Are you tired of your phone? Is that laptop getting a bit long in the tooth? Will you rather chew off your arm than play another game on your aging console? Don’t panic: 2017 has a bunch of tech surprises for everyone.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung has promised big things for 2017. We already know the next Samsung flagship phone will have their own virtual assistant to battle Siri and Google Now, but expect Samsung to pull out the stops on many more features. Maybe we’ll finally see a folding screen ...
You may be familiar with Google Cardboard, which is a virtual reality housing that you place your phone in and then put to your face. Samsung’s Gear VR works in a similar way: all you need to add is a smartphone with a VR app. In late 2016 Google revealed the step up from this: Google Daydream. Designed out of cloth and plastic, it looks a lot nicer than its rivals and boasts a number of new features we haven’t seen before at this level of virtual reality. Unfortunately, Daydream will only work with Google’s Pixel phones for now, but that might change in the near future.
No, nobody has said anything official about another iPhone, though the rumours are already swirling. Apple has tried a few radical things with the iPhone 7, so the iPhone 7s will be a defining moment for Apple, since we’ll see if it stays the course. Some fans are already speculating that it may be the first Apple phone to replace the LCD screen with an OLED screen.
It’s been a rough few years for Nintendo, who needs a new gaming console that caught the world’s attention like the Wii and its motion controllers did. Enter the Switch, a new gaming console that plays games on your television, but can also go with you as a portable device. So you can take your games anywhere, play in a variety of ways and even have easy games with friends.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5
Late in 2016 we saw the launch of Microsoft Surface Studio, a stunning desktop PC for designers and other professionals that is set to take over from Apple iMacs (at least partly because Apple appears to be ignoring its iMac machines). But it’s also time for a new Surface Pro hybrid device, which may be called the Surface Pro 5. Microsoft didn’t announce it when expected, but some anticipate its release (as well as a Surface phone) in early to mid-2017.
LG took a chance when it released the G5, a phone with changeable modules for different occasions, such as a better camera or extra battery for when you need it. Now, rumours suggest LG is going back to making a more traditional phone. That is bad news for those who loved the modules, but great news for LG fans dying to get a new regular flagship phone that holds its own against Samsung and Apple. No official release date has been announced, but everyone expects it to be revealed by February 2017.
If reality is not good enough, try some Augmented Reality or AR. This is the cousin of virtual reality, but instead of placing you in a digital world, AR puts digital elements over the real world. Still not sure what we mean? Then just find a few videos of Magic Leap, a goggle system that will make the real world seem very mundane. This may arrive in 2017, along with Microsoft’s rival AR system called Hololens.
In 2016 Sony released the PlayStation Pro, which is a PlayStation 4 on steroids. Microsoft’s Xbox console felt left behind, so it is getting a similar upgrade though Project Scorpio. Slated for 2017, this will upgrade the XBox One to comfortably run 4K graphics and other graphical wizardry. It still can’t make coffee, though.
Vodacom and Amazon VOD
Are you getting enough content for your binge watching yet? South Africans already have a number of legal choices, such as ShowMax and Netflix. That is set to grow in 2017, when Vodacom plans to launch Vodacom on Demand, a new video streaming service for movies and television shows. But it may not be alone: Amazon has revealed it wants to take its own streaming service international, which could include South Africa.
In late 2016 Google unveiled its Pixel phones. These are different to previous Google Nexus phones and quite close to how iPhones are designed and manufactured. Does that mean a Pixel is an equivalent to an iPhone? Quite likely, so keep an eye out for existing Pixel phones possibly arriving in South Africa, as well as new Pixel phones announced later in 2017.