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Consumer tech 2018 wrap-up: What's hot and what's not (yet)

January 03, 2019

Consumer tech 2018 wrap-up: What's hot and what's not (yet)
5 consumer technologies that took off in 2018 and 4 that are still finding their legs

Consumer technologies are constantly evolving—but that doesn’t mean the newest trends and gadgets are always embraced immediately. Some consumer technologies shoot off like rockets; others need time to catch some speed; and some never quite make it off the ground.
As the year comes to a close, we decided to examine a few of each. So as we head into 2019, you’ll know what’s hot and what’s not. 
5 consumer technologies that took off in 2018
Augmented reality (AR): Most consumers are exposed to this technology every day, though most of them aren’t aware of it. For example, Snapchat and Instagram are two popular apps that use AR to display creative filters and animations placed over user-generated content—and usage could soar as more social players implement AR into their apps.  
Smart watches as medical devices: A recent UCSF study found that the Apple Watch’s built-in heart monitor could detect an abnormal heart rate with 97% accuracy when used with an AI-based algorithm called DeepHeart. That same team later found that the same tech combo could detect sleep apnea with 90% accuracy and hypertension with 82% accuracy. Bottom line: Smart watches have the power to inform health conditions, too.
Smart home devices and assistants: These devices area already hugely popular, but going forward, look for the competition to increase, especially from products that can connect to the big three—Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomeKit.
Fully convertible laptops/tablets: Convertible tablets/laptops have been around for a while, but they’re getting more sophisticated and more convertible than ever. An example is the Lenovo X1 Yoga, a touch-screen convertible PC with a keyboard that folds behind the device (not detached) when operating in tablet mode and unfolds when users want to use the keyboard.
Wireless charging: Our digital world keeps most of us tethered to our charging cords—but not for long. New wireless chargers can now send power to multiple devices over the air, and popularity is growing quickly.
4 consumer technologies that are still finding their legs
Self-driving cars: The promise of self-driving cars means more efficient commutes, fewer accidents and big leaps in AI, but getting these wonders out to the public is another thing. While progress is being made, driverless cars still need more time to mature. Most experts estimate these technology wonders need at least another five years.
Companion robots: These cute-looking machines were everywhere at CES 2018, but mainstream adoption is still a work in progress. The latest design concepts are geared for housework, entertainment, companionship and may even help you fall asleep, but they’re not a household staple yet.
3D printers for more than just plastic and resins: In the past, the types of materials that could be used for 3D printers were limited; but some emerging solutions are now targeting the use of metal, which could usher in a host of new applications. Given some time, this could become a huge opportunity for manufacturing.
5G technology: With blazing fast speeds and high computing power, 5G technology is poised to make a big splash. But as of today, 5G technology has only launched in very limited markets, so it may need more time before it takes over the world.
For the latest information on consumer technology trends, contact the experts at Ingram Micro.