Tech Round Up of 2021

This year, we have seen the continuous effects of the pandemic. A lot of us are still using Zoom for work and even for social gatherings. This seems like a new norm we have to adjust to, but despite the new norm, we have seen many interesting things take place in tech this year.

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2021 has seen a lot of attention in the crypto space. A lot has been driven by hype and stories of people online being made millionaires overnight. The crypto space is a pretentious one, there is no doubt that there are those who are making a living and earning millions, but for the majority, including me, those luxurious returns have not been seen. But do not let my shortcomings distract you from how much the crypto space will continue to grow in 2022. Nearly everything in the crypto scene has gotten a lot of attention, this includes infamous crypto trading to NFT’s. People are selling their artwork and even music catalogs on the blockchain, which in some cases has proven successful. Nike recently acquired a digital design studio, RTFKT, pronounced “artifact”, which shows that Nike believes that there is a huge opportunity in digital goods. 

Crypto gaming is another area of crypto to look into. In 2021, the gaming industry saw a boost in sales and in-game purchasing as more of us turned to video games whilst being at home. Right now the in-game market is centralized, meaning all items and XP (experience points) gained cannot be used in other games. This is where the power of blockchain technology comes in. Players can now use their rewards and items across different crypto gaming platforms. There is also the ‘play to earn’ model which has gained a lot of attention. There are some claiming to have quit their day job and make a livable wage. Doge Dash and Axie Infinity are some of the game titles offering players a chance to make money while playing. Do not be surprised if more game developers choose this path. Imagine a world where you can turn on your PlayStation and play for 12 hours and make a living. Players could get crypto coins while playing game A and choose to spend it in Game B or sell the crypto they collected at a higher price.  

Another big area of growth is the Metaverse. What is the Metaverse? Fans of DC comics will say the metaverse is the current DC universe, where any changes here will have a knock-on effect on the multiverse. But Facebook introduced a new concept or world called the Metaverse. In this digital world, we will be digital entities in digital spaces with digital things.

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We will be more than a digital static avatar, we will be a 3D avatar and we will be able to interact with digital objects, socialize and buy digital goods with NFTs, with the end goal being to allow us to be fully immersive in this digital world. Facebook, now rebranded as Meta, will be just one of the many ‘metaverses’ as companies will jump on this new form of being online. Microsoft plans to launch Mesh which will be another type of ‘metaverse’ where we can share, feel and connect in the digital space. 

Sticking with Meta, they collaborated with EssilorLuxiottica to create Ray-Ban stories. These are smart glasses that pair with the Facebook View app allowing users to share stories and memories seamlessly with their followers. The glasses are one of the nicer-looking smart glasses, with a modern design staying true to Ray-Ban’s collection. The glasses also come with speakers. Meta also thought about privacy, there will be LED lights that will light up when the glasses are recording. Whether consumers trust Meta with their privacy is something Meta will have to face regardless of whether they change their name. 

The question now with Meta launching these smart glasses is could they release the next version of smart glasses with AR capability? 

Next up are EVs (Electric Vehicles). This year we have seen more electric cars sold and made available to the public as we shift towards electric transportation. We have seen manufacturers this year convert some of their famous models to an electric equivalent, for example, Mercedes have swapped out the engine of the GLA model for a battery to create the EQA model. Same with BMW, they have used the X3 exterior, made it electric and you have the iX3. Expect more companies in 2022 to convert their newer popular models to electric versions and a reduction in the availability of their petrol/diesel counterparts. In the UK, the government confirms plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The government has also helped with the push of sales by introducing a PICG, The Plug-In Car Grant. The discount is automatically applied when a car is priced under £32,000.

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The Biden administration wants to push for cleaner vehicles on the roads in the US. The signing of the infrastructure bill included $2.5 million for battery-powered school buses for the next five years. This bill shows serious intent from the US about moving towards a cleaner way of transportation. What will be a nice to have in 2022, would be more affordable electric cars possibly under the $30,000 mark with a 250 miles range.

While Apple and Google released their flagship phones, the iPhone 13 range and the Pixel 6 range, this year we saw foldable phones go mainstream. The foldable phone market grew with Samsung reporting growth in sales. Samsung reported that their foldable phones sales were up almost 4 times from the previous year. The increase in sales was helped by the phones becoming more affordable, a better software experience than before, and an improvement in the design. Samsung took a brave decision to skip its popular Note series this year and release 2 foldable phones, Galaxy Fold 3 and Z flip 3. This shows serious intent in where Samsung sees the future of smartphones. Honorable mention also for the Oppo Find N and Huawei Mate Xs. Both phones have an amazing design and decent camera. The hinge has been one of the biggest annoyances for foldable phones but Oppo found a clever solution in the Find N. Oppo uses a proprietary flexion hinge that allows the phone to fold perfectly without leaving any gaps, creating a crease-free experience. Foldable phones will get better in 2022 with more brands jumping on, and maybe we’ll see a Pixel or Apple foldable phone in the future.

Youtube announced the removal of the dislike button count which was met with criticisms not just from their users but also content creators. Tech Youtuber, MKBHD, tweeted the removal of the dislike button “…Hiding dislike helps nothing”. Youtube’s reasoning behind this is to stop the harassment towards smaller creators and to promote “respectful interactions between viewers and creators”. This does sound like a noble cause and there should be more done to protect creators’ wellbeing, and everyone in general who uses Youtube, but removing the dislike count does not really solve the issue. Removing the dislike counts would mean more users will potentially watch a video that is actually unhelpful. While a lot of users watch Youtube videos to gain information or for entertainment, the dislike button is a useful metric on if one should waste their time watching it. In the end, Youtube stuck to their guns and the dislike count is gone. If you do however want to see the Youtube dislike button back there is a Google Chrome extension available. The Chrome extension has over a million users and a 5-star rating. 

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2021, despite all the challenges the world faced, the tech industry continued to grow and remain innovative with hopes that 2022 can be an even better year not only for tech but for the world as a whole.

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