Foldable phones and smart glasses: 2021 in gadgets


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2021 was another year for the launch of new gadgets, with flagship smartphones touting pro-level cameras and foldable screens increasingly popular.

But beyond that, there have also been a number of announcements that are expected to shape the industry and the way people communicate and be entertained for years to come.

Here’s a look at the most notable new gadgets unveiled over the past 12 months.

– Samsung foldable

That was the year foldables went “mainstream,” Samsung said in deciding not to release a new version of its popular Galaxy Note device and instead unveil two new folds.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 was the big, bold phone with a traditional display on the front but opening to reveal a tablet-sized screen inside, while the Flip3 is a modern take on phones with flip cover from the early 2000s, with a smaller screen on the outside when the device is closed to show notifications.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 (left) and the Z Flip3 (Martyn Landi / PA)

(PA wire)

While neither was the first of its kind for Samsung, they have evolved enough in terms of functionality and price to be true alternatives to traditional “flat phones” for the first time.

And at a time when most phones all look like the same black block, Samsung’s reshuffle could spark a new wave of foldables.

– Ray-Ban Stories connected glasses from Facebook

Smart glasses have been made before, but a company the size of Facebook moving into space is a sign that the industry as a whole is determined to embrace the technology.

Facebook Stories – created by Ray-Ban – are similar to Snapchat Glasses in that their primary focus is a device for capturing first-person images and videos.

On the positive side, they look a lot more like “regular” glasses than other smart glasses and that makes them less off-putting.

In contrast, society as a whole is still not ready or comfortable with the idea of ​​people walking around with video cameras on their faces taking photos or videos at all times without the telltale sign of going out. their phone first to do so.

Smart glasses still have a way to go, but they seem like a small step on the road to acceptability.

– The metaverse

Not a gimmick, but a major announcement during the year was Facebook’s intention to become a “metaverse company”.

The Metaverse is a 3D online world people enter using devices like virtual reality headsets and smart glasses – another reason why these Ray-Ban Stories could turn out to be a milestone. – and interact with others as if they were in the same room as them.

Early examples from Facebook showed people hosting meetings in the metaverse where participants are spread across the globe but virtually meet in a customizable location using personal avatars to represent themselves.

Essentially, the idea is for a 3D Internet where video calls and message boards are replaced by 3D virtual spaces for working and socializing.

It’s a long-term project – despite Facebook’s enthusiasm, the use of VR headsets is nowhere near what it needs to be for the Metaverse to really take off, and many of us probably would. need a better internet connection to fully enjoy it.

– Sky Glass

A substantial change in the way Sky TV is presented and then watched at home, Sky Glass takes the box and the satellite dish, puts them inside a TV, and runs it all on your home broadband.

On the bright side, Sky’s installation process no longer requires an engineer to resize your house to install a satellite dish – instead, plug it in and connect to wifi, it’s done.

On the other hand, there have been early signs that this is still a work in progress – the interface is busy and confusing, removing the record button is disrupting the pace of the number of people using Sky. , and the dependence on an internet connection means that if your wifi goes down, it now takes your whole TV with it.

Pixel 6

Google has long been trying to create a smartphone to rival Samsung’s iPhone and Galaxy S series, but in reality, previous generations of its Pixel haven’t come close.

However, their latest effort – the Pixel 6 – significantly closed that gap.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the tech giant’s latest flagship device. (Martyn Landi / AP)

Like most Pixel phones, the cameras are great, but the addition of awesome editing features like Magic Eraser, which lets you easily remove objects or photobombers from the background, has further improved the capabilities. of the camera system.

Importantly, the rest of the phone is also catching up, with all of the best Google apps and tech better integrated into the device and working more seamlessly, thanks in part to Google’s decision to use its own Tensor chips in the phone. , which made for a much better experience for the users.

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