The Augmented Reality revolution is here!
Apps like Snapchat, with its facial filters, and the Pokemon Go! game made AR a reality for the masses, but Apple’s ARKit goes way beyond that. Developers can now create AR experiences that offer a whole different level of precision, detail and interactivity – which, I feel is going to be HUGE.
When it comes to new gadgets and gizmos, 2017 was the year of several big changes. First and foremost, it was the year of the voice-activated assistant, with devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home invading homes everywhere. It was also the year that smartphone designers figured out how to pack a massive screen in a device that’s still easy to hold, as seen in the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8. And it was the year that consoles like the Nintendo Switch meant gaming on the go no longer meant making big sacrifices in terms of game quality.
We considered more than 20 smart-light-bulb systems and then spent eight weeks testing 10 contenders, confounding a family of four by constantly changing how their lights worked. After all that, we determined that the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 – Gen 4 is the best all-around smart LED bulb. Hue lets you change your lighting color easily and does everything other smart light bulbs do, and it’s also part of a larger product and app ecosystem, allowing for more flexibility and creativity than any other smart bulb we tested. Plus, it’s compatible with the widest variety of smart-home systems, including Apple’s HomeKit, Samsung’s SmartThings hub, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Home. It’s not the cheapest bulb we tested, but its reliable performance and wide compatibility make it a solid choice for any smart-home enthusiast or newbie.
After years of waiting, you can now choose from among three competent VR systems for turning your TV room into a one-person holodeck. VR is still a new technology with a lot of kinks to be ironed out (far from a “most people” purchase), but after spending hours using each first-gen system with a five-person panel of VR experts and beginners, we’ve chosen the Oculus Rift with Touch controllers as our pick because it combines a comfortable, approachable design with top-notch image and audio quality, plus it offers the largest currently available VR content catalog.
The average price of a pair of headphones has inched past the $40 mark this year, according to new data released this week by Futuresource Consulting. We now pay an average of $42.70, which is a 14 percent rise year-on-year and maintains a trajectory of double-digit annual growth. Last summer, Futuresource reported an 11 percent rise in pricing in 2015, to a mark of $34, driven by an appetite for more advanced features. Those are things like advanced noise canceling, fitness tracking for sports buds, and the novelty of integrated assistant software (like with Google Assistant on Bose’s updated QC35s).
By far the most commonly sought extra feature, however, is wireless technology, which Futuresource’s analysts believe is primarily responsible for the rapid growth in spending. Whether it’s over-ear or in-ear headphones, consumers are showing themselves increasingly willing to spend the extra money to ditch the wires. The enthusiasm for wireless is also said to spill over into driving sales of headphones with other added features. In the second quarter of 2017, for instance, the market for wireless noise-canceling over-ear headphones registered 42 percent growth, with 95 percent of those sales going to Beats, Bose, and Sony.
Apple’s abandonment of the headphone jack on the iPhone last year and the increasing adoption of jack-less designs from its Android rivals might also be starting to have an effect on this trend. In the future, the most sure way to know that your headphones will be compatible with whatever phone you have might just be to get the Bluetooth version. Certainly, Apple has contributed to the growth of the so-called true wireless earphones category, and the Cupertino company already commands 85 percent of shipments in that segment with its AirPods. Futuresource forecasts 10 million units of true wireless buds will be shipped this year, and the data also reveals that the average price of true wireless buds has gone down from $219 last year to $174 this year.
Google’s Pixel Buds — whose announcement softened the blow a little bit from the demise of the headphone jack on the new Pixel 2 phones — are just the latest in an expanding group of “smart” headphones that do more than just play back music. Between the Pixel Buds, Apple’s AirPods, Bragi’s Dash Pro, and the diversity of other smartened-up Bluetooth headphones, it seems like we’ll see plenty of choice and rapid iteration as this category builds out. One thing’s for sure: headphones are gradually evolving into more sophisticated, and thus more expensive, gadgets, and the momentum of their sales expansion indicates that it’s nowhere near reaching its peak.
(Via The Verge – All Posts)
After researching every currently available 4K Blu-ray player, and spending more than 20 hours testing the features and performance of six contenders, we’re sure that the Sony UBP-X800 is the best for most people. All the players we tested had indistinguishable 4K disc performance, but the Sony’s disc-loading speed, snappy menus, and superior 4K upscaling of DVDs and non-4K Blu-rays set it apart from the pack.
After 25 hours of research and several days of real-world flight and photography with nine leading models, we’ve found that the DJI Mavic Pro is the best drone for most aspiring aerial photographers and videographers. It matches or beats similarly priced competitors in image quality, ease of flight, and autopilot modes, but it really stands out for its portability—it’s smaller and lighter than a full 1-liter water bottle, so it’ll fit in almost any bag.