It’s just a couple of days to the end of 2012. And during the year, a lot of things went down in the world of technology, and a couple of them struck me as awesome, so here’s a rundown of all the cool things I can remember that I used or came across in the last twelve months.
The Samsung Galaxy S3: Where do I start, with this beast of a phone? And I mean beast literally, first impressions for me (and loads of other tech heads I bet) was “what an ugly thing”, then i got hands on time and started playing with it and the next impression was “what a powerful beast”. you can still argue that its one of the best android phones yet…It’s great phone. You can peep my full review here.
The iPhone 5: Great design…and that’s an understatement. Very few companies, large or small make hardware like Apple does and while the iPhone 5 isn’t a radical departure from the normal iPhone, some how they manage to make a great design greater. There are a few software hiccups, but it’s definitely the best iPhone yet. See review here.
The lumia 920: It’s different. Its loads heavier, sports a truly radical design on the outside, and packs a radical OS, windows phone 8. Its a different take on mobile, time would tell whether its hit or miss generally, but if you like technology and the finer details of how things work, between the suspended lens in the pureview camera and wireless charging, there is a lot of great technology bundled into the device. See my impressions and hands on here.
The Nexus 4: I haven’t spent quality time with Google’s newest nexus device, but on paper, LTE (which is useless here anyways) aside, its one of the most rounded devices ever made. More about it here.
The Surface Pro: This isn’t out yet per se, but the idea of it is brilliant. Full fledged pc with a full HD screen, full Windows 8 experience on a mobile device with no compromise. (almost). Check out our surface review here to get an idea of what the surface is like…then add the full windows experience.
Android Jelly Bean: Android has always been a great experience…Fat lie! Android’s almost always been really bad, At gingerbread, was the first usable version (in my books), still had a lot of bugs, then Ice Cream Sandwich landed and we finally began to experience the greatness of what android could be…much smoother, more human friendly, more features. Enter JellyBean the one that finally shows how awesome android software is meant to be, not the buggy overly hardware reliant, power-sucking OS but software level efficiency and buttery smoothness. Android is not there yet, but JellyBean is many steps in the right direction. Peep this Jelly bean 4.1 review and also see what’s new in 4.2
Windows 8: We all knew that at some point, Windows had to change to keep up with technology as it is today. Windows 8 is the beginning of that change. While I still have gripes with windows 8, It does quite a bit pretty well and is mighty good to look at. It is pretty hardware efficient too, in fact, the first cool thing i noticed was gaining 43Gb after an upgrade from Windows 7 Pro.
BlackBerry 10: BlackBerry’s next generation OS BlackBerry 10 while not out got announced this year. In RIM’s word’s “it’s not just an operating system, but a mobile computing platform”. With this try, RIM is trying not just to catch up with other operating systems, but change the way we interact with mobile devices from what we know today. While not all of it is out there for us to explore yet, I have probably written more BlackBerry 10 posts than anyone else in the whole of Africa so peep the indepth look at BlackBerry 10 which i wrote seven months ago which still gets validated with every leak we see and also peep look through other BlackBerry 10 articles.
Phorce: While this is still in the kickstarter stage (in fact it just reached its funding target a couple of days before Christmas), the idea of it is pretty awesome. Phorce is a stylish, waterproof “smart” bag which can be carried either as a backpack, shoulder bag or briefcase, but that’s not even the cool part. Phorce also packs a rechargeable battery that charges your devices on the go. On one charge, it would charge an iPhone 8+ times, a retina display iPad once, a samsung Galaxy S3 six times and will power your retina display 15-inch Macbook pro for 3.5 hrs extra and can charge three devices simultaneously. Pretty awesome no? but there’s more. The bag connects to your smartphone via bluetooth to keep you up-to-date with regards to its battery levels and It also wouldn’t let you misplace it while connected as it will warn you when you stray away (or when someone is straying away with it…without your permission. More on Phorce here.
Smartwatches: With everything getting connected, it only made sense that watches would get connected too. 2012 was the year that that sort of happened. There are quite a few of them out now, some serve as extensions to your phone (letting you control your smartphones, and see notifications and some go the extra mile and let you download and install watch specific apps, here are the best 5 for you to check out: I’m Watch, Pebble, cookoo, Sony SmartWatch and WIMM One.
The QNX smart car: While RIM is popular for BlackBerry devices, they actually have other products out there. The operating system QNX which is the foundation on which BB10 is built is used in so many systems and industries. One of such industries is in the automobile infotainment systems. To demo their next generation QNX car OS, they fitted two cars with the new system. Basically, think of your tablet’s OS, in your car, implemented in a safe manner.See the video below to get an idea of how cool it is.
Ouya: The concept of Ouya is simple, a small, cheap android based console. Seeing how much mobile gaming has exploded in the past few years, this only makes sense. Dedicated hardware for android games (and other apps) for cheap…brilliant no? More on Ouya here:
Near Field Communication (NFC): Remember the hassle of making payments back in the day before ATM cards? What if you could just tap your phone one a surface to make the same payment? Or remember how much hassle it used to mean to transfer files from one phone to the other? Search, pair, type access code, initiate transfer, set phone to expect transfer etc. Now you can do all that by just tapping the phones together. And do way more like open doors, automatically start tasks by placing your phone in the right place, etc. NFC is one of the few tech advances this year that actually has the cool factor bundled with functionality. (Yes, I remember that I owe you guys an NFC article, I haven’t forgotten).
Project Glass: Google’s project glass isn’t out yet, but it was made public this year and we did get to see quite a bit of it shown around. The idea of it is to see augmented reality along with everything else in your daily life. Think seeing directions as you drive or looking at a store and seeing ads of what deals they have, or looking at a shelf at a store and seeing the prices of each product. The possibilities are endless with this one and it is right-out-of-a-sci-fi-movie type cool. More about Project Glass here.
Brain Stimulator: Award winning company, Medtronic which had dedicated quite a bit of time fighting neurological abnormalities and diseases this year announced a brain implant that detects and treats epilepsy. The implant is part sensor array and part neurological simulator. The tiny implant can track electrical changes in the brain and make instant corrections that might save a patient’s life. Doctors can use this technology to treat a wide-range of disorders including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and Parkinson’s disease. More here.
Bendable Microchip: Belgian electrical engineer Jan Vanfleteren this year developed a bendable microchip that can be inserted into the human body. The computer chip measures just 30 micrometers and can be stretched up to 50% of its own length. Instead of using external computers to monitor and respond to changes in a patient’s condition, this new microchip can internally process data and quickly relay important information to healthcare professionals. Future applications of this technology include computer sensors that detect heart palpitations and the onset of neurological disorders. More here.
Samsung Smart Evolution: We all know that while television sets are gadgets in their own rights, they are more long term investment unlike phones which you most likely won’t use past two years. So what does Samsung do to address that? This year, they put a system in place where your Tv too can get hardware and software upgrades via slots at the back and updated with new features! Brilliant.
Smart tvs: I’m particular about sharing content on bigger screens, my Playbook’s mostly connected to the Tv when i’m at home and my laptop to a projector. So its really no surprise that smart Tvs would interest me. Smart tvs, besides being regular boring tvs and displays, give you added functionality like control via voice or hand gestures, ability to install apps, stream content from and interact with your smartphones and tablets etc.
Roku stick: I’ve actually never seen one of these anywhere in Nigeria and quite honestly, our internet isn’t there yet, but from the moment I saw it at CES this year, I fell in love with the idea of it. So what is a Roku box? Its a device not much larger than a flash drive, that plugs into your tv’s HDMI slot and streams HD content directly from the internet to your tv. Most people already spend so much time watching stuff off the internet on their computers, so it only makes sense, especially as it works with existing tv hardware. More about it here.
Phillips Hue: These are LED light bulbs with a twist, they are capable of emitting virtually any color with an iOS or Android app. They are also said to last up to 15 years before they die out. More here
Samsung Galaxy Camera: How about instagraming a picture from your camera right after you take it? That’s one of the things you can do on this camera running a full version of android 4.1 Jelly Bean just like what you’ll get on a high end android device. It also has wifi connectivity and a microsim slot for cellular data with LTE support on some models and a gorgeous 4.8-inch screen to view pictures, take shots or use apps on. More on the Galaxy Camera here.
Sony Nex 6: The Sony Nex range has been my favorite range of cameras, I think DSLRs are too big for the casual user (read me), but the picture quality DSLRs produce is very much desired, so camera’s like the NEX range that are able to give close to DSLR quality in a small package are of interest to folks like me. The Nex 6 improves on a lot compared to its predecessors…and the predecessors (NEX 3 and 5) are awesome already. Details of the NEX 6 here.