If there was any doubt that we are entering the post-mobile era, this year’s CES ratified the fact. The absence of mobile integration as a core discussion, and “must show-off” checkbox, demonstrates that the ground has shifted. Where iOS and Android integrations were the must-have stamp of approval in previous years, this year the badge of honor was to show-off Alexa integration.
As we embark on the holiday season, two distinct dynamics tend to converge: chaos; and new technology. Is your work done? Are you ready to take the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day? Have you even started your holiday shopping? As you read on, I hope you spot a gift idea for that tech-crazed special someone on your list.
We find ourselves among a new generation, one that is redefining the technology that will shape their lives. Not the often publicized Millennials, but their successors, Generation Z. While no dates squarely define their age and few characteristics evoke imagery of who they will become, one thing cannot be argued: they were born into an always-on, always-connected world.
Over the past few years I’ve tried my fair share of smartwatches in various shapes and sizes, but none lasted on my wrist for more than a few days. The use case wasn’t compelling enough to justify the wrist space, particularly as each and every one of the devices felt like a compromise between tech and style. Ugly may be too strong a word, but certainly – for me at least – they did not look elegant or classy.
I’m not sure it’s possible to work in the technology sector without sitting through an industry presentation where the speaker engages the audience by discussing how many steps their fitness tracker recorded that day. We’ve all been around fitness tracker junkies; those that find solace in reaching their daily goal, and those that always seem to be a few steps behind...
Back in December 2013, a few brave NPDers ventured out into New York City’s chilly Times Square to find out what people thought about the newly launched smartwatch. Would the men and women of New York have any interest in this new-fangled device, or was it really just the domain of the tech-evangelist? The feedback was interesting with women in particular professing a desire to buy such a device. The people we asked saw the device as a time-saver, since it would save them from pulling their phone out of their bag to check the time. Yes, it’s true; the “killer app” for the smartwatch was tracking time, itself.
Pokémon Go has swept the nation and beyond to become one of the most downloaded apps within the first week of its launch. Based on the concepts developed for Niantic’s Ingress game, which has a strong cult following, Pokémon Go has brought location-based augmented reality to the mainstream consumer market with a vengeance. In the name of research (ahem), and perhaps because it sounded fun, I was an early adopter. With friends and family signing-up quickly, I knew there was no way I could resist the urge to go Pokémon hunting.
For the past couple of years I’ve exercised under the theory that a step is a step is a step. But apparently I was completely and utterly wrong: in reality, a step taken while running has less value than a walking step. Confused? Me too..
Mobile World Congress has traditionally been the playground of the mobile OEMs, highlighting the latest and greatest devices, and creating the loudest buzz possible along the way. To some extent, this fact remained true at MWC 2016, but the real buzz was saved for VR headsets and the 360-degree cameras needed to help build some of this content.
The sensory overload of CES 2016 is over and most of us have made it home to appreciate the relative peace and quiet of anywhere except Vegas. As I think back on the sights, sounds and devices that I saw in the past week, few stand out as surprises. This year seemed to be one of incremental advances, rather than giant leaps forward.