Gad­Get ProPhe­cies

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

THE WORLD of tech doesn’t have too many gam­bles. Ob­vi­ously ev­ery new prod­uct launched is a bit of a gam­ble and the on­line gam­ing casi­nos are, of course, pure gam­ble – but the rest of the in­dus­try tends to play it safe. Which is why, this col­umn is an anom­aly. Let me ex­plain.

IFA, or In­ter­na­tionale Funkausstel­lung, is one of the big­gest con­sumer tech­nol­ogy events in the world. It takes place in Ber­lin ev­ery year and show­cases al­most all the cut­ting-edge new de­vices you’ll be able to buy in the next year. The IFA is known to be a win­dow into the fu­ture and usu­ally throws in a large num­ber of shock­ing un­knowns and sur­prise an­nounce­ments. I’m writ­ing this col­umn on the flight to Ber­lin. Here’s where it gets in­ter­est­ing. By the time this col­umn ap­pears in print and on­line – IFA will be over! So, here’s how we will play this out. I’m go­ing to make five pre­dic­tions about IFA days be­fore the gates open. You’re go­ing to read this af­ter IFA 2016 is done and dusted. Let’s cre­ate a score­card and see how each of my pre­dic­tions fared.

Here are five pre­dic­tions about the IFA, days be­fore the gates open at the con­sumer tech­nol­ogy ex­trav­a­ganza in Ber­lin

Acer Will Break A Few World Records

The bru­tal war to have the thinnest phone has now moved on to note­books and con­vert­ibles. HP and Len­ovo are the cur­rent kings of anorexic de­vices. HP has the car­bon fi­bre Spec­tre 13 that clocks in at 0.41-inch at its thick­est point and cocks a snook at the Ap­ple MacBook at 0.52- now you don’t’ game for a while. In fact, the run­ning joke is that we will see 4K Blu-ray play­ers as soon as the whole in­dus­try moves to 8K TVs. But IFA is where I pre­dict this strange omis­sion will no longer be one. For­mats are more or less de­cided, small pro­to­type level plus silly-priced 4K Blu-ray play­ers are al­ready out. Also, 4K Blu-ray discs are about to be re­leased and it all seems like it is com­ing to­gether. Ex­pect Pana­sonic, Sam­sung, Sony and LG, plus a few more, to an­nounce some natty 4Kers at IFA. I’ve made this pre­dic­tion and yet it’s the one I’m most scep­ti­cal about. The ground is all set for th­ese play­ers – but the in­dus­try has been no­to­ri­ously iffy about ac­tu­ally do­ing it. Hope­fully, this won’t be my first pre­dic­tion to bomb on me.

Smart­watches And Smart­phones Will Be Very Ho-hum

They won’t be bor­ing or any­thing, just that it’s tough to get the world ex­cited about just an­other watch or phone with some tacked-on new fea­ture – when the rest of the event is all about se­ri­ous cut­tingedge in­no­va­tion. Sam­sung should have the Gear S3 smart­watch an­nounced, LG may go down the path of its new flexi phone – the G Flex 3 with added on mod­u­lar fea­tures, Asus will have its Zen­watch 3 with a round face, Huawei will come up with the Mate 9 with a dual-lens setup and may even have its first VR head­set. Philips will show­case its Health watch with med­i­cally cer­ti­fied real-time heart rate mon­i­tor­ing, Sony will have a high-end Xpe­ria smart­phone which once again no one may re­ally care about. All in all, there will be a huge ar­ray of smart­watches and smart­phones an­nounced and shown – but noth­ing to set the mar­ket on fire. Was I right?

What Else?

8K TVs from al­most ev­ery com­pany un­der the sun, at least two self-driv­ing cars, some bril­liant speaker and au­dio tech­nol­ogy, 360-de­gree cam­eras com­ing out of our ears, 3D print­ers that take the ma­te­ri­als used to a whole new level, a de­vice that can make home-brewed beer at the press of a but­ton and a light bulb that is a pro­jec­tor and com­puter built into one and can project on to any sur­face.

Those are my pre­dic­tions. Like I said, as you read this, every­thing will have been re­vealed. All you have to do is look it up. What’s the fi­nal ver­dict? Did I end up with se­ri­ous egg on my face or am I a dig­i­tal sooth­sayer with some su­per po­ten­tial?

GOOD TIMES AHEAD

A de­vice that can make home-brewed beer at the press of a but­ton is also on my list of pre­dic­tions

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