While technology enthusiasts had a field day at CES this year, there are a large number of technologies coming to the forefront in 2019 as well. This space is abuzz with various developments in fields such as artificial intelligence, 5G, VR and foldable devices. The innovations that are seen in this year’s products might as well represent the foundation of a futuristic world.
Join us as we take a look into the top 5 most anticipated gadgets that are set to release in 2019.
Samsung Galaxy X / Flex / Fold
Foldable devices are largely stated to be one of the most exciting developments in the smartphone space owing to the potential consequences it has on the general state of mobile computing as a whole. Google has even recognized this, adding support for foldable displays in the latest version of Android late last year.
Samsung has also reportedly continued to research the technology over 7 years, leading to the creation of the Infinity Flex Display. This has allowed the company to begin preparing for the mass production of their foldable phone. A Samsung executive also revealed in a statement that the foldable phone will release by the first half of 2019 in select markets.
Advertising for the foldable device has already begun in Samsung’s “Imagine The Future” ad series, and it was also revealed that the phone would use an Infinity Flex Display. It looked like a tablet when unfolded and features an ‘outer display’ that acts as a traditional phone screen. The product would no doubt command a general premium over existing devices, but represents the future of the computing world as the gap between PCs and mobile computers reduces.
Long before Oculus released its first VR headset known as the Oculus Rift in 2016, the VR space on PC was buzzing. The launch of the headset propelled it into mainstream relevancy. However, the technology required a powerful gaming PC and a lot of money to spare. This is set to change with the launch of the Oculus Quest.
The Oculus Quest is an all-in-one gaming system built for virtual reality and is set to launch with a price tag of $399. The gadget works out of the box and only requires the user to buy the headset and controllers, which feature haptic feedback for immersion. This standalone setup requires no wires to be set up, allowing the user to be completely immersed in a high-quality simulation.
The displays stand at a resolution of 1600×1440 per eye, with lens spacing adjustments made by Oculus for reducing negative symptoms. The game library on Oculus currently stands at about 50 from AAA developers, giving consumers an all in one solution with ease of use. The small form factor of the machine also signals the evolution of VR technology and is sure to make splashes in the space.
5G mobiles and infrastructure
Experts have predicted that 2019 will be the year where service providers begin widely adopting 5G. The technology will reach critical mass in a few years, which will be accelerated due to newer flagship smartphones will come with 5G capabilities. This trend is already starting to take place, with Apple, Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi already having announced or working on 5G-enabled phones slated for launch in 2019.
This technology is set to elevate the speed of the wireless networks from the present speed of about 45MBps to about 1GBps. The new standard also aims to reduce latency, increases energy efficiency and offer more stable network connections. This shift also means that mobile service providers will have to upgrade their underlying hardware worldwide.
On the flip side, even when 5G is deployed, it will take telecom companies a couple of years to catch up to the standard. This will be due to the required infrastructural requirements, with reports estimating until 2020 to achieve the speed 5G promises.
Last year at Google’s I/O conference, they announced a new Assistant feature that can carry out specific tasks for users over the phone. This was called the Google Duplex assistant, which put an AI to the task to perform the tasks of an assistant. This includes making reservations or enquiring about specific information over the phone with another human being. For example, the assistant will ring a pizza restaurant and make a reservation in a human-sounding voice. This is due to Google’s WaveNet voice generation model, which can generate such voices with ease owing to its large library of voice samples.
Many listeners have reported that the AI sounds like a real person with natural pauses and human speech characteristics such as ‘hmm’ and ‘umm’. While this has set off a debate regarding the ethics of letting AI speak to humans while sounding human, it represents the next step in interfacing technology. To make the switch easier, Google has also equipped the model with a self-monitoring feature allowing it to recognize the tasks it can’t complete on its own. This feature allows the user to step in and help in the process, ensuring a seamless connection.
LG OLED TV R
This year at the Consumer Electronics Show, electronics manufacturer LG showcased a rollable OLED display. In its closed form, it resembles a table with a soundbar but features a 65″ screen rolled up inside. This is LG’s rollable OLED technology and allows the TV to be nestled inside the soundbar. The soundbar itself features Dolby Vision and deep learning technologies to enhance and optimize sound.
Due to its OLED display, the TV can portray perfect blacks and features a Gen 2 Intelligent Processor with a deep learning AI algorithm. The AI performs upscaling and management tasks, along with voice recognition for activating the rolling mechanism. It also features support for Google Assistant and Alexa, allowing it to become the centrepiece of any smart home. It is due for launch later this year.
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