Gadget Trends For 2021
With 2020 being a totally different year from the one we expected, only the most psychic of us could have predicted correctly which gadgets would dominate it.
However, with the huge hope that the rollout of the coronavirus vaccines will allow us to return to some level of normality this year, this in turn could see the tech landscape also get back to normal.
While much of the new offerings will turn out to be novelty – we’re not entirely convinced that interactive contact lenses and smart clothes will take off just yet – it’s tech that solves the problems we face in 2021 that is likely to win out.
So here’s our predictions for the trends that are set to emerge over the coming 12 months.
Expect a phone screen revolution
Spurred on by a fall in year-on-year spending on new phones, phone manufacturers are on the hunt for the feature that prompts us to upgrade our phones. And it seems they’re betting that it’s improved phone screens. We now have the folding phone (as with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the Huawei Mate X), which makes them more compact for their screen size. While some go hard on the functionality of a dual screen, like the LG Wing, which can swivel one screen to landscape mode. This allows cyclists to keep their navigation on, or, for those who like to multi-task, the ability to view a programme on one screen, while checking email or WhatsApp with the other. Expect to see these types of phones become more popular in 2021.
Video tech will get smarter
When we return to the outside world, it seems that most office-based companies will facilitate a hybrid model of working, where employees work from the office some of the time, and from home for the other part. So if you haven’t got on the video conferencing game, now’s the time to start. In a bid to dominate the market, expect the top four players in video conferencing tech – Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet – to roll out features quickly to give their app the edge. Zoom, for example, are set to introduce email integration to join with their messaging and video calling offering, as well as integration with Asana (project management software) and Dropbox (document storage).
Phone chargers will be a thing of the past
It’s all Apple’s doing, really. Since the iPhone 12 stopped including the charger in the box, Samsung are set to follow suit, and others too most likely. That means the market for separate chargers will increase dramatically, so expect it to be the accessory of 2021. In particular, we’re predicting a larger range of wireless charging products, as these allow us to use different phones interchangeably without worrying about their charging port. You can already find side tables and bedside lamps with wireless charging so expect the range of items with charging capabilities to expand further.
AI will aid more aspects of life
If we thought talking to our televisions was a watermark in futuristic tech, we’ll need to expand our minds further: artificial intelligence is progressing speedily and will continue to help us go about our daily business. This year will see more gadgets and apps than ever offering time-saving things like translating languages effortlessly or tagging our photos and videos. And they’ll be more intelligent too. Not only will they get it right more often, but they’ll also fine-tune themselves for our specific needs. For example, there’s now noise-cancelling headphones for runners and cyclists that don’t filter out traffic noise for extra safety (hello Redux earbuds). The future is now.
Gadgets prices will hold steadier than expected
It wouldn’t be unexpected, given the year we’ve had, for gadgets to become more affordable for all. We’d already started to see better value for money, as with the 10th gen Kindle for £60 and Samsung’s Galaxy Fit 2 wearable for £39. But it seems affordability will be partly offset by extra supply chain costs that were initially caused by coronavirus and Brexit. So for now, prices look set to remain steady.
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