KRON4 Spotlight Podcast: Top tech trends to look forward to in 2017

 

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — With 2016 being a big year for tech, 2017 is shaping up to be even better.

From the new iPhone to innovative Samsung phones to new 4k televisions, there is a lot for the consumer to be excited about this year.

KRON4 Web Producer Vince Cestone spoke with Tech Reporter Gabe Slate on what top tech trends people can look forward to in 2017.

APPLE IPHONE 8 10th ANNIVERSARY

One of the most-talked about aspects of the iPhone 7 was the fact there would be no headphone jack.

Some users complained, but Gabe says the headphone jack is still not in the phone’s future.

“I believe they are going to keep going with it,” Gabe said. “This 10th anniversary is a huge deal. People are already talking about it. It will not be unveiled until the fall.”

Gabe also says there will be a huge makeover to the phone. Rumors include that the phone will have an all-glass design, wireless charging, a super high-resolution display, iris-scan technology for security, and a curved screen.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR SAMSUNG?

Samsung started with a bang in 2016.

Their Note 7 came out seven months before the iPhone 7 and had many innovative features. Those include being waterproof, wireless charging, and iris scanning.

“It was the first phone to have iris scan,” Gabe said. “…”This replaces fingerprint.”

But then, just as they were seen as having a smartphone better than Apple’s, there was the exploding battery issue and recall.

The Note 7 recall really hurt the company’s brand in 2017.

But they are expected to be ready to rebound in 2017.

“So, they’re going to come back big with the S8, their next device, because they have to,” Gabe said. “They have to win people back.”

“But if they just make a phone basically like the Note 7 that won’t explode or catch on fire, they’ll be fine,” Gabe added.

VIRTUAL REALITY WILL GET BIGGER

Thousands of developers are working hard to make content that will make you want virtual reality–apps, games, videos, movies, TV shows, etc.

“They really want this content to be something you can’t do without and that you’re going to want it through VR,” Gabe said.

Sony, HTC, Facebook, Oculus, Samsung and Google all have a virtual reality headset out. Samsung and Google’s headsets are under $100.

Apple still has yet to release a headset. Gabe thinks the company will release one sometime in 2017.

Some of the uses of the new technology include medical uses like pain relief, creating a paranormal experience, and gaming.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL GET BIGGER

Amazon’s Echo wireless speaker with the Alexa A.I. voice assistant was a big hit last holiday season.

And more companies are expected to join in on the success.

Lenovo just unveiled one at the most-recent Consumer Electronics Show. It looks just like Amazon’s, with a similar price tag.

Google came out with one last November. Gabe says it is like having all the power of Google at your voice.

You can ask anything, set alarms, order pizza, check sports scores, start a movie, add something to a calendar, or add a note to yourself. The device is basically your voice assistant.

“It’s like an all-in-one, do whatever I say through my voice,” Gabe said.

Apple is expected to roll out an artificial intelligence program sometime in 2017.

And Alexa will be getting a face.

UBTech has unveiled the Lynx robot that walks around with Alexa built-in.

It is the first robot with Alexa.

AUGMENTED REALITY – WILL THERE BE MORE POKEMON GO?

Pokemon Go was a big hit in 2016, and the game showed the world what augmented reality was and what it could do.

Gabe predicts augmented reality will remain big in 2017.

“Pokemon Go broke records, like $500 million off in-app purchases in the shortest amount of time…I think it was like a month,” Gabe said.

Augmented reality is expected to expand on mobile and tablet devices, with a lot more games coming.

And there will be some useful things too.

Gabe says he saw an app that translates menus. For example, when you are traveling in a foreign country and trying to order food, you would pull out your augmented reality app and it would automatically translate the food items when you point at it.

Or, you can point your device at any business store front and the information automatically pops up.

IS IT THE YEAR OF 4K TVS FOR ALL? 

It is almost time for the Super Bowl, and that means it is a popular time for buying a new television.

But Gabe says it was Black Friday that changed everything. 4k big screen TVs were suddenly under $500 on that day.

However, Gabe says right before the Super Bowl is the best time to buy.

AT CES, Samsung just unveiled the QLED, which is coming out in February. QLED is expected to be the next generation in picture quality, leaving 4k in the dust.

But the good news is, according to Gabe, once the new TVs come out, it pushes the price down on the older ones, so a 4k will be affordable.

“So I think the big thing you will see is that people with a 50-inch screen or bigger, that has a really good resolution, that was kind of only the people you knew who were wealthy,” Gabe said. “…Now, it’s kind of like everyone will have one.”

“An overall big trend, 4k TVs are not thousands of dollars anymore. They’re much more in reach of the average Joe between $300 and $800,” Gabe added.

MORE GADGETS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2017

Snapchat spectacles are already sold out and hard to find.

They are sunglasses that have a built-in camera that records 10-to-15-second video clips and uploads them to a persona’s Snapchat feed. It’s like Google Glass but simplified.

Gabe says wireless earbuds will also be big this year. The AirPods are sold out, but Gabe says they might be easy to lose.

Another hot tech item to look forward to–a smart mirror.

Ever have the problem where you can’t decide what or how much makeup to put on? Or you can get it quite right?

The smart mirror will give you beauty tips by scanning your face with a special camera. It also helps you assess skin conditions and give you makeup suggestions based on your facial shape. The mirror will make recommendations on color and type of makeup.

Others products unveiled include a do-it-yourself eye exam (via a $29.99 smartphone app) and a wearable tracker that allows diabetics to measure in real-time their blood glucose without blood extraction.

 

Contact Gabe Slate on Twitter @GabeSlate or on Facebook. You can also check out Gabe’s tech page on KRON4.com.

Follow Vince Cestone on Twitter @Vince_Cestone.

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