The development of technology, despite rare exceptions, is an evolutionary process. Devices from year to year pass on to each other the most useful "genes" (read functions), and those that are incapacitated die out. Everything is according to the laws of natural selection. There are even mutations - take at least hybrids of tablets and laptops.
Surprises happen when companies suddenly decide to independently remove from the gene chain what they think is defective. This year, a war for survival was declared at once to two of the most popular connectors on earth at the same time - a 3.5 mm headphone jack and everyone's favorite USB. Apple
can be blamed for this - it is on it that lies most of the responsibility for opening the "era of adapters". First a MacBook with a single Type-C port, then an iPhone 7 with a single Lightning port and a tiny white cord included, then a MacBook Pro with four USB-C ports and no traditional USB.
Apple is Apple, and, naturally, competitors began to copy this approach. The Chinese LeEco, apparently inspired by leaks and rumors, even before the iPhone 7 went on sale, proudly rid their smartphones of the headphone jack. Ultrabooks easily go on sale without USB ports. According to rumors, the Galaxy S8 will also be deprived of the round headphone hole familiar to billions of people.
Port unification, they said. The future, they said. What did it all turn into? You can't plug regular headphones into an iPhone 7 or LeMax 2 without adapters. Without them, you can't insert a flash drive into your MacBook Pro. Not a mouse. No memory card from the camera. Here's what you need to do if you want to charge your iPhone 7 with the new MacBook Pro and still listen to music on your smartphone. Convenient is not the right word!
No joke, Google listed the headphone jack among the advantages of its Pixel smartphone on the website. It's funny, but you can't argue - really dignity. You can even overpay.
It should be understood that both the iPhone 7 and the MacBook are still wonderful devices, in many ways the best in their class, and whoever says otherwise is disingenuous. And digital universal ports are truly the future: through the same connector, you can transfer data, charge the device, and connect it to external monitors. But this future is out there somewhere. Where we roam our apartments in virtual reality helmets and ride electric cars. In the meantime, stock up on adapters.
One of the best smartphones in history has turned into one of the biggest flops. According to this plot, craftsmen from Hollywood can easily make a touching dramatic film.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was created to collect awards for the best smartphone of the year. The ultimate display, ahead of anything on the market. An outstanding camera, photos with which it is not a shame to decorate material in the media. Surprisingly thoughtful industrial design: The smartphone not only looks great, but also surprisingly compact with a huge screen. A huge amount of effort was invested in it, this is noticeable with the naked eye. The Note 7 had everything except non-exploding batteries.
The saga began with a couple of news that somewhere in China, a Galaxy broke out when it was being charged with a non-original charger. Then the catastrophe, in principle, did not bode well: smartphones sometimes light up, it happens, and it happened at one time even with the iPhone. But then the scandal began to flare up at the speed of a forest fire.
The number of explosions is growing. "Non-original" chargers have nothing to do with it - the problem is in the phone batteries. One of the buyers burned down the car in which he was loading his Note. At airports, it is forbidden to carry a smartphone on board aircraft.
Airlines have banned the use of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on their flights due to the threat of an explosion on the device © George Frey / Getty Images
A blow to your reputation. Billions of dollars have been lost. Internet memes.
Samsung hastily recalls smartphones and replaces them with new, supposedly safe ones. The only difference between "safe" smartphones and "dangerous" ones is that they come in a box with a special mark - they explode in the same way. Sales are winding down. The Note 7 cannot be saved. Sorry.
What does the Galaxy Note story teach? Sometimes ambition can lead to a minefield.
Virtual reality is like an abstract “bright future”: it seems about to come, but this “just about” has been going on for many years. 2016 had all the chances to become a new starting point. Three helmets went on sale at once, in theory really capable of changing the state of affairs: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. All three are good in their own way, but there is practically no need to buy any of them.
© Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
First, it's expensive: the Rift and Vive will cost around $ 700, and that's not counting the mandatory spending on a powerful computer that can handle them. But the main problem is the lack of content. You just have nothing to do with your devices. Even for the PlayStation VR, which is generally positioned as a gaming one, these very games are very few, and those that exist are unlikely to be able to delight the modern gamer. Look at a friend, appreciate the immersion effect - great, buy yourself a home - no thanks.
And it is unlikely that something will change especially in the next year, judging by how reluctant developers are to create games and applications for virtual reality. Helmets for smartphones are developing most actively, but with them everything is still not so simple. Although, perhaps, it is this niche of VR devices that will develop most actively.
Down to earth
GoPro has already left its mark on technology history. The company's action cameras have changed video forever, giving us thousands of minutes of top-notch first-person footage. We were able to see the world through the eyes of parachutists and skydivers, slide down a snowy slope lost in the Alps, climb an impregnable mountain peak - all this without getting up from a chair. Yes, one "Hardcore" by Ilya Nayshuller should be applauded by the company's engineers - after all, the tracer and stuntman Sergei Valyaev created the camera for shooting this film on the basis of GoPro Hero. But the company has not been doing very well lately. Camera sales are still falling - either people have played enough, or do not see the point in updating every year. And 2016 showed that when it comes to GoPro, it is not only sales that can fall.
In September, the company unveiled Karma, a compact foldable drone that can fit into a regular briefcase. It was supposed to organically enter the GoPro product line: action cameras are ideal for first-person shooting, a quadcopter - for "high-altitude" and panoramic. From such a footage, in theory, you could edit impressive videos about how you spent this summer.
But many Karma buyers are unlikely to succeed - the drone simply turns off in mid-flight and falls to the ground with a hit bird. The Internet is outraged: angry user reviews turn into global recalls of products from stores. GoPro continues to suffer losses.
Experts believe that the reason for Karma's failure is a lack of experience. After all, drones are "air" robots, and when creating them, you need to take into account a lot of nuances and subtleties.
The market leader, DJI, had several years of head start to address all the design flaws of their quadcopters. But they also burned - one of the Phantom models, for example, had a battery failure in the air. But the mass buyer should not be interested in the answer to the question “who is to blame”. You just shouldn't buy Karma, even if you're a dedicated GoPro fan.
Can't collect anymore
The idea of smartphones-constructors seems attractive even now, when it is already known that it “did not take off”. Broke the screen - came to the store, bought a new one, replaced it. Independently, in a couple of minutes, without additional tools. Want a better camera? We came to the store, bought a new one, replaced it. Etc.
This idea was to be embodied in Project Ara - a project of a modular Google smartphone, on which the company's engineers have been working for years. And almost everything seemed to work out, we were shown photographs, and some journalists even managed to use such a device in the laboratory of the search giant - but it did not grow together. In September, Google confirmed that it was temporarily scrapping development of Ara, without giving any specific reasons. Most likely, the engineers never managed to figure out how to successfully combine a nice design with a modular concept. Or it was simply decided to direct all efforts to create and promote the Pixel, a “traditional” smartphone that is now harvesting the “best Android smartphone in history” awards from the specialized press.
Google is n't the only one who has tried to flirt with modularity. Moreover, one of the companies even released a "transforming smartphone" on the market, but now it is almost forgotten - LG G5. Its lower part was removable, and different modules could be put in its place: an additional battery with camera control buttons and a digital-to-analog converter for improving sound quality. You do not particularly need either one or the other, because the idea of the Koreans can be called brilliant, and the implementation is unsuccessful. Otherwise, the G5 is a very good smartphone, no more, no less.>