GADGETS

Here are the 2021 tech winners


Although this year is by no means one to celebrate, there are still some bright spots in the world of technology. We admitted a lot of hate: NFT somehow won this year. They have taken over. Reddit traders also deserve credit for the way they were able to show GameStop’s tagline, “Power to Gamers.”

Also (and this may be the most painful one to admit), the Metaverse (Sorta) has taken off this year. At least in terms of our dictionary, referring to a word that has skyrocketed since Mark Zuckerberg uttered it while announcing a plan for a richer world of virtual and augmented reality. Perhaps people were confused between “metaverse” and “multiverse” as in Doctor Strange in a multiverse of madness?

Besides the things we love to hate, there are a few products we loved this year, too. Apple continued to impress with the M1 chipset, and most importantly, it gave users a way to fix their own (kinda) hardware. Google’s first-ever mobile chip powers smart experiences on the latest Pixel phones and showcases the company’s prowess in AI and software at a competitive price. As we continue to be bombarded with sad news every day, it is worth taking the time to reflect on the gains this year, however small they may be.

Noam Gallay via Getty Images

NFTs

2021 hasn’t been a quiet year, so the NFTs deserve something close to being commended for securing a place on the highlights reel. NFTs, or Non-Foldable Tokens, are an attempt to create an immutable digital asset in an environment where such a thing has historically been difficult. For industry proponents, it’s a way to impose a form of scarcity on digital artifacts that you can’t easily make rare. Anyone can right-click and save an image of a monkey wearing sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt after all. But only a person who has paid a lot of money for an NFT can call himself the “owner” of the same. As Nietzsche did not say, NFTs are the accepted lie, indicating that people respect the owner of the certified copy of one thing over everything else.

To date, the biggest and most notable moves in the NFT space have taken place in the art market, with pieces being bought and sold at staggering numbers. On March 11, digital artist Beeple . sold out Every day: the first 5,000 days At Christie’s Auctions for $69,346,250. These huge sums, in the minds of some people, are justified because they believe that NFTs will become the new cryptocurrency, as everyone is trying to get on the bandwagon before it gets big. After all, there are plenty of people who got rich during the bitcoin boom who want to further enhance their fortunes, while some who are now left behind are hoping to hit the ground floor of the next big thing. At the same time, others think that the big craze for NFTs right now is to help people move large amounts of money away from sponsorship, you know, organizers.

The NFT market is so overwhelmed with the cash of the speculators that it is only natural that you have… questions. newly Harvard Business Review The article talks about how trading can’t work without “clear equity”, which NFTs help enforce. There is also the question of whether NFTs can enable more reliable and secure ticket and permit systems? I’ll be honest, I’m personally not convinced by the argument that NFTs offer equity, because they don’t necessarily give the buyer proper equity.

However, these issues will be resolved over the next few years, and we won’t see if the NFTs have any residual value only when the speculation ends. Hey, not every deep-tech crypto-proprietorship gets its SNL chart soon after it hits the mainstream, right.

Daniel Cooper

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent the term, but by rebranding Facebook as “Meta,” he helped launch a wave of interest in the metaverse. While it was originally a dystopian view of cyberspace via Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, the metaverse now represents the internet’s next big gold. You can think of it as a logical step forward from the mobile internet, a world where our online experiences can easily move between multiple devices. And eventually, it could be something that we interact with via augmented reality and virtual reality glasses.

To be clear, we still don’t have an exact idea of ​​what the metaverse will be like. Renaming Meta can easily be seen as a way for Zuckerberg to avoid his responsibilities as the leader of a fundamentally broken social media company. But other companies have been exploring that idea for years: Microsoft’s HoloLens has proven surprisingly useful for business and frontline workers, and it’s also key to Mesh, the company’s ambitious solution for virtual meetings. Google’s Borg-like glass has been widely derided, but its failure hasn’t stopped Google from considering its role in the metaverse, either.

It might take a killer new hardware, like Apple’s legendary augmented reality glasses, to focus the image on the metaverse. Or maybe it’s going the way of wearables — a class of devices that are useful to some people, but not necessarily essential to everyone. Either way, it’s something that will forever be associated with 2021.

Devendra Hardwar

Home fitness technology is here to stay

As the pandemic has kept many of us indoors and out of the gyms, companies like Peloton, Apple, Tonal, and even Amazon have managed to draw us into new fitness habits and equipment.

Apple Fitness Plus

An apple

Meanwhile, major fitness studios and gyms such as Equinox, Soulcycle, Orange Theory, and F45 have modified their online services (while some are built from scratch). Many companies have expanded options for replayable classes or added live lessons, leaderboards and more in an effort to keep members fit — and keep membership dues coming in.

COVID-19 has presented an opportunity to change exercise habits and reduce gym costs. Why pay $50 for an intense interval gym membership when I can track myself in Apple’s Fitness Plus classes, share with my friends and hop in my own shower, all for just $10 a month?

Of course, the comparison is not oranges to oranges, and despite the encouragement of peloton coaches and the formation of corrections from gym coaches via live video broadcasts, it is very difficult to get the degree of interest gained from personal training. This is probably one of the reasons why workout injuries at home are higher than ever. The Wall Street Journal It reported that emergency room visits after home workouts increased more than 48% from the end of 2019 through the end of 2020, according to a survey by Medicare Advantage.

However, just as traditional gyms did when the pandemic first emerged, these companies have to figure out how to hold on to their customers.

Woman using a wall-mounted Tonal exercise system, performing a pull-up.

tonal

Tonal is a “peloton weight training” product that Engadget tested back in 2018. When the usual bench press machines and squat racks have been shut down inside gyms for the past year and a half, Tonal has seen demand for a resistance-training system rocket. Sales grew more than eight times year on year. In an effort to retain these new customers, the company recently introduced live lessons for Tonal owners, with direct feedback from instructors and classes calibrated for each user.

Meanwhile, Peloton, arguably the most well-known home fitness company, faces more competition from (and litigation) competitors and tougher business expectations. After a rough earnings report in November, the company said it doesn’t expect to be profitable again until 2023. worst, Her bike participated in the death of an important figure in Sex and the City Reboot, and like that. But the company has plans (and cheeky responses). It was incorporated into many corporate fitness plans, launched its first workout game, announced a fitness cam for strength training and finally – added a pause button.

The challenge is to prevent many of us from returning to our old gyms, cycling, or our old, less healthy habits when things eventually return to normal.

Matt Smith



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