Wednesday, 28 December 2016 07:00

How has technology changed in 2016?


2016 has seen many significant strides in technology and some major setbacks. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle showed us the grim consequences tech failures can lead to. The rise of Donald Trump to soon-to-be president of United States raised eyebrows of the tech-elite who opposed him. The fake news issue created a stir all over and online polls have made us revisit the fundamental ethics of journalism. Virtual reality has got to go mainstream with an all-new start. 
Tech giants such as Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon continued the winning streak of being the most powerful companies in the world. All this happened under the sharp scrutiny of government. 
Amid the apprehensions of fake news and social network’s influence over politics, Mark Zuckerberg finally conceded Facebook is a new age media company , after being known for long to be straddling between media and tech company. 
Amazon’s no-checkout store was a breakthrough which drew focus back to automation and how it kills jobs. 
Google had another eventful year in terms of profit and revenue. The company for the first time launched a smartphone much to the surprise of iPhone users at a time when Apple started losing its sheen. The search giant however, faced severalantitrust charges by European regulators on its increasing sway in search results and its influence over Android handset makers to carry Google’s search as default. 
Uber, Airbnb didn’t go public, Snapchat did. The innovation king Apple was finally out of ideas which saw its first decline in annual revenue since 2001. This happened despite the evident success of the Apple Watch . 

China is moving beyond creating things for others to making brands for its own. The smartphone companies from the next innovation powerhouse have started gaining spotlights with quite a few of them already proved incredibly promising. 

The gadget story of 2016
The South Korean electronics giant Samsung faced the biggest consumer safety catastrophe in history. With the next big launch set to happen in next few months, the company is making sure things are on track before it goes off the ground withGalaxy S8 . Apple went on to ditch the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack on the latest iPhone. 

Virtual reality, the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Amazon Go were amongst the highlights of 2016.
Virtual reality, the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Amazon Go were amongst the highlights of 2016.

Fitbit acquired select assets of Pebble creating trouble for the two million Pebble watch owners out there. Touted as the most innovative company, Snapchat went on to become a hardware company this year. Rebranded as Snap, the company released its new Spectacles sunglasses, which let you take 10-second snippets of video and upload them to Snapchat. 

After years of public hype, virtual reality finally made a serious comeback with VRheadsets from Facebook, Sony, Google and more hitting the market. 
The India story
Prime Minister Modi had scrapped 500 and 1000 rupee notes overnight to draw flak from millions of people forced to queue up in banks and ATMs. In the attempt to curb the black money menace, the proposed move has resulted in a massive mess India has ever seen. 

This came as a big opportunity for digital wallet service companies like Paytm, which has witnessed 1000% growth in money and 435% growth in traffic postdemonetization . 

Net banking and POS machine sales have experienced a never before surge amid the escalating apprehension. 

Reliance shocked the world with the rollout of its Jio 4G LTE networks. The company managed to cross 50 million subscribers in 83 days and is expected to reach 100 million mark in over six months, according to Fitch Ratings. 

The biggest bet of Mukesh Ambani, Jio has grown faster than global tech giants like Facebook or WhatsApp. In fact, Jio has literally shaken the telecom industry with its unmatched voice and data services. 

India continues to be a hotspot for tech giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Year 2016 has seen rollout of several new India-first initiatives. Google Station , launched a year ago to offer free Wi-Fi to the busiest rail stations, has helped connect over 10 million people across 100 stations every day. The railways minister Suresh Prabhu wants to extend free Wi-Fi to another 200 stations by 2017. 

Facebook has failed with its free basic internet plan. But Zuckerberg’s optimism for markets like India continues unabated. 

We, at TechRadar India, made an attempt to look back at some of the best products and technologies of 2016 as we move forward to 2017.

Author : Mastufa Ahmed

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