A look at the latest technology headlines indicates gadgets are improving quickly, and it won’t be long before the people who buy them can benefit from the latest and greatest features and functions.
Let’s take a look at some of the likely changes ahead for the gadgets we love, as well as those we’ve not even imagined yet.
1. More Screen-Based Gadgets With Built-in Assistants
The Echo Show is perhaps the most well-known gadget with a screen and an integrated helper to assist you with tasks, but if CES 2018 is any indication, that segment of the market will quickly be more populated with other brands. The Echo Show has Alexa to help you, but many of the gadgets with screens that should arrive soon will integrate with the Google Assistant.
JBL and Lenovo are two of the brands that showed off products in development at CES. Other manufacturers highlighted larger offerings — such as refrigerators — with screens. Smartphones were among the first screen-based devices with integrated assistants, but before long, most of the gadgets people use that have screens could help households get more done.
2. Earbud Wires Will Become Even Less Prominent
Not long ago, wires were necessary to make earbuds work. Now, thanks to technological capabilities including Bluetooth connectivity, earbuds are among the accessories likely to become even more popular with users thanks to entirely wire-free designs.
Rest assured, other companies won’t let Apple keep holding the top spot with no competition. Over the next year, we’ll see an increasing number of options for people who want to invest in hearables. As the technology improves, expect the associated features to get more appealing, too.
3. Flexible Smartphone Parts
The booming smartphone market is often a testing ground for early innovations. One improvement that’s gotten a substantial amount of buzz recently is the possibility of a smartphone that bends or folds.
Including a flexible printed circuit board (PCB) in a smartphone is one essential step in making it bendable. Today’s PCBs are impressively advanced, and even those that don’t flex are smaller and more lightweight than older counterparts.
4. IoT Technology in More Kinds of Products
Internet of Things (IoT) technology involves gadgets with wireless connectivity. Many people are already familiar with IoT gadgets, such as smart watches and home thermostats. However, it’s likely that the product categories featuring IoT gadgets will grow substantially soon.
Statistics indicate that by 2022, 10 percent of people in the world will wear internet-connected clothes. Before that, households around the globe will have other IoT possessions.
For example, one product in development is a smart spatula that detects the amount of salt in food during preparation and sends messages to a connected smartphone. It’s one example of a behavior-change gadget that could help people cook healthier meals.
Also, LG has reportedly teamed up with Italian furniture maker Natuzzi to engineer sofas and other home enhancements that connect to the IoT.
5. Robots to Help Around the House
Robots are common in manufacturing plants, but consumer familiarity with robots often ends with devices like the Roomba or other robotic creations that help clean the house. That could change over the next year with the release of more robots made to assist people at home.
Sources say Amazon is working on a robot for home use. The company wants to start testing it in employees’ abodes this year and could market it to the masses in 2019.
Alternatively, you can already preorder the Misty II. It recognizes faces, responds to commands and talks to you. It’s even possible to program the bot to carry out skills you program into it at home.
6. Smarter Home Security Systems
Modern security systems offer sharp pictures and the ability to show you what’s happening at home on your smartphone. However, analysts say many of the upcoming security options will have AI-powered technology that makes it more intelligent the longer you use it.
Lighthouse, Cocoon and FLARE are some of the names of AI security cameras to buy now. Most can differentiate between the faces of your friends and strangers, plus separate normal sounds from suspicious ones. In the coming year, we’ll likely see even more brands and high-tech capabilities that help people keep their abodes safer.
Interesting Times Ahead
The next 12 months will undoubtedly be an exciting one for gadget lovers. This list represents a sampling of the likely improvements to come.
Kayla Matthews is a journalist and technology writer for MakeUseOf and Digital Trends. You can also find her work on The Next Web, VentureBeat and The Week. To read more posts by Kayla, visit her blog Productivity Bytes.