2016 was truly one of the most baffling periods for technology teeming with a series of significant iterations and trends being instituted. While the majority of companies steered throughout the year quite conventionally and righteously followed their usual roadmap, there were a bunch of them who startled the crowd by an announcement no one was particularly expecting. Of course, we are discounting the crazy crowdfunding projects which continue to experiment and only sticking to established names.
1. Snapchat Spectacles
Snapchat’s foray into the hardware segment came as a surprise as they’ve been purely a software company for years. Spectacles essentially lets you record small clips from a camera embedded in the sunglasses and upload it to Snapchat. Furthermore, their marketing approach is also considered one of a kind which included setting up cute yellow vending machines in public spots and customers can buy them like soda except in the Spectacles’ case by paying $129. We know Snapchat (now Snap Inc) is not a conventional company, but even then this was a surprising move.
2. Surface Studio
Microsoft extended its hardware lineup this year with an all-in-one desktop computer, the Surface Studio. It is primarily designed to lure in designers through the enormous touchscreen and the additional accessory, Surface Dial which can be placed over the display for revealing menus such as color palette, brush strokes, and more. The Surface Studio is expected to play a key role in how consumers reckon Windows PCs and Microsoft aims to fabricate a comprehensive platform for artists. Have I mentioned how I’m loving this new Microsoft under Satya Nadella? Now I have!
3. Mi Mix
Of course, Xiaomi’s bezel-less coup made our list of uncanny releases. The Mi Mix was truly a startling announcement due to a bewildering scarcity of rumors and leaks around the internet. You probably already know this but if you don’t, the Mi Mix is a 6.4-inch smartphone with an astounding screen-to-body ratio. The phone is available in some selected regions in a limited quantity with a price tag of CNY 3,499. And yes, it’s marketed as a ‘concept phone’ for obvious reasons.
4. Amazon Go
Amazon dropped a bombshell this year when they officiated “Amazon Go” out of nowhere.
Amazon Go takes retail shopping a step further than the brick and mortar supermarkets by bringing a checkout-less service where you can just walk in a compatible store, pick any product off the shelves and walk out by scanning a unique code. There are no checkout queues, no hassle for change, basically, it’s an e-commerce website literally turned into a physical emporium. Everyone has always dreamt of something like this, but nobody really thought it would be publicly available in 2016 itself.
5. iPhone SE
Apple finally perceived the demand for bigger phones back in 2014 when they launched the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. However, two years later, they shocked everyone by announcing the iPhone SE which was fundamentally an iPhone 5S with better specifications, which means, it had a tiny 4-inch display (in 2016!). Apple wanted a frontrunner in a relatively cheaper market and the SE was sort of their way of doing it as it retailed at about $400 for the 16GB variant. The iPhone SE, according to some reports, was adored by users who didn’t want to transition over to larger phones but it wasn’t enough to snatch away market share from companies like OnePlus. Alas, at least they tried.
Those were the top five unexpected launches of 2016, we definitely look for what technology has planned for us in 2017. Do comment down below if we missed any good ones.