We are fast approaching the end of this year. Like every other year before it, there have been both hits and misses from the tech world. From awesome devices and software slip-ups here is a quick run through at what was worth the mention in this device and OS review for 2014.
A for Apple
The biggest bit of news was Apple finally joining the world of large phones. Unfortunately this was followed by the #bend-gate saga, resulting from a design flaw that Apple did not test for. A flaw which many say should have been tested, after all, how often do we sit with our phones in our pockets?
A big piece introduced by Apple is the Apple Pay system, which is an NFC based technology. There are some that think Apple is a bit late in the game with the NFC payment tech.
However, if one considers things they realise that Apple instead of rushing has opted to slowly make sure its base is grounded well before implanting this tech. By so doing, they have managed to slowly transition their users, allowing them to be comfortable and not feel rushed.
We will see with time how well the Apple Pay system works out, however, their greatest weakness will be security and incidentally it is also their greatest strength in marketing. Since Apple owns both the software and the hardware, it will not suffer the same pitfalls that Google had.
Watching wearables tech: Apple, Samsung, and everything in between
With the arrival of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple also revealed its smart watch dubbed the Apple Watch. We are still to see how much of a game changer their wearable will be but so far it is facing stiff competition from all the other competitors.
Microsoft seems to have an idea with their wearable by making it platform independent and by making it affordable, however, its design is an acquired taste like much of the wearable tech out there.
The wearable wars are just beginning, manufacturers like Samsung have had the Samsung Galaxy Gear for a while, and while the features keep piling, it seems few have yet to address the biggest worry for many, that of battery life.
Android, Apple and Microsoft each implemented changes to their core operating systems each change implementation was met with issues. In some cases phones were soft bricked (bricking a phone refers to damaging the ROM such that the phone becomes as functional as a brick).
Others like Google, had issues which were only addressed in their major iterations of their operating systems. This would be the issue where secondary storage, i.e. the SD- card is not writable by none stock apps making it impossible to use your favourite apps with to manage your files on the SD card while on Kitkat 4.4.2.
Google says it has addressed this issue with their latest iteration, Lollipop. Until manufacturers start seeding it to their respective devices, we will not know for sure how true this is.
Blackberry and mobile security
Blackberry after a series of losses, seems to have somewhat bounced back into the game after focusing on their forte which had always been security. The result of this has been them acquiring government contracts after it emerged that their system was one of the harder ones for the US to monitor.
They are of course not the only ones in the security game also in the game is Geeksphone with its black phone, a phone which has been said to barely leak data.
2014 has been a year of many security hacks and privacy has become a greater concern not just for the average man/woman but for the corporates as well after all information is power. Hopefully in 2015, manufacturers will focus on their clients security if they do not Blackberry will most certainly pick up their slack.
The rise of the Chinese device: Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE
China on the other hand has become a major contender with its manufacturers becoming steadily better at both designing and offering quality assurance than what they presented in their previous iterations of their phones.
Three manufacturers in my opinion seem to have gone the extra mile to not only stand out but actually try and take on the big guns. These were Xiaomi, ZTE and Huawei. Each of these now has a flagship capable of taking on the established manufacturers.
On the local scene, we have had a couple of companies working with white label manufacturers to give us a local experience in the Android realm. While some may cry about the whole rebranding, tech people will tell you that a lot of goods out there are more often than not rebrands, e.g. a lot of Dell displays are built by other companies and simply branded Dell.
Unfortunately for a lot of suppliers customs duty charges were increased and we are yet to really see how badly this will affect people trying to get a phone locally. Hopefully it will not be so much that we will be forced to pay exorbitant prices for new technology.
Predictions for next year?
For 2015 I am looking forward to seeing some real changes from Samsung with the Galaxy S6. I am also hoping manufacturers will prioritise the security of their end users, given the host of security fails this year.
Also with the stiff competition coming from China, hopefully the tech giants will also review their pricing scheme lest they lose more people to “flagship killers” like the Oppo Oneplus One and Xiaomi mi4. Locally it would be good for NFC payments via phones to be a reality, after all, what is the point of having features on our phones that we never access.