Many people find it difficult to keep up with rapid advancements and constant changes in the personal technology industry. However, the future of personal technology involves technology keeping up with us. The future is mobile.
First cell phones, then tablets, these are devices we’re all familiar with, devices that are actually projected to overtake the personal computer market in the coming years. Still, these are the most basic of modern technological trends. Pretty soon, almost every essential and non-essential element of our lives will be able to fit into our pockets, slide onto our wrists, or wear around our heads. Below is a list of some of these emerging trends in mobile technology.
The biggest buzz in the past few months surrounding the rising wearable technology market is the long-awaited release of Google Glass. Essentially, this device is simply a smartphone that you wear like a pair of glasses and can interact hands free via verbal commands preceded by addressing the device with the words, “Ok, Glass.” Google Glass has not been released to the general market, but is currently being tested by a variety of industries and individuals lucky enough to snag an exclusive invite to purchase the beta version.
Some other consumer-friendly wearable tech trends have come out of the personal healthcare market. The most prolific of these are fitness and activity monitoring gear, generally in the form of wristbands. One of the most popular, called Jawbone, comes with an app that syncs wirelessly with your smartphone or tablet and helps you track your exercise, food consumption, and even monitors your sleep patterns. Additional features include mood tracking, and an alarm function that makes the band vibrate at the optimal time during your sleep cycle to wake you. You can typically find Jawbone and similar products, such as the Nike Fuel Band, for between $100-$150.
While many people may be under the impression that curved glass is simply an aesthetic trend designed to fuel our consumption centric society, there are actually a variety of benefits to the use of curved glass. Corning, the makers of Gorilla Glass, which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is most likely the durable glass used on the smart phone you own, has created the “new Gorilla Glass”. This new product is not only highly durable, but can bend as much as 75 to 80 degrees without breaking. This is great news for those of us who suffer from the chronic condition known as “butterfingers.” Not only is this a major breakthrough in physical resilience, but a concave screen also makes mobile devices more readable in ambient light, less likely to capture reflections, improves battery life by around 5% (not sure how, but we’ll take it), and slightly magnifies the screen to make reading on smaller devices easier. Now that pretty much encapsulates all of the most common complaints about your smartphone or tablet, right? Not to mention, gone are the days of boring rectangles. LG has already released a concave smartphone, and we can probably expect to see this technology out of Apple in the form of an iPhone 6 later this year.
Our wallets are no exception to the digital age. Gone are the days of carrying around five separate debit or credit cards. Today, there are a variety of apps into which an individual can upload credit cards, debit cards, boarding passes, gift cards, pretty much anything you might need readily accessible in your wallet. These apps include Passbook, already preloaded on the iPhone, or Lemon Wallet, both of which store your debit, credit, ID, insurance numbers, and loyalty cards and turns each into a unique barcode to be scanned by merchants. With Lemon, you can also connect to your bank account allowing you to check your balance and transactions within the app. If you’re looking for something separate from your phone, particularly for things like restaurant dining where you must physically part with your form of payment for a brief period of time and you’d rather not put your phone (read: life) in the hands of a stranger, the device Coin is currently in development. This is the same size and shape of a typical credit card, but allows users to upload all of their plastic forms of payment, and then gives them the ability to choose which one they want to use for each transaction. Coin can be preordered for $50, and is due for release this summer.
Overall, there are some exciting mobile trends to look forward to in the coming year. As we all know, technology changes almost faster than a person can say, “Ok, Glass,” but these are some developments we expect to stick around for a while in one form or another. Here’s to upward mobility in at least one facet of our lives.