The new year is almost upon us and with it comes a cyborg’s suitcase full of the gadgets vying for your body. It’s the year of wearables, but that doesn’t mean smart homes, 4K TV, games, tablets, cars or laptops are not going to amaze.
Here are our predictions for what to expect in 2014 - predictions based on everything we’ve seen and heard from the industry in 2013. So don’t go saving up for a walking TV if we mention it; we might still have a slight Christmas food coma.
This is the year that smart glasses from Google break out from developer-only status and go on sale to the world. We already know that Google Glass 2 is coming soon as developers have been told they can swap their Explorer models for the new ones. But when they will become available to buy isn’t clear.
The thing about Glass is Google knows it’s a big step so it’s taking it slowly. This is to make sure it’s not only perfect as hardware but also has an apps ecosystem ready to go. For that reason no release date is set and Google is not in a rush. Although with other manufacturers powering ahead Google needs to make a move.
With the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3 coming to Europe in 2014, electric cars are really going to start to make an impact on the market. More electric charging stations are planned nationwide, with even more crammed into cities. Also a lot of charging station will be fast chargers so you need only stop for a coffee before carrying on all over the country.
While these cars and motorbikes will be here in greater numbers in 2014 they will still be for those with a bit more cash to splash. But with the Nissan Leaf getting older you should start to see the second-hand car market feature full electric cars too.
Commercial space flights
Virgin Galactic will be in full swing in 2014, after its August maiden flight, dishing out space trips to those who can afford the £156,000 fare. Of course Virgin does accept Bitcoin so anybody who clead up in buying them early may be in with a chance.
For everyone else, this may be the year of seeing people living on the streets boasting about their trip to space, before asking you for change.
4K TV content
With Netflix announcing it will be streaming the next series of its award-winning House of Cards in 4K this is just the start. Most films are already shot in 4K these days so the content is out there, it’s just awaiting someone to distribute the stuff. If Netflix cracks streaming 4K over current internet connections it will be only a matter of waiting for 4K TV prices to drop.
Since plenty of new 4K TVs will be coming out this year the prices should drop soon. Then it’s 4K, HDR TV and films that we can expect from everyone as Sky and the BBC follow closely behind. Since 4K appears to be the first new medium that will be internet only, this could be a quicker uptake than we saw for HD.
As wearable tech starts to take a bigger hold on the gadget market, clothing brands are going to want in on the action. Expect to see smart feedback trainers that tell you if you’re running well via an app. Be prepared to see flashing lights on bangles, bracelets and belts as people opt to be notified by their phone without having it near them.
And get ready to unlock your front door using your mobile as smart locks become more mainstream. Say goodbye to heart rate monitors as they get integrated into watches and fitness tracking bands as well as stitching them right into smart T-shirts that feedback your vitals to your mobile.
A trainer or shoe that uses the pressure of your step to charge a device has been coming along and may just make it to shops this year. Imagine the incentive to take exercise and charge your device all at the same time. Need to run to a meeting as you’re late? At least your phone will be juiced up when you arrive so you can nod along while playing Angry Birds throughout.
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2
After a great response to the Galaxy Gear, Samsung is set to unveil an upgraded version - hopefully with some apps this time.
The new Galaxy Gear 2 should feature its own built-in GPS - this would be brilliant coupled with that 4GB on-board memory. With the watch running apps and music you could leave your phone at home when out on a run.
Moving flexible OLED TVs
Samsung and LG are both due to show off flexible OLED screens at CES that move to suit your viewing angle. Following that could be the release of this new type of television, just like last year saw curved OLEDs hitting the shops.
Although with OLEDs alreaady priced highly, let alone curved OLEDs, we can only imagine how long it will take for flexible curved OLEDs to become affordable.
Apple iPhone 6 and iWatch
What guide to the future year of gadgets would be complete without an iPhone mention somewhere? This year has been one of incremental improvements for Apple - the main headlines populated with talk of a new budget handset - so for Apple to improve, 2014 will have to impress.
We’re expecting another jump in size for the iPhone and perhaps, following in the footsteps of the popular Samsung Note 3 and Galaxy Gear combo, it will come with an iWatch. A larger phone is harder to remove from your pocket and this is the year of wearable gadgets, so it seems like the ideal time for Apple to size-up and introduce its iWatch, at last.
Affordable 3D printing
We'll see the arrival of a host of affordable 3D printers in 2014. At the pricier end we'll see advanced printers with new types of materials that can be printed.
But 3D printing, much like 4K TV, isn’t just about the hardware but also the software. As 3D scanners become more common, simple to use, and affordable, the Thingiverse will grow. This is the online resource where blueprints for 3D printable objects can be found, uploaded and shared. Much the same as Torrentz and online streaming grew when online bandwidth was great enough to support it, so too will the Thingiverse fill will objects as scanning and printing becomes more affordable, simplified and accessible.