2016 has been a busy year! We are here to discuss everything that happened in the year – top tech stories, news, highlights, lowlights and everything that 2016 meant to us. So grab your stale champagne and heat it up with your burning Galaxy Note 7 as we mull over “2016 The Year in Review”.
The Biggest Tech Stories of 2016
We begin to talk about the single biggest tech story that happened in 2016. Ben starts with the release of Pokémon GO and what it meant for the mainstreaming of augmented reality (AR) and nostalgia. Ben remembers the first popular AR app, named Layar. He also discusses everything that Niantic could have done better with Pokémon GO. Mark announces his biggest tech story as the mainstreaming of artificial intelligence and machine learning. From self-driving cars to voice assistants, we are seeing it pop up in everything! We talk about what the future can look like when ‘the rise of the machines’ happens, essentially taking over most jobs from us humans.
The Lowest Tech Event of 2016
Both Ben and Mark come to the agreement that the worst event for technology in 2016 was the absolute total failure of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
Me at the beginning of 2016 vs me at the end of 2016. pic.twitter.com/AJOPc7x3Uq
— Ben Rogers (@BenRogersWPG) December 31, 2016
It instantly became a joke for Samsung:
It hit the pop culture, mainstream media covered it EVERYWHERE. Even every flight would announce that you couldn’t fly with your Note 7 and made it illegal to do so. We both feel this really helped pave the way for mass adoption of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
There’s even more people using the Note 7 than other phone models still today!
Mark discusses the removal of the 3.5mm headphone adapter and how it is changing the game for Bluetooth audio and set the standard for wireless audio, even though it affected the Apple community when it was released.
Tech Improvements in 2016
We saw the future of virtual reality (VR) through the HTC Vive. Although both Mark and I agreed that VR has slowed way down since the summer. It was on all the YouTube gamer channels and on all the morning television shows when it first released, but now we don’t see anyone using it anymore.
The Demise of Pebble
Ben was a backer of the Pebble Time 2 which showed much promise, which was cancelled last month as FitBit purchased Pebble. What this means for the wearable community and for smartwatch hardware developments in the future. Ben, on the other hand, still believes in wearables and has just purchased an ASUS ZenWatch 2. The challenges of wearables are: the price, the battery life, among other factors.
The Demise of BlackBerry and Windows Phone
Mark talks about how the ramping developments of Android and iOS have made BlackBerry and Windows Phones obsolete, with development of new hardware and software set to a near standstill. Mark predicts that Windows 10 will run on phones, not having Windows Phone OS, but just a device that runs native Windows 10, allowing even Win32 apps to run.
2016 for Google
Google released Duo, which was essentially FaceTime but with the video reel starting when making the call. Ben reports that problem #1 was the fact that you needed to install it, and it didn’t come native on the OS. Next, Allo. Allo was highly anticipated with predictive responses, GIFs and a huge selection of emoji. Another similar problem is they didn’t just take the Allo features and bake them into Hangouts, which everyone already uses. Ben wonders if there isn’t a ‘Pidgin’ multi-messaging app for Android, or one that is more popular. Google also killed a bunch of apps and services as they normally do – in combination with their new Alphabet company structure roll-out (Google Fiber, for example).
2016 for Apple
Apple had a similar year to Google where it was more of a ‘maintenance year’ and not a year where a lot of innovation or breakthroughs surfaced, but all-in-all Apple had a good year. Ben does really like the camera of the iPhone 7 Plus, although he is an Android guy. He thinks that they should have had 4 variants of the iPhone 7 with 2 size variants having a 3.5mm headphone jack. We talk about the new AirPods – how they work, how they charge and everything about their connectivity.
2016 for Microsoft
Microsoft had a good year, backing off of the big success of Windows 10 (Editor’s Note: we weren’t sure when it released in the podcast – it was July 2015). They are making lots of great cross-platform changes and cloud operating options. Mark thinks that Microsoft is making lots of steps in the right direction. We both rant about the setting menus in Windows 10 and how certain settings look nice and W10 style, but some look W32 and it confuses us both all the time – a bad user interface decision. Ben and Mark conclude their Microsoft 2016 the year in review about the Microsoft Ribbon and why it never really took off.
We predict the Galaxy S8 and all its glory. Mark and Ben don’t see anything coming in the way of a new Pixel phone until late 2017, but Mark believes it will be released some time in the year. Ben noted how Google is working on the final steps of the Android Wear 2.0 update that will feature two Google-branded smartwatch models in early 2017. He also wonders if Apple will release an iPhone 7 S or iPhone 7 Plus S and Mark believes that Apple will release both the iPhone 8 in 2017 because it is their 10-year anniversary as well as an ‘iPhone 7S+Plus whatever-they-name-it’. Saying he always wanted a phone that has a size as big as the smaller tablets of yesteryear, Ben notes the tablet and phone sizes are quickly colliding in the middle.
In 2016 the year in review covered lots of smart cars throughtout our podcasts. We definitely predict more smart cars – with Tesla and Uber going forward.
We saw many developments in drugs – with the horrific rise in theranos. Fake news and echo chambers being a huge issue on social media and mainstream media. We want to host another podcast soon to wrap up a little more of the 2016/2017 key points.
Tech in 2017
We also see a huge rise in AI, new Apple desktops, and the continuation of the demise of Intel as their fortunes plummet. How the Google Home and Amazon Echo are in everyone’s homes. Much more weird stuff in the way of cable companies and Netflix and everything digital.
Most of All
The biggest prediction for 2017 is that we foresee more of us. More of The Incoherent Podcast recording soon and more frequently than of late (aiming for more than 3 podcasts in a year!).