Tech talk: 2014 summary and what to expect in 2015

Facebook, Apple, Google and Intel continued to compete to acquire the hottest up-and-coming startups.

Pope uses tablet to illuminate world's biggest christmas tree in Italy (photo credit: screenshot)
Pope uses tablet to illuminate world's biggest christmas tree in Italy
(photo credit: screenshot)
This year was an amazing year in the world of technology that saw many new innovations, apps and IoT devices that connect with the cloud come to market. Facebook, Apple, Google and Intel continued to compete to acquire the hottest up-and-coming startups that would boost them up above their competitors. Samsung, on the other hand, lost strength, while Chinese android manufacturers excelled.
Phablets are large smartphones with large screens and strong batteries.
They grew in popularity this year, especially the Note 4, iPhone 6 Plus and LG G3. Their presence was felt so strongly that sales of mini tablets with similar-size screens fell dramatically. In the past, these devices, which sell for around NIS 1,000, were considered too large, but consumers now realize that they are a great buy.
Many of these low-cost Chinese knockoffs are considered to be very quality products. One of the most popular phablets is the LG G2 Mini that sells for NIS 950 and the One Plus One, which sells for $350 overseas.
Sales of large tablets (9 inches to 10 inches) has plateaued, and it appears consumers are no longer buying newer versions to replace older ones just to see what improvements it has over older versions.
Smart TVs are 55-inch screens that connect to the Internet and on which you can stream movies.
They can be purchased in Israel for between NIS 5,000 and NIS 7,000. Samsung and LG are the most popular brands.
Crowdfunding is becoming accepted more and more as a legitimate way to raise funds and at the same time carry out public- relations campaigns.
One example is a new cooler chest called Coolest, which includes a blender, a USB charger, a waterproof bluetooth speaker, LED lighting and a bottle opener. Another amazing product is a wireless smart headset called The Dash, which is the world’s first in-ear headphone that also carries out performance tracking, has body sensors and fits securely.
The field of robotics is expected to develop greatly over the upcoming year. Robots will take the place of servants, dishwashers, barmen and tour guides.
They will drive cars, communicate with all the other driver-less cars out on the road, take the roads with the least amount of traffic and reduce the number of traffic accidents.
Drones are quickly making their way into the market as companies such as Amazon use them for delivery services and businesses begin utilizing them in sports photography, personal security and extreme sports.
Anonymous apps
Anonymous social apps such as Whisper and Secret make sharing your deepest, darkest secrets online so much easier. An interesting project called Blackphone provides encryption for phone calls, emails, texts and Internet browsing.
Wearable technology
More and more wearable technology will be integrated into the market, such as shirts that take your pulse, health wristbands that calculate how many calories you eat and health stickers and pills that can chart your health just as well as invasive procedures.
Medicine and technology
We still have so much to learn in the field of medical technology, and engineers are actively engaged in pursuing new life-saving devices for the early detection of disease.
3-D printing
3-D printers have improved greatly over the last few years, and we should expect to continue seeing more accurate products and lower prices. 3-D printers will begin producing objects using the raw materials themselves; for example, making iron objects out of iron molecules.
The 3-D printing industry is still in its infancy, but the cost of producing prototypes and the 3-D factory is falling. A store in Jerusalem similar to stores around the world has opened where you can pay to have a product printed in 3-D, saving you the great expense of having to purchase a printer yourself.
A number of technology companies are busy building more accurate weather-forecasting models.
Who knows, we might even be able to predict when the rain will begin down to the minute.
Virtual-reality glasses
In 2015, people will begin walking around wearing glasses with cellphones embedded inside them. When you’re wearing virtual-reality glasses, you can watch movies, play games and do pretty anything you normally do on your phone. Google glasses are pretty amazing, but they still pale in comparison with devices that are set to come out in 2015.
Third-world countries
In 2015, many developing countries will become connected to the Internet. Facebook and Google are making great efforts to connect developing countries to the global world, and they are coming out with cellphones that cost only $50.
More and more payments can be made on the new iPhone. In the near future, we will be able to make most of our payments using biometric identification on our cellphones.
If you run a young startup, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact [email protected]
Translated by Hannah Hochner.