With Christmas barely behind us, what better way to kick off the new year than a look ahead at some of the exciting new tech arriving in 2018.
Last year was a great year for technology. We discovered a new way to play thanks to the Nintendo Switch and the incredible Xbox One X. Apple unveiled its milestone smartphone, the iPhone X and Google impressed the world with its Pixel 2. Plus, the era of remote control drones finally took off – excuse the pun!
So, what can we expect this year?
Here’s one for the Apple fans among us. Announced back in June last year, the Apple HomePod is set to go on sale in the next few weeks. HomePod is Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker powered by Siri, which is capable of delivering top quality audio along with a host of other smart features.
There is already a lot of competition in this market, with Google Home, Amazon Echo and more recently, the Sonos One, and the designs are all fairly similar. A cylindrical pod covered in a mesh fabric with a touch-sensitive display on top. However, unlike Amazon and Google, Apple are promoting the HomePod as a music speaker first and foremost, boasting very heavily about the sound quality, spatial awareness technology and its integration with Apple Music.
HomePod isn’t just great at playing your music, it also helps with everyday household questions and tasks. With the functionality of Siri you can control all of your smart home accessories using your voice.
We’re excited to see if this one lives up to the hype and if you’re already committed to the Apple brand then will this be the home speaker for you?
Samsung Galaxy X
If rumours are true, this year could see Samsung introduce the world’s first foldable phone – although, there have been whispers that this may now be delayed until early 2019. The so-called Galaxy X is expected to boast a 5-inch 4K display which will fold-out to reveal a flexible 7-inch OLED panel, giving you the option to use it as both a phone and a tablet – pretty snazzy stuff. The Galaxy X may also feature a dual-camera on the rear and one of the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
According to industry sources, Samsung plans to begin manufacturing its new folding OLED panels in September, ready for release late this year. This could be a huge step forward for the future of smartphones.
Oculus Go VR Headset
The Oculus Go was unveiled by Facebook in October as an ‘affordable virtual reality device’, looking to fill the void between smartphone VR technology, such as the Samsung Gear and the rather-more pricey PC alternatives.
The Oculus Go allows you to experience VR gaming with no need for a smartphone, PC or any wires. This all-in-one headset includes a fast-switch LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, breathable mesh fabric and improved lenses to reduce the feeling of motion sickness.
Spatial audio is built directly into the headset to deliver a more immersive experience, however if you want a bit more privacy, you can connect your own headphones via the 3.5mm audio jack.
The Oculus Go should be a great entry-level device for those of you looking for your first taste of VR gaming.
Apple Watch 4
Apple tend to reveal their Apple Watch updates in September, so we’ve still got a while to wait before we hear any concrete details on this next generation version.
That being said, there are already several rumours floating around, including a longer battery life, improved health features and maybe even a change in shape to a circular display. Apple have a patent in place from 2015, which shows a strap containing an in-built battery connected to a round watch face.
Another whisper we’ve heard is regarding a self-adjusting watch strap, which would allow for a comfortable fit at all times as well as increased accuracy from the encased sensors. It’s very unlikely that we’ll see a fully integrated display strap though, but with Samsung’s recent advances in flexible screens, it could be a sign of things to come.
Some things we can expect are the usual improvements to the technology, such as an improved chipset, better cellular connectivity and an update to the operating system, likely to be WatchOS 5.
This is definitely one to keep an eye on and hopefully more details will emerge soon. Watch this space!
HP Envy x2
One of the biggest announcements in 2018 regarding laptops is the ability to run Windows on Snapdragon-powered computers. For those of you that haven’t heard of Snapdragon before, it is essentially a very powerful processing unit used primarily in Android and Windows smartphones and now more recently, laptops and other devices. The Envy x2 is one of the first detachable laptops to demonstrate the new technology, combining Windows 10 with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. The result is a super-efficient laptop with amazing battery life, performance and connectivity.
HP say the Envy x2 will last up to 20 hours in use (full video playback), with a stand-by time quoted at an incredible 700 hours. In fact, Microsoft believe you will be able to use this device for up to a week without charging. And when you do finally need some juice, it should only take an hour and a half to recharge 90% of the battery.
The NovaGo by Asus will also take advantage of this new technology, with others such as Lenovo, following suit throughout the year.
So how can you get your hands on all this great tech?
With a Let’s Connect Technology and Smartphone scheme, ran through your employer, you can access a wide range of the latest technology and spread the cost with affordable monthly payments direct from your salary. To find out if your employer is running a benefit scheme this year, please contact your HR or finance director and keep an eye out for more details.
If you would like more information on running a Let’s Connect employee scheme for your organisation, simply complete the enquiry form below or call one of our employee benefit consultants on 0330 2000 231 – we would be only too happy to help.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The Let’s Connect Team