartphone to us, and in the coming few years we will see content and adoption grow.
Now, 2016 might also be the year of the revival of small sized phones. Sure, ‘bigger is better’ is the philosophy everyone has accepted, but there is still some demand for great quality pocket sized phones. The iPhone 6C will kindle this movement, by packing the powerful A9 processor into a package that is the size of the iPhone 5/5S.
What about smartwatches? There is no doubt we will see an all new generation of smartwatches this year. These smartwatches will be thinner and lighter, significantly more powerful, will run far more apps and support new, more dynamic operating systems. The Apple Watch 2 will probably stand out this year, with a possible watchOS 3. Android Wear too might see a significant upgrade, supporting new apps and hardware. 2016 will be the year smartwatches will mature into more usable products.
Cars. Like 2015, I don’t expect any drastic change when it comes to cars in our daily lives. One thing though - more and more people will buy electric vehicles. Not just that, we might see Tesla push an all new, more affordable ‘Model 3’ onto the roads that will drastically pull mainstream crowds towards electric vehicles.
2016 will also be a significant year for the internet of things. We’ve already seen a ton of smart home tech and IoT related products in 2015 (and earlier), but 2016 might be the year for its adoption and better integration will services like Amazon Echo, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit and Google Brillo. Don’t be surprised to hear your neighbour saying “Alexa, I’m going to the office” to turn off certain home appliances and lights, lock the door, turn off the gas and start the safety cameras!
To fulfil all of these expectations, I am very excited about this year's tech events:
Jan 5 - 9: Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Las Vegas
Feb 22-25: Mobile World Congress, Barcelona
March 14-18: Game Developers Conference
March 30-April 1: Microsoft Build
April 12-13: F8 (Facebook’s developers conference)
(expected/unannounced) June: WWDC (Apple’s developers conference)
June 14-16: E3
…and many more that aren’t yet announced.
I'll try my best to cover all these tech events in as much possible detail. A lot of boiling hot content is going to be uploaded, so make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Flipboard.
Welcome to 2016.