While 2016 has been getting a bad rap for controversies and tragedies, the year also saw some technological improvements that made us go, "wow!" Here is the list of some of the best tech of 2016.
Just a day before Apple's Macbook event, Microsoft held its own event. And, when no one was expecting, they dropped a desktop marvel called Microsoft Surface Studio. It has a beautiful 28-inch PixelSense display. This powerful desktop has support for multi-touch and a stylus as well.
Microsoft also released a fancy puck which you can stick on the display and it can act like another menu for your artistic needs. For instance, if you are painting and you rotate the puck, you can get a colour palette or brush-tool options switcher. It can also control the volume when you are playing something. Microsoft has clearly targeted designers whose only option was the iPad Pro which is not as powerful as the Surface Studio.
Amazon has been pretty innovative over the years, changing the way e-commerce works. It is public knowledge that the company is keen to introduce drones for deliveries of packages. Recently, it dropped a video of an amazing concept store. One where you have to go with your smartphone and sign into the Amazon account.
There are no queues for billing. You pick up whatever you like and everything will be added to your cart. The company is using special sensors on the package and around the store to add items to the user's cart and handle the hassle-free checkout. Who wouldn't like this?
Elon Musk is known as a modern-day wizard and he dropped this magic machine called Tesla 3 which is the company's most affordable electric car. The car can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds and it can run for almost 350 km on a single charge.
The company has plans to bring the car to India as well. Recently, Telsa updated its autopilot mechanism to make it safer and better. The cost of the car is $35,000
When Google glasses were introduced, they were seen as a marvel. But soon there were technical and moral issues around it. Snapchat's spectacles seem much funkier and casual in that sense. Launched in the US only, the product looks like a pair of regular sunglasses with a tiny camera on the side.
When the user touches the panel near the camera it lights up and starts recording the snap. It is synced with your phone over WiFi or Bluetooth and works both on Android and iOS. The glasses cost $129.99.
Yeah, it's not a gadget but how do you not include the biggest tech craze of the year in this list? The game that combines nostalgia, getting out of the house, mapping and AR technology took over the world in July. It became the most downloaded mobile game ever in a matter of weeks and a lot of people are still playing it.
Pokémon GO brought people out of their houses and made them connect with others in real life. There were some crazy stories and inspiring ones as well. The game recently launched in India and it has over 500 million downloads from Google Play store. Niantic, the company who made the game, has plans to make the game more immersive and longer-lasting.
Google Assistant and Google Home
People were not impressed by Siri, Cortana was not really available on mobile and Alexa was only available in limited countries. Enter Google Assistant. Announced at the company's developer conference, Google IO, it was later available in the chat app, Google Allo. When the search giant announced its Pixel phones, it said that Google Assistant will be built into it.
While the AI is in the early stage, the product already seems potentially better than Siri. Google is trying to put the Assistant into more hands so it can gather data and learn from it. It also announced that Google Home -- the competitor to Amazon Echo would have the Assistant as well. Google introduced the assistant in Hindi as well. It would be interesting to see how big this breakthrough in AI from Google would be.
The VR magic
Virtual Reality took massive steps this year. Oculus announced in January that it is opening up consumer pre-orders for the Rift for $599. Although shipping was delayed, the units got good reviews. In October, the company announced touch controllers for $199. The company's biggest competitor, HTC Vive, also released the consumer version at $799 in April. Sony also launched its PlayStation VR in October at $399.
Google announced Daydream VR at the Pixel event. It had already outlined the standard for its VR headset and the smartphones at Google IO. But in October, it showed off the Daydream VR view headset with a remote control. If distribution is handled well, it could give great VR experience to the masses without burning a hole in their pockets. Google began its VR venture with cardboard VR devices and it could build on its legacy of affordable VR.
Macbook Pro 2016
Before you hurl abuses at this reviewer or at Apple for not producing a MacBook Pro that people wanted, I'd like to point out that this product made the list solely on its technological merits. With the touch bar, Apple did produce something that was unique even though the price of the device soared and as did people's outrage.
Many are liking the Macbook Pro's touch bar even though, with its pricing, it is not meant for everyone at the moment. The laptop doesn't have touchscreen like Microsoft's Surface. But you have to applaud Apple for trying out something new. Who knows, after a while, it might strike a chord with more people.
While this was the probably the most awe-inspiring tech of the year, I'd like to point out that India's space agency ISRO has done some marvelous work in 2016 which is more science than technology. It launched India's own GPS which is going to be functional soon. It also launched a satellite which helped the country in carrying out surgical strikes on Pakistan and it is planning to launch 83 more satellites for other countries to earn money. There are many expectations in 2017 from the tech industry and it surely going to be an exciting year.