The 10 best gadgets and innovations of 2017

By: Joseph Reis – X Tech News

iPhone X

Because of its evolution and because it is to mark the future of Apple, it is not only the best mobile phone that the American company has manufactured to date, but it is, with the permission of the Galaxy S8, one of the best mobile devices of the season . Although with a questionable price (more than 1,300 euros), this iPhone that comes to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the product. And, for this, important changes have been introduced, not only at an aesthetic level, one of the aspects that most attracts attention.

The terminal, made of steel and glass, has boarded the train of immense screens that try to cover a part almost completely. Opened by Samsung, LG and Xiaomi, this year has left a clear trend, the reduction to the minimum expression of the edges of the terminals. A mobility concept that combines modernity and comfort (a larger screen can be offered but in a more compact space).

If facial and iris recognition systems have not achieved the expected effectiveness in the past, the North American firm has introduced Face ID technology, which allows to unlock the mobile with the face. Apple has done a good job, and with sense, although there is still the question of whether it will continue from now on as a security mechanism or if next year a fingerprint reader will be added within the screen itself, a technology still in embryonic phase and that this season has not been able to be implemented with guarantees.

His camera has continued that effort to bet on dual cameras – both optimally stabilized – and the already established portrait mode, although the year has also left as an alternative to follow that effort of Google in the Pixel 2 XL , terminal considered by many analysts as the best mobile camera of the year. In any case, the decisions of the North American company have allowed to have a mobile of high performance and good performance, and that has also forced users to learn new interactions and gestures to control it, since it has eliminated the characteristic physical button Home. A button that has accompanied the iPhone since its inception in 2007.

Nintendo Switch

Portable console? Game machine for the living room? Well, why not both. Nintendo, after a few years in discord with itself, has achieved it in an efficient and natural way. The Switch platform has made its debut in style, with a spectacular start driven by the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, one of the best titles of the year.

The console allows you to start a game in portable mode and continue it on the big screen by simply connecting it to a special dock. And vice versa. The process is fast and it is continued in the place where it was left. Although its resolution is not the most advanced in the market, it has been accompanied by a catalog of games – although it debuted with little content – that have filled the cravings of its fans, lovers of the famous characters of the veteran Japanese firm.

Two controls connected by a lane on each side of the screen allow you to play anywhere. But that design is also compatible with a cooperative and multiplayer mode in which the controllers, separated by their own, can start games as in “Super Mario Kart Deluxe.” A brilliant idea

Microsoft Surface Studio

The Surface range has allowed Microsoft to start manufacturing hardware. It may not obtain significant economic returns from the sale of its products, but has managed to open new paths on traditional computing. With its partners, other computer concepts have been strengthened taking into account the scenario in which we move, the call was «Post-PC». This season the American firm has amazed with a proposal that defines part of the work and productivity.

And the team surprises, but for good. It has a 28-inch monitor with touch screen that is able to be placed almost horizontally on the table, allowing drawing or taking notes on it as if it were a huge notebook. For this, it requires a round device called Surface Dial, a kind of button that sits on the screen and interacts with us, offering interesting tools in real time.

As if it were a roulette of those used to unlock safes, we can turn the Surface Dial to, for example, change the colors we want to use while we paint on the screen. It almost exerts digital canvas. Also, clicking on it offers different options. An interesting peripheral that will have to be thoroughly tested to see its real usefulness. The idea is brilliant and can be crowned as the most innovative desktop PC of the year.

DJI Spark

Powerful, innovative and small. This drone of the Chinese manufacturer marks the direction over which these aircraft have to fly, another of the hottest trends in the sector and with which they are already experienced as elements for transport. Its main differentiating feature is that it does not require a remote control for navigation. Its innovative take-off system allows you to start your flight even from the palm of your hand.

In only 300 grams is available to the main functions that are claimed to this type of devices, remember that they are not toys and are subject to aviation safety regulations in force in the European framework. For example, a 12 megapixel camera and resolution up to 4K.

This drone moves at a speed of 50 km / h up to a maximum of two kilometers away and reaches four thousand meters in height, although its autonomy has not been improved (15 minutes maximum). But where his revolution has shown most has been through its control system, which offers options to master it with gestures, has an automatic way to make selfies and adapt to the type of image you want to photograph.

Xperia Touch

It’s a surprise. It is a projector that is also a “smartphone” (or a tablet) and is capable of projecting a touch screen (multitouch of 10 points) both on a table and on the wall or floor, depending on the position in which we place it.

That is, we can touch directly on the projection, activate applications, navigate, pass screens, enlarge photos or watch videos exactly as we would on the screen of a device. It weighs only one kilogram and reaches 100 lumens of brightness, in addition to allowing use as a screen (with HD resolution) up to a size of 23 inches. In larger projections the tactile functions are lost.

It has an internal storage capacity of 32 GB, its own processor, 3 GB of RAM, a lithium battery, stereo speakers, WiFi connection, Bluetooth, NFC, a 13 megapixel camera, microphone and all kinds of sensors, as if a real mobile is: compass, movement, gyroscope, barometric pressure, temperature and humidity, distance, infrared … That is, with it you can do everything we do with a “smartphone”, from a video call to surfing Internet, manage all kinds of applications or watch multimedia content.

Oculus Go

The dream of the nineties of virtual reality went out. Last year started the second life of these devices that promise to “cheat” the brain to get into parallel worlds. Although at the level of sales has had a warm reception, the immersive helmets begin to be seen in society as an element to enjoy other perspectives in the consumption of audio-visual content, and not just video games.

If Sony, with its PlayStation VR, has been placed as the king of the game thanks to the push and popularization of its console PlayStation 4, Oculus has wanted to bring virtual reality to another space. Facebook, its parent company, is clear that to achieve massive sales of this type of products is required to respond to several problems. On the one hand, improve the experiences, reduce the latency, expand the catalogues, but on the other, abandon the cumbersome cables that can hinder its use.

And, in addition to all this, try to make virtual reality a social experience, where initiatives like Zero Latency are beginning to emerge, allowing you to play with up to eight players. The next Oculus Go works wirelessly, does not require PC and puts the accent on the price, another obstacle to achieve a massive impact. The objective is, therefore, to develop a technology for the mass public.

It will sell for $ 199, a figure ostensibly lower than the 700 or 800 euros that PC glasses cost . The new Oculus model is designed to allow Facebook to rapidly advance in the virtual reality market, now dominated by Sony. The Zuckerberg himself presented Oculus Go as the “point of equilibrium” between virtual reality experiences prepared for smartphones (Samsung Gear VR) and those obtained by powerful computers.

Thanks to this new viewer, the user can travel in the real world without having to be connected to a computer. “This is a stand-alone headset that does not require a telephone or cable,” said Zuckerberg. To achieve immersion, Oculus Go uses a series of internal cameras and sensors designed to track the movements that are reproduced in the virtual environment. Its goal is very ambitious – Despite the will of the companies involved, currently the technology called mixed reality (which combines both types, virtual and augmented) is gaining more and more interest in the industry for its undoubted applications in the environment labour.

Nest Secure

The dynamics that the hyper connectivity of the world is taking augurates new challenges and challenges. Work is currently underway to standardize future 5G networks, connections that will substantially improve speed (up to 1 GB per second), reduce latency and, therefore, inaugurate the call was the “Internet of Things”. A scenario in which electronic products connect to the Internet, “talk” to each other, communicate with each other through the sensorization of cities and allow to explode, among other things, from industrial robotization and start the autonomous car.

But in the meantime, many “gadgets” and devices for the home emerge that are laying the foundation on that future. It is an intelligent alarm composed of several elements such as a security camera, smart lock. An integral ecosystem that allows you to control the security of the home easily from a single application, schedule tasks and warn about possible thefts.

In case a break-in occurs it will be communicated quickly through an alert to the mobile and a siren is activated. The only controversial aspect comes, however, from cyber security. Is this the future we want? Is it possible to “hack” and corrupt the system to access the home to steal?

Tesla Model 3

Complete autonomous driving has not yet been achieved. To achieve this, it is still necessary to overcome many challenges. But the autopilot phase is progressing. The sector is moving thanks to the developments of classic firms in the manufacture of automobiles and other brands coming from the sphere of technology. While discussing future rules and regulations of circulation, the Tesla firm, which has captivated by its batteries, aspires to popularize electric cars soon.

In this endeavour, Model 3 has emerged this year, an accessible model that offers the main functions currently dominated. These types of engines, which have been selling for years, have always been criticized for fears about their low autonomy. The North American firm has managed to offer an electric vehicle with guarantees that allows reaching 350 kilometers with a single load.

With a devilish power that accelerates from zero to one hundred in six seconds, this car comes equipped with the latest advances in semi-autonomous driving. In addition, its interior stands out for its large touch screen and an exterior, although sporty, very familiar saloon concept. A controversial aspect, however, is whether this – the electric car driven by lithium-ion batteries – is the future to make cities more sustainable, since this type of batteries used deteriorate over time and emit pollutants. Has a lucrative market for car batteries arrived?

eSight 3

Technology must be human and social or it will not work at all. Covering a need, contributing to the improvement of people such as exoskeletons that allow people with physical disabilities to fly or improve everyone’s life should be the path of innovation. And, fortunately, interesting initiatives in this field arise from time to time. Like the eSight e glasses, manufactured by a Canadian company, that uses augmented reality so that people with legal blindness, that is, who retain a small percentage of vision, can “see” again.

The device works through two high-speed HD cameras that record the outside world and are incorporated in the front part of the glasses. This image is projected through two OLED screens in front of the user’s eyes, in the same way as virtual reality glasses. The glasses allow controlling various aspects of the image, including color, contrast, focus, brightness and magnification.

It is controlled by a remote control and reaches, according to the manufacturer, six hours of battery life. An interesting aspect is that the glasses are completely portable, something that also helps their weight and size, less than conventional virtual reality glasses. So that these glasses can be used in everyday life without causing a sensation of dizziness, their latency is very low, that is, there is very little lag between the moments the cameras record the image and it is projected on the screens.

Amazon Echo 2

Next year is expected as the boom of the so-called smart speakers. Significant companies from the sector such as Apple and Samsung plan to enter this trend in the coming years. But it was not until 2014 when the first bell was given. Then, Amazon announced Echo, a device that allows controlling some functions and devices through voice-guided instructions, something that Google has continued with Home.

In this quest to find the new centre of digital life and finally overcome the phenomenon of “smartphone”, the most revolutionary device of recent decades, the e-commerce giant renewed its product this year with significant improvements.

With a more minimalist aesthetic and an improved speaker (which includes a tweeter and a woofer), the device came even at a lower price 117.58 dollars). The software that makes it work, Alexa, understands innumerable requests, the voice recognition system has been improved and it has been licensed to be introduced in many other electronic devices. One aspect that arouses great fear is whether this type of devices collects too much sensitive information from the owners and if we are, if we are not already, before the beginning of a Big Brother in where mass surveillance is the order of the day.

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