Another year has passed and we have reviewed a slew of technology products, from wearable devices to gaming systems to toy robots, but only a handful of gadgets have made the cut as the top tech products of 2013. So here is our New Year’s gift to you– the top tech products of 2013 and trends for 2014:
Microsoft Xbox One / Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4)
This may be the last year that gaming consoles make the cut as gaming continues to trend toward micro consoles like GameStick and Valve and computer-based gaming systems, but we had to include the Xbox One and PS4. Although these didn’t hit store shelves until the end of the year, they were some of the most sought after products in 2013. The PS4 was a huge hit with gamers and Microsoft upped the ante with its Xbox One by improving on its Kinect camera, which can see in total darkness, understand two people speaking simultaneously, and track up to six people at once.
You may be regretting that Roku purchase from last year because Google’s low-priced Chromecast is an even easier and more inexpensive way for consumers to watch web content on their TVs. Even thought smart TVs have flooded the market and streaming devices continue to sell, the $35 Chromecast offers some unique features that the competition can’t touch. For one, Chromecast has smartphone integration, which means that users have a premium, touchscreen remote always at hand. The Chromecast also makes watching web content such as YouTube, Netflix and Pandora easier than other devices on the market.
iPad Mini w/ Retina Display
For people that want to own an Apple product with all the bells and whistles and not spend a fortune, this year’s iPad mini with Retina Display was a winner. The mini gave consumers the same computing power as the iPad Air and a full-fledged iOS 7 experience on a Retina display for just $399. If that’s not enough reason to own an Apple product, I don’t know what is.
The Pebble is a smart watch capable of connecting to most Android devices and iPhones and can display text notifications, exercise data and yes, even the time. The company beat Samsung and Google to the market with a successful Kickstarter campaign and now has an app store open to “thousands” of developers. Pebble will be likely remembered as one of the first products to lead the wearable devices market, which leads me to trends to look out for in 2014.
Trends for 2014
Look for more wearable devices…yes, that means Google Glass and other devices you can wear on your eyes and wrists, but even more products that will offer connectivity. I am talking about smart watches, smart clothes and even sports bras that can track your heartbeat and control your smartphone. In 2014, we will see an increased adoption of mobile fitness devices and sleep bracelets that will challenge the health care industry and make people more aware of their bodies. Look out for Apple’s iWatch and other smart wearable technologies coming out soon. Of course, privacy will likely jump to forefront of conversation as cameras will be even more prevalent.
Another big trend is more smart appliances in your home. Companies like Arrayent are making it easy for already existing products in your home to be smart. Building connectivity within devices, or the “Internet of Things,” is likely to take off in 2014, making everything from your garage door to your refrigerator a smart device so that you can have a fully functioning “smart home.” The trend will also move outside of the home to cities. Cities will get increasingly smart as sensors and cloud-enabled apps connect transportation, metering, health care, lighting, and environment data, and make it actionable.
2013 was one heck of year in tech but I have to say, I am more excited about 2014. What are you looking forward to in 2014?