Its traditional to do a year in review post and look at what’s happened and then look forward to the next year and what we expect. This is partially because its at least a somewhat interesting post and partially because there tends to be very little news at this time of year.
So what was 2014?
2014 to me is the year we started getting serious about security. Edward Snowden started his revelations in 2013 but 2014 had a primed pump and a steady stream of new information and new hacks. At some point it felt like every week there was something significant – whether a hack or a retailer, a new way GCHQ was watching us or a new distortion by politicians. The year culminated with the Sony hack and the fall out around “The Interview” which made it clear IT security has big real world and real life consequences.
Wearables were the hot gadget of the year but never quite managed to take off properly. They are much further along than this time last year but Google’s Glass is now almost a failed product before it every launched and Apple may be pricing itself out of the main part of the market.
The new generation of consoles started to get its feet under themselves. The PS4 had a uniformly good year both of sales and games while the Xbox One had part of its hardware removed and a price cut and managed parity in month to month sales by the end of the year. Games sold as well as always with the updated Call of Duty being a highlight. This was marred by continuous bugs and many products not really being ready when they shipped. It’s hard to call out a particular game but Halo and Assassins Creed disappointed the most.
What will 2015 bring
And now the hard part – predictions. By the end of 2015 we will know if wearables are going to be mass market in the near term. Apple’s watch and several more iterations of Google Wear will make or break it. After using a Wear watch for the last six months I don’t have much hope for them until they get a lot cheaper, smaller and better battery lives.
Virtual reality and augmented reality will start to become viable for enthusiasts. Occulus Rift has been available in one improving form or another to developers for a couple of years but looks like it might launch in the second half of 2015 for consumers. If it is as good as it might be this could be the thing that makes VR real in the same way that the iPhone made us all carry around mini computers. Augmented reality is looking exciting as a field as well with Magic Leap spawning some very interesting rumors (if less actual hard facts) and smaller companies like castAR showing off some very interesting pieces of hardware.
Finally if several industry pundits are to believed this might be the year that artificial intelligence starts to become reality and might start to become a problem for our futures. I’m personally not anywhere near convinced the technology is mature to the extent the man on the street would understand as AI nor that when it does come it will be a bad thing but we will have to see.