New Tech You May Not Have Heard About, Yet


New tech gadgets that become all the rage often start off as specialized products years in advance (who remembers the Tablet PC before the iPad?), so it is fun to rake a look at some oddball tech items that you may not be running out to buy in their current form, but that could have an impact on the hot products a few years from now.

Lytro Light-Field Camera – This tiny, square camera looks more like a child’s kaleidoscope toy than an electronic device, yet it may contain the most advanced imaging chip in a digital camera.  Instead of relying on tradition photography methods of focusing mirrors or lenses to record an image in a visual field, the Lytro chip records all of the points of light, allowing the user to choose the depth of field (focus) after the picture is taken.  The camera basically lets you snap one picture and then use the supplied software to create multiple pictures from the original, all with different focal points.  Since it is so new, there is only one model with limited options and the camera software only works on a Mac.

4K TV – You should start seeing TVs marked as 4K or Quad-HD over the next year or so, but they probably won’t make an immediate impact on how you watch TV unless you are a 3D fan.  The two advantages over the current HDTV standard is a 4 times higher picture resolution and the ability to create a 3D image that does not require glasses.  But, the tech gurus on the web are still on the fence about this technology and the all agree on one crucial element – there really is very little in terms of 4K content out there to watch.  Cnet features a nice article on the technology and concludes that it is an improvement, but not a very noticeable one, while The Verge review says it will matter.

Windows 8 devices – There is nothing new about tablets or Windows.  Or is there?  The reviews on the new Microsoft operating system have been mixed to say the least, but it is still fun to speculate on how a major change will impact users and devices.  The New York Times review is one that show the struggles some users have had with the system, while TechRadar’s review gives the system 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The newness here is having a viable Windows option for a tablet or Smartphone.  Windows Phones have been out for a while and while they have a small following, are predicted to surpass the iPhone in 2016.  The key is making the traditional Windows platform used by most businesses and households a multi-device operating system.  The question is, do people really want to be able to use Word on a tablet or Smartphone, or are they happy to be away from the Windows environment when they want to relax?

Electronic Wallets – Speaking of Smartphones, new services that use apps on your phone as a payment service are quickly catching on, as Wired recently reported on its website.  The catch is the companies, like LevelUp and GoPago, are focusing on cities right now, so the options are limited for phone users outside of a metropolis.  If they do catch on in the big city, chain establishments in particular may start offering the payment option in all their outlets, so you may start paying for your latte by swiping your phone sooner than you think.
- Laura N.

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