What a year for tech.
For every hack, exploding smartphone or imploding startup, there were just as many memorable highlights. For the first time ever, the presidential debates were livestreamed to Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB). Augmented reality went mainstream in a big way, thanks to the runaway success of a smartphone app called “Pokémon Go.” And Amazon (AMZN) made good on CEO Jeff Bezos’ pledge to deliver orders by drone.
Ignite takes a look back at some of 2016’s best moments in tech.
The Tech Industry Became More Politically Engaged
The Debates Got the Full Livestream Treatment
‘Pokémon Go’ Popularized Augmented Reality
Hyperloop Got a Little More Real
Musk first alluded to the idea in 2012 during a tech talk in Los Angeles. However, it wasn’t until the following year when a preliminary design document hit, proposing a 35-minute route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Delivery By Drone Got Serious
As for Amazon? The Seattle-based tech giant made good on CEO Jeff Bezos’ pledge last year to make Amazon delivery drones a reality. This December, Amazon announced a small pilot program in the UK where two shoppers — yes, two — can now order goods by drone. The first delivery: an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn, transported in just 13 minutes.
Snapchat Got Into Hardware
The successful launch of Snapchat’s Spectacles managed what other tech product launches this year failed to do: incite intrigue and excitement. Chalk that up in part to a brilliant marketing campaign that involved hip advertisements with models and yellow vending machines serving as temporary storefronts for the glasses, a pair of $130 eyewear which can record short video snippets that automatically save to the Snapchat app.
The launch of Spectacles proved a ballsy move from CEO Evan Spiegel, but probably not a surprise. The Venice, Calif.-based startup, which now attracts over 60 million daily active users in the US, plans on going public as early as March 2017 with a valuation of between $20 billion and $25 billion.
Amazon’s Echo Dot Brings A.I. to the Masses
Amazon’s voice-activated robot assistant Alexa certainly wasn’t the first of its kind, but it paved the way for other less advanced competitors, like Google Home. Earlier this year, the tech giant released Amazon’s Echo Dot, a puck-shaped speaker powered by Alexa that puts virtual assistants within easy reach of most consumers at just $50.
For something so compact, Alexa does a lot, like answer questions, read the news, play music and set timers, alarms and alerts. But it was Alexa’s smart home integration that really made the so-called “Internet of Things” a reality, connecting and controlling disparate devices with simple voice commands. Want the lights dimmed? Have Alexa do it. How about cooling down the room a few degrees? Ditto. Now that’s magical.
SOURCE: Yahoo Finance, December 2016