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13 products we're looking forward to in 2016

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Hololens

13 awesome products we're looking forward to in 2016

2016 is now well under way, and the first major tech show of the year has come and gone in CES 2016.

Now, then, our attention can stray forward to the rest of the year. What technological delights does 2016 have in store for us?

We've picked out some of the more interesting devices we're hoping to test or hear more about in 2016. You might be surprised to learn that the iPhone 7 isn't one of them, and we'll explain why.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 – Everything you need to know

LG G5

LG G5

We're not going to go through every forthcoming flagship phone here, because the truth is there's only so much excitement a new, slightly improved slab of glass, plastic, and metal can engender in 2016. Mainstream smartphone design has undeniably plateaued.

So, we'll make a cursory nod to the iPhone 7 with its potentially tantalising abandonment of the classic 3.5mm jack (though we'll discuss that further a little later). We're also quite excited by the prospect of a Surface Phone, though we remain to be convinced that Windows 10 has a place on the mobile market.

If pushed, we'd rather commit a paragraph to the rumours surrounding the LG G5. Here is a phone that will, if internet rumour is to be believed, come with a novel modular design, which would allow for a removable battery without sacrificing premium design. The real smartphone innovation, however, will be found elsewhere.

Project ara

Project Ara

One smartphone we're genuinely excited about seeing in 2016 isn't a classic flagship phone at all. It's Google's Project Ara modular smartphone project.

The concept is that you can click together your own smartphone based on individual Lego brick-like components, allowing you to spend the money on features that actually matter to you.

Couldn't care less about watching high res videos on your phone, but like to take photos? Then stick with a smaller display and splash out on a top notch camera module. Add memory, bolt on advanced sensors - the possibilities are endless.

Related: 7 pieces of modular tech to get excited about

Sky Q

Sky Q

The support for 4K has taken a painfully long time to gather steam, but we feel confident in saying that 2016 could finally be the year in which it takes off in the mainstream.

One of the reasons for this is the acceptance and adoption of it by the likes of Sky. The Sky Q box will have at its core support for 4K content output. Of course, we don't know exactly what 4K content it will be outputting yet, but we're hopeful.

The Sky Q will also shift multi-room and cross-device TV viewing to the next level, particularly in its allowing you to save shows to your tablet as part of the whole Sky experience.

Related: Sky Q vs Sky HD

Samsung blu-ray

Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player

The other reason we're confident that 2016 will be the year that 4K finally breaks out is that it will see the launch of UHD Blu-ray discs, and the first UHD Blu-ray players on which to play them.

Right at the front of this initial wave will be the Samsung UBD-K8500, which is set for launch in March.

Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive 37

Oculus Rift

We've picked the Oculus Rift as the most high profile example, but in truth we could have simply called this section 'VR gaming devices.'

2016 will finally see the release of several much-anticipated virtual reality devices with gaming as a primary function, including the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the PlayStation VR.

We've been promised a second VR revolution for several years now. It's time to see if this one will actually stick, rather than leaving us all feeling sick.

Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive

Hololens

Microsoft HoloLens

We've kept the Microsoft HoloLens separate from the other VR headsets because it's actually a very different proposition.

It's actually an AR (augmented reality) device, with virtual elements layered over a clear vision of the real world. As such, it will be much more practical in everyday usage, and will have far more varied capabilities than its gaming-focused cousins.

Indeed, the HoloLens will be more than just a headset - it'll be a self-contained Windows 10 PC that you wear on your head.

Beats

Apple wireless headphones

It would be obvious to include the iPhone 7 on this list, but the truth is a new iPhone is about as much of a given as it's possible to have. We don't know exactly what it will look like, but we know it'll essentially be a slimmer and faster version of what we've already seen.

Far more exciting are related rumours of a revolutionary break from the long-established wired 3.5mm headphones norm. It seems that Apple will be using its Beats Electronics arm to produce a completely wireless set of ear buds.

Apparently, these stand-alone buds will have advanced noise cancellation technology to make music and call quality even clearer.

NX

Nintendo NX

Nintendo's new games console, the Nintendo NX, probably won't actually see release in 2016, but it will certainly be announced this year. More importantly, it will be explained.

There's been loads of buzz surrounding Nintendo's secretive NX project ever since it was tentatively name-dropped in 2015.

The consensus seems to be that it will be a kind of console-handheld hybrid, rolling up the functionality of the failed Wii U and the actually-quite-popular 3DS into one PS4-level uberconsole. Stay tuned to E3 in June to find out.

Tesla

Tesla Model 3

While Google, Ford, and almost certainly Apple continue to quietly plough millions into the self-driving cars of 2020, Tesla has continued to provide real products that offer a tangible glimpse into the future.

The next and most exciting stage will arrive in 2016 in the shape of the Tesla Model 3.

Here will be the first Tesla car that's actually attainable by the average person. That means a desirable electrically powered automobile for less than $30,000.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch 2

Many of Apple's first-generation devices fall a little flat, with too many bugs and flaws and missing features for the asking price. Think of the original iPhone, or the first iPod.

It's probably safe to add the Apple Watch to that list now. It wasn't the breakout hit that some were expecting, and it didn't validate the whole smartwatch concept as many were hoping.

Like we said, though, it was a classic first-generation Apple product. That means we're very interested to see how the Apple Watch 2 turns out, and the chances are we'll find out in 2016.

Echo

Amazon Echo portable

The first Amazon Echo was something of a curiosity, a free-standing speaker with a voice-activated assistant built in. But the concept was actually an intriguing one.

Recent reports suggest that Amazon will follow this up in 2016 with a much smaller, beer can-sized model. Could the key to the Echo's wider acceptance be as simple as portability?

Probably not, but we're very interested to see how Amazon can improve on this fresh concept.

GoPro

GoPro Karma

Drones really took off (sorry) in 2015, and one of the ways we've seen their basic concept described is as like sticking a GoPro to a remote control helicopter/a pet of your choice.

It's perhaps surprising, then, that the famous action camera brand hasn't released its own drone - yet. It will do so in 2016, the company has confirmed.

The GoPro Karma will be a quadcopter with an in-built stabilisation system, enabling the capture of professional-looking aerial footage. Expect those YouTube extreme sports videos to get even radder.

LG TV

LG Signature G6

With various dubious gimmicks (curved screens, we're looking at you) flying around in recent years, it's been tricky to plot an ideal TV upgrade path.

2016 could be the year to bite the bullet. Smart TV UIs are finally fast and intuitive, the 4K resolution standard seems to be set, and HDR actually looks like a genuinely worthwhile feature.

Among all of them, LG's Signature G6 OLED TV looks set to be the cream of the crop. Colours are more vibrant, blacks are blacker, and the super-slim, bezel-free design has to be seen to be believed. Oh, and webOS 3.0 is a world away from the clunky TV UIs of old.

What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Let us know in the comments section below

Lmc

January 23, 2016, 11:04 am

Getting tired of the full screen ads (that prove impossible to close) appearing on every article. Sort it out, such a terrible concept.

Seymour Cat

January 23, 2016, 2:03 pm

AdblockPlus can help with that.

iFrank

January 23, 2016, 2:18 pm

Apple 'Wireless' headphones, bluetooth presumably. I have a really good Sony version with a 3.5 lead provided as well. Can't somehow see Apple doing that, I don't mean they won't supply a lead but it couldn't be anything 'common'.

It will have to have a stupid connecter plug that fits nothing else so they can give it a silly name.
Then they will sue the arse of other headphone manufacturers, for reasons they'll think up later.

PS, ten up votes for Lmc below.
If it doesn't stop soon, people will take their eyes elsewhere.
It wouldn't be so bad if the ads responded to the X button quickly!

toboev

January 24, 2016, 1:56 pm

Try the Ghostery browser extension, for a more pleasant browsing experience.

Lmc

January 24, 2016, 5:31 pm

Thanks, I use Ghostery and ABP on PC, it is browsing using a tablet that is becoming more troublesome recently. I understand that funds have to be raised somehow, but if that means sites like this are going to bring my tablet to a crawl with their bs full screen ads, well....

toboev

January 24, 2016, 6:04 pm

On my Android phone I use the Ghostery web browser (they do a complete browser, not a browser extension). There are some quirks, staying logged in to Disqus is problematic, but it certainly gives a streamlined browse and cuts the data bill.

andyvan

January 25, 2016, 5:48 pm

May I ask what browser and device you're using when you get this? Useful for us to record in case an advertiser is breaking the rules.

iFrank

January 26, 2016, 7:02 am

Though not addressed to me personaly, thanks for asking Andy!

If I may, In my case I am using a tablet, Note 10.1 (2014) with Chrome.
It's not just each article but frequently every page in a four part review, such as for mobile phones. The 'X' button can be ineffectual so I resort to the device's back button and end up back at page one and have to start again.
The 10 second 'blue screen on one of the ads was unforgivable btw.

And:
Recently to access comments I keep getting advice from the (unnecessary) Disqus that I "have exceeded hourly requests" or some such which delays getting through to the list, sometimes by two minutes or so.

Thank you for listening : - )

snaxo

January 26, 2016, 9:29 am

I'm looking forward to CogniToys Dino - which I think (could be wrong) is the first consumer product to leverage IBM's Watson cognitive technology. It's going to be very interesting to see how well realised the potential for Watson to be leveraged for an additional education aid is through this 'toy'.

andyvan

January 26, 2016, 12:27 pm

Hmm, that's odd. Annoying as those ads are, they should be frequency capped to appear only once per session.

We're going to investigate as it may be a problem specific to Chome on Android tablets.

I you get a chance, please take a screenshot an email it to me – my address is in the 'Contact Us' page in the website footer.

On the comments issue, we're aware of this and we're currently discussing the issue with Disqus.

Generally, if they don't load in reasonable time you're better off refreshing. They're the last thing to load in the page, so sometimes they get stuck waiting for something else that isn't loading correctly.

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