Someone asked recently whether or not I felt that the days of major technological breakthroughs were behind us. To this, I say absolutely not. Mankind will constantly strive to achieve new heights in technology as we continue to discover new ways to create and understand technology. Here are five recent technological advances in consumer electronics:
Until recently, touch screens were clumsy and inaccurate in general. This meant that either your area of selection needed to be wide enough to compensate for the resistive screen, or you needed to use a stylus to pinpoint your area of selection. Portable devices such as the Palm Handspring have been around for over a decade, though the requirement of a stylus and clumsy interface kept it from really taking off.
More recently, multi-touch devices have found their way to the consumer market. This technology allows users to use multiple fingers to create gestures that are translated to commands quickly. Computing platforms including all-in-one computers, mobile phones, tablets, and even some television remote controls have adopted the technology to allow users to use their fingers to navigate through a seemingly endless amount of applications.
Whether or not you consider 3D televisions to be a fad, it has certainly had an impact on the world of consumer electronics. Now, instead of having to go to a movie theater to see your favorite film in 3D, you can take the experience home. While 3D technology has been around for some time, recent advances in how video is captured coupled with a renewed consumer interest has created a lively market for the content.
In the next five years, will every new television sold have 3D capabilities? All indications at present are that this is certainly a possibility.
HD Video Recording
If you remember how consumer video cameras and camcorders looked and worked five years ago, you might laugh at what dominated the market at the time. We are able to record, and even transmit, video in full HD from our phones when only a few years ago most televisions weren’t even capable of displaying video that by today’s standards is relatively low quality.
In terms of typical web video sizes, 320×240 and 640×480 are moving aside in favor of 1280×720 and 1920×1080 with 4k and higher resolutions in sight. The discussion has become less about will video quality eventually match reality, but about when.
What do most smartphones, tablet computers, netbooks, and low-powered desktops have in common? They are made possible by small, ultra-low-voltage CPUs. These microprocessors allow small devices with minimal cooling capabilities to operate with enough computing power to handle a fully-functional OS like Windows or Linux. In addition to a smaller form factor and low heat output, battery life can be dramatically improved thanks to their relatively small energy footprint.
This is a broad area of advancement as so many independent improvements have been made in recent years, the days of having dozens of wires tangled behind your desk are quickly coming to a close.
Bluetooth keyboards and mice are becoming standard, Wi-Fi standards have improved to the point where connections are more fast and reliable, mobile broadband is becoming available in more areas with some speeds meeting or exceeding that of their wired cable or DSL counterparts, and even wireless charging is possible.