2016 gave us virtual reality and better mobile phones. Facebook’s influence continued to rise, installing populist Presidents with the power of fake news, as yesteryear’s search behemoth Yahoo self-destructed before our eyes. It was a messy, exciting time to be alive. We gobbled it all up on our phones, like the ravenous social media junkie addicts that we are (obosen!). Now 2017 is upon us, and it’s pretty clear that just like last year, the new year will continue to disrupt and F us up in amazing, new ways. Bend over and prepare for butt-hurt in 3... 2... 1...
Virtual Reality Goes Mainstream
Despite a stunning debut by virtual reality, it has so far failed to be the next big thing. But that’s okay. It’s all part of the plan. Virtual reality chose to make a splash in the world of video gaming first, and, as it goes with gaming, the games worth playing lag behind the launch of the hardware. When can we expect the good stuff to land? Let’s put it this way: if it doesn’t happen in 2017, you can write off virtual reality as just another fad. So expect virtual reality to jump into 2017 with all guns blazing. With a recently released Star Wars: Battlefront mission where you pilot an X-Wing in virtual reality, things are looking good for 2017.
In 2016, Microsoft teased us with its augmented reality headset, the Holo Lens, and thousands hit the streets to play the AR game, Pokémon GO. Except Microsoft to build on the success of Holo Lens in 2017—they’ve been on something of a roll lately. Meanwhile, app developers will be looking to repeat the success of Pokémon GO.
Amazon sold a crazy number of Echo devices last Christmas, and some estimates put its total sales for 2016 to be somewhere above the 4 million unit mark. The Echo—and its little brother the Dot—is a speaker and microphone combo that sits in your bedroom or living room, and all you do is talk to it. Command Alexa (the name of Amazon’s A.I. Assistant) to play some music, ask it about the weather, or tell it to call you an Uber, and it just does it. Yep, talking to your gadgets is the next big thing this 2017. Get used to it.
It’s safe to say it now: the Wii U was a flop. Also, never mind the misfire that was Mario Run. Nevertheless, Nintendo is poised to make a comeback with its new gaming console, the Switch—a sort of tablet and controller combo that plugs into your TV when you’re home. More details about the Switch—including pricing—will be announced this January, but already the world is already frothing at the mouth for all things Switch-related. As for us, they had us at Legend of Zelda.
Russia hacking the Democratic National Committee, DDoS attacks, a massive data breach from Yahoo not once but twice... This is the new normal, and it won’t change in 2017. In fact, experts say it may even get worse. China and the United States have accused each other of cyberwarfare in the past, but with China-US relations souring thanks to President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-China statements, cyberwarfare is likely to be a major part of 2017, along with the regular bad guys that populate the Internet. You know the drill. Update your (unique and strong) passwords regularly, enable 2-step verification, update all your software, don’t post private info, and don’t reply to scammers and trolls. Stay safe!
It’s all about streaming nowadays. Netflix is doubling down on original content, Facebook Live has been a smashing success, and music streaming has surpassed digital downloads. Expect this trend to continue in 2017. Websites are streaming video, bloggers are streaming video—heck, your nephew and your mom are streaming video.
A student accidentally invented a battery that can last for 400 years
Mediocre battery life gave Apple’s latest MacBook Pro some pretty rough reviews—Consumer Reports even gave it a “Do Not Buy” rating. If there’s one spec to look out for in 2017 in your phones and laptops, it’s battery life. Forget the other stuff. In this AI-assisted, post-PC world, specs aren’t a big deal anymore.
Cars are dead. Long live cars! Everyone’s favorite mode of transportation is getting a major shakeup this 2017. On one front, you have driverless cars from the likes of Google and Uber. On another front, you have electric cars aimed at the mainstream, like Tesla’s 3 (out in late 2017), and Chevrolet’s Volt. And then there’s the mysterious Apple car, still shrouded in mystery. Will we see that in 2017? Who knows? But fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be an interesting ride.