While last year saw big changes in tech markets what was lacking was the rush of exciting new gadgets that’s going to make 2014 a very exciting year for techheads. Here’s a quick look at what’s on tap in the wide world of gadgets and how your life is going to change because of it.
The Normalization of Wearables
Google Glass is cool but not exactly cool – which doesn’t matter since it won’t be in stores until the exclusive Glass Explorer Program ends. Other so-called wearables slated to go to market will likely have more mass appeal potential. Smartwatches will be big in 2014, with new models from Adidas and Apple competing against the Sony Smartwatch and the Pebble. Expect to see game changers in this sphere with standalone features and better displays. The question is whether the wearables likely to flood the market throughout the year will be geek chic or just plain geek.
The Ubiquity of Tablets
Move over iPad because there are new tablets in town and prices will be dropping like flies. Newbies on the 2013 market like the Lenovo Yoga Tablet and others proved that you can get a great tablet for chump change and don’t expect to see prices trending back up. In fact, they may be trending down dramatically when you consider competition like the Aakash 4, a 7-inch Android tablet sold in India. It currently costs about $40 and may eventually become available in the US.
The Spread of Lifetracking
Tech is changing the way we sleep, eat, work out and keep in touch, and nowhere is that more evident than in the growing popularity of lifetracking apps and devices. Writing down daily activities and health stats is nothing new – people have been journaling since writing was invented – but tracking your life automatically certainly is. The quantified life is one that more people are living (and sharing) as gadgets that track everything from heart rate to blood pressure to GPS coordinates and mood come onto the market. Expect to see your dad’s cholesterol level posting to Facebook in real time sooner rather than later.
The Rise of 3D Printing
In 2013 3D printing went viral with gadget junkies printing action figures and serious scientists printing body parts. This year expect to see plenty more fun, feel good stories about what 3D printers can do plus hard news about the widespread adoption of 3D printers in complex parts manufacturing and prototyping. 3D printing will finally make the mainstream thanks to patents expiring in 2014 but the resultant drop in price will probably not render the technology cheap enough for day to day use. In other words you’re not going to see a 3D printer in every home just yet but according to many sources 2014 will nonetheless be the year that 3D printing hits the consumer market in a big way.
The Trial of Commercial Drones
Unfortunately, the Amazon drone delivery service has yet to get off the ground – CEO Jeff Bezos told CBS’s “60 Minutes” we may be seeing them in the skies in four to five years – but the FAA recently announced that six states have been chosen as commercial drone testing grounds. Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host the sites where operational rules and regulations will be developed for what are known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV. The US lags behind many other countries that already have rules for commercial drone operation so the prediction is that 2014 will be the year America sorts out how, when and where commercial drones can be used.
Author Bio: Jessica is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.