From smartwatches to drones (and concerns about privacy), here are the new frontiers that will define the tech landscape over the next 12 months.

  • iPad in living room with child on sofa
    Joe Svetlik

    Last updated: 31 December 2014, 10:45 GMT

     

    The end of a year is always an exciting time in the tech world. There’s the excitement of gifting your loved ones some great new gadgets and the possibility for some great deals in the sales! It’s a time to look back on the incredible progress made during the previous 12 months, but also to ponder the exciting tech likely to shape the next year.

    Here are some of the emerging trends you’ll be hearing plenty about in 2015.

     

    Virtual Reality

    Oculus Rift

    2014 saw huge excitement about the possibility for VR to revolutionise gaming and movies through devices like the Oculus Rift. Facebook spotted the potential and paid around £1.2bn billion to buy Oculus back. However, while 2014 was all about positioning the pieces, 2015 will see Virtual Reality become a consumer-ready product. Devices like the Rift, Samsung Gear VR and other solutions like the beautifully simple Google Cardboard will be more widely available, with developers and filmmakers creating more and more VR experiences that allow you to jump in and explore new worlds in a fully immersive 360-degree environment.

    Read more on Virtual Reality

     

    Make or break for smartwatches

    Motorola Moto 360

    While 2014 was a massive year for wearable tech (in particular fitness trackers), smartwatches have underwhelmed to this point.

    Products from the likes of Samsung, LG and Motorola have a decidedly first-generation feel to them and haven’t been widely adopted. That is all set to change in 2015 if the sector is to live on: designs, software and apps will improve, while the challenges of terrible battery life will have to be addressed if more people are to jump on board. Plus, there’s the small matter of the Apple Watch arriving in early 2015…

    Read more on smartwatches

     

    High-resolution audio

    Technics Premium Class C700 Series

    For some music fans, the convenience of iTunes downloads and Spotify streaming has trumped the importance of sound quality. However, there’s no reason why we can’t have the best of both worlds. The re-emergence of lossless (meaning there’s no quality sacrificed through file compression) audio experiences could be a big tech theme in 2015.

    Devices like Neil Young’s Pono have been designed to play high quality .FLAC files. Technics unveiled two new music systems that support high-resolution audio including the Premium Class C700 Series (above £3299). Technic Tracks offering high resolution streaming at four times the top quality of Spotify files, 24/192 albums are set to cost between £14- £15.99.

     

    The Connected Home

    Couple in living room with iPad

    Soon your smartphone or tablet could be the central hub for controlling your entire home. From your thermostat and electronics, to the light switches and locks on your doors, everything is in play. The smart home revolution is gaining momentum with the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung all making major plays to spearhead the charge. Apple has its own HomeKit standard within iOS 8, while Google owns Nest (the makers of the revolutionary learning Thermostat) and Samsung recently purchased SmartThings, which is already allowing early adopters to create smarter homes. Expect this, and the inevitable privacy concerns, to be a big theme in 2015.

    Read more on the Connected Home

     

    In-car technology

    Apple Carplay

    The humble automobile is another of the new tech battlegrounds. Apple and Google are determined to power the next-generation of in-car technology and are partnering up with carmakers to bring iOS and Android to the dashboard. With Apple’s CarPlay, for example, phones can be plugged and key functions are relayed to the built-in display. It powers navigation, music, voice calls, messages, while the Siri personal assistant is also part of the package. Again there are major privacy concerns to accompany this development.

    Read more on Apple CarPlay

     

    Drones

    Amazon Prime Air Drone

    The drones are coming home from the battlefield and are able to invade our communities. While, it’s not quite that dramatic, UAV adoption for commercial and hobbyist use is definitely on the rise.

    In the United States, Amazon wants to begin delivering products to homes via automated unmanned quad-copters as soon as 2015, if regulators give it the green light. Check out the video above to find out more.

    GoPro, the maker of the excellent range of Hero action cams, also plans to release a commercial drone in 2015. Naturally there are also privacy concerns over these developments too… Have you spotted the theme for 2015 yet?

    Read more on drones

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