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Weird, wonderful technology 2017

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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is with us again – showcasing make or break new technology for 2017. Some of these ideas may never make money – some will make fortunes for their designers and suppliers.

I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of a Razer Ultra book – the winning laptop of CES 2016. I am fully satisfied – an infrequent experience!

The gadgets being showcased this year in Las Vegas are weird and wonderful. From intelligent hair brushes that listen to your hair when you brush and advise you how damaged it is – no use to me, being bald – to a smart pets assistant that monitors their food and allows you to remotely feed them – there is plenty to boggle the mind.

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However, I always look at the gadgets that will change the way we experience technology in 2017. The Sony Experia Projector is one such gadget. The size of a smartphone – it allows you to beam videos, browse the internet or play games on any flat surface – with a screen size of up to 80 inches! It is also interactive at close range – enabling touch interaction via infra-red technology. A great way to share your holiday footage and snaps – or selfies to your BFFs?

There are a number of new mesh wireless products available this year – that enable full coverage and greater security to your home networks. These are products by familiar names such as Linksys and TP-Link, and Norton has for the first time brought out their product which includes a subscription to their security suite.

Into gaming? Acer has launched its 21x laptop – with a whopping 21inch curved screen and weighing almost 9kg! The cost is close to $9,000.00. This is the ultimate gaming machine with almost every bolt-on you can imagine – including five hard drives and two dedicated graphic cards. Acer have also launched a 30inch curved gaming screen with built-in eye tracking – at a more reasonable price.

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I guess 2017 will be the year of curved TV screens and monitors. Don’t really see the point of this personally.

Sticking with gaming – Razer is demonstrating a laptop with not one but three 17 inch screens that retract back into the laptop when not in use. Amazing engineering but still a prototype. With all these larger and multiple screens – I wonder if virtual reality devices will take over – and these are therefore just a flash in the pan? Microsoft are going large with their partners such as HP and Dell to release their virtual reality headsets this year – combined with a major Windows 10 update this month. The year will tell.

Solar devices, which are obviously of far more use to us in the sub Saharan region, is also being showcased. Re-fuel is demonstrating a waterproof solar bank, Sunfare is launching a flexible solar panel, that can be stuck to surfaces like wallpaper, and SolarGaps is launching their smart window blinds that change angle to gain maximum power from the sun during the day. We are seeing more and more solar technology in use in Malawi – thanks to our far-sighted power suppliers – and I do believe 2017 will be the year of solar in Malawi. The sooner, the better.

And finally – smartphones – which really is the way most of us in the region access new technologies. Almost every major manufacturer will be demonstrating their new products – reflecting artificial intelligence, biometrics and the like. A really intriguing product from Huawei (why SO difficult to spell) is their “Honor Magic” phone which it says will be able to know who you are, what you are doing now, and what you would be likely to be doing next. All this using artificial intelligence and proximity sensors, including infrared sensors and fingerprint recognition. A real adult toy if ever there was one.

Enjoy the New Year and may all your technology be fast, reliable and fun in 2017.

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