Tech in 2016
Why we’re excited about the year ahead
Welcome to another issue of PC Advisor r and let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year. One of the most common questions at the start of a year is, “What’s going to be the most exciting new tech?” Most experts are predicting that virtual reality (VR) will take off in 2016, but it remains to be seen whether products such as the Oculus Rift, and rivals from Samsung, HTC and Microsoft, will persuade enthusiasts to part with their cash.
The most compelling use of VR for home users is gaming, but there are plenty of other things you can do with a VR headset, including watching 360-degree movies, taking virtual tours of places you’re unlikely to visit in person, and experiencing more immersive simulations than you get with a flat PC monitor, such as driving a tank or train.
Don’t forget that you can try virtual reality with your smartphone by buying a Google Cardboard headset for around £10 and downloading the Cardboard app from the Google Play store, or the App Store on an iPhone.
Aside from VR, 2016 isn’t likely to be a breakthrough year for new technology. We’ll see incremental improvements in phones, tablets, cameras, and smart home (or IoT) gadgets will become more commonplace.
One relatively new gadget is the dash cam. We’ve rounded up a selection on page 76. These cameras record video while you’re driving and provide time-stamped evidence which you might be able to use to prove whose fault it was if you’re ever involved in an accident. Some insurance companies will give you a discount off your premium for using a dash cam, too.
4K TVs will begin to replace HD sets this year as prices tumble even further, and broadcasters (and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon) will increase their 4K content. BT is one of the first broadcasters to have a 4K channel, although you need a fast broadband connection to receive it. We’ve checked it out on page 52.
Microsoft has made some predictions for 2016, which we’ve summarised on page 146. One is that internet TV will overtake broadcast TV, as more people choose to watch live or on-demand via the web than through an aerial, satellite dish or cable.
2015 was a big year for Microsoft, putting its “cloud first, mobile first” philosophy into practice. Windows 10 launched to mixed reviews, and Windows Phone slumped even further in popularity. We’ve taken a closer look at the hits, misses and plain crazy things the company has been up to on page 14, and reviewed the new Windows 10 phone it hopes will restore its fortunes in the smartphone world on page 30.