Every year at Gentleman’s Journal, we boot up our collective brains, plug ourselves into the tech matrix and attempt to digitally foresee where the world will be in 12 month’s time. Sometimes, we get it right. Often, we get it wrong. But what might be flashing into view on the high-def horizon as we boot up 2022?
2021 is swiftly disappearing into our browser histories — a year during which we saw the launch of yet more streaming services, the baffling boom of NFTs and the troubling dawn of the Metaverse. So what’s coming down the wires this year?
We’ll welcome more and more screens into the fold
Screens; they’re already everywhere. They’re in our hands, our homes and our cars. They’re wired into our watches, built-up into billboards and tacked onto appliances from fridge-freezers to coffee machines. But, if our first prediction of the year proves right, there’ll be even more screens on the scene by the end of 2022.
Because this high-resolution invasion has been escalating for a while. And, if tech companies maintain their manufacturing pace, we’ll be in the throes of a full touchscreen takeover by December’s end. Among the madness; Lenovo’s latest laptop has shunted its keyboard to one side in favour of a secondary screen — eight expansive more inches of LCD lunacy.
Many new televisions can disguise themselves as picture frames, and even some mirrors have incorporated ‘handy’ screens. Brands are so obsessed with asking if they can hide screens in every product they produce, it seems they’re not pausing to ask whether or not they should. And, amazingly, it would appear that the folding screen fad is here to stay — something we’d have wagered a stack of Microsoft Surface Duos on not making it past 2020…
The return of gadget-laden glasses
Another baffling development; smart-glasses appear to be back in the frame. It’s been a long, pioneering ten years since Google’s much-maligned ‘Glass’ made its debut. But, after many moons out there in the wearables wilderness, this odd type of tech looks set to make a triumphant return.
Because it’s not just Google championing these wearable gadgets and gizmos anymore. Other brands have leapt aboard the smart-glasses bandwagon, and loaded their own frames with technology including speakers, smart-screens and even augmented reality (OPPO’s recently-revealed ‘Air Glass’ frames are fitted with a genuinely impressive ‘Spark Micro Projector’, smaller than a coffee bean).
And, judging by launches from TCL’s ‘Nxtwear Air’ frames, fitted with dual 1080p Micro OLED displays, to the electrodynamic micro-speakers, woofers and microphones fitted into Fauna’s range of smart-glasses, there is a huge market for these gadget-laden accessories (despite the newfound fogging problem pandemic-era glasses wearers have to contend with).
The London Underground will become more connected than ever
And we’re not just talking about the Northern Line extension. Last year, Transport for London announced that it had inked a deal with Canadian-owned infrastructure company BAI Communications to install a full wireless data network across the tube. By 2024, it was claimed, there will be 4G and 5G across the whole network.
That means you’ll never miss a WhatsApp or skip a beat on your Spotify playlists — because the connectivity is set to run reliably and consistently from the ticket halls to the tunnels, and keep you online from the moment you leave the pavement to when you alight on your platform.
It’s a 20-year-deal, and work has already begun (the pilot scheme is currently live between Westminster and North Greenwich on the Jubilee Line). And, if the overwhelmingly positive reaction is anything to go by, TfL will rush through the majority of the work this year — if not only to curry favour with those of us sick of price hikes and driver strikes.
An air purifier will be the next appliance you buy
It’s not surprising; we’ve spent so much of the past two years cowering inside and hiding behind masks that it’s a small wonder top tech brands hadn’t caught on sooner. We want clean air — and the big corporation’s top R&D boffins have been working to make air purifying appliances as safe and sexy as they can.
That’s right, sexy. Because, although most brands have decided to call these air-cleaning machines things like ‘PuriCare AeroTower’ and ‘VeSync Core 600S’, we’ve seen an increased energy put into the design of purifiers. These aren’t the boxy, utilitarian units of old anymore. Now they’re sleek, sophisticated — the kind of gadget you actually want in your home.
Look to IKEA. The furniture giant this month fired up its svelte ‘STARKVIND’ air purifier, touting the release as ‘IKEA’s expansion into the Smart Air division’. It’s a handsome side-table with a two-filter system built-in. And, while it truly is smart, it’s also sensible — so we see reasonable and rational homeowners scooping up these doodahs by the dozens.
An electric car will crack the 1,000 kilometre barrier
Earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its landmark ‘Vision EQXX’ concept car — an electric vehicle with a purported range of 621 miles from a single charge. The more metric-minded among you can probably convert that into kilometres; it’s a healthy 999.403. And, while this is excruciatingly close to the four-figure mark, we expect an electric car to confidently make it into the thousands by the end of 2022.
Tesla, of course, are big players in the EV game — and the brand’s Model S Long Range Plus is currently the longest-range car you can actually buy. But there are plenty of other budding brands that may steal the title away from the big boys; with Michigan start-up Our Next Energy (ONE) already alleging that it has built a battery capable of travelling 752 miles (1,210 kilometres) on a single charge.
Elsewhere, Ford, BMW and Chevrolet are charging towards battery breakthroughs — and smaller players including Rivian and Lucid Motors have sprung up to develop Tesla-killers of their own. It’s a hard-fought, hugely-lucrative race — and one we expect to see won by the end of this year.
Cameras will come into focus (and not just in smartphones)
For years, smartphones have been fighting this fight. When the first iPhone launched in 2007, it had a two-megapixel camera. The most recent model, the iPhone 13 Pro, has a 12-megapixel camera. And it’s a similar story with most other handset manufacturers. But, this year, we predict that the resolution race will break out of the smartphone bubble.
Since the pandemic, we’ve all had a taste of working-from-home. And, with more of our lives — both personal and professional — played out through screens, our demand for higher-resolution experiences is coming into focus. We want sharper shots, clearer pictures — and we want them in everything from our webcams to our smart home devices.
And it won’t stop there. So many of our modern-day gadgets now rely on resolution as a selling point that we’ll likely see cameras in countless more products skyrocket in pixel count this year. From dashcams to doorbells, we envisage a contest for clarity across the board — with only the crispest cameras coming out on top.
High-end gaming chairs will sort the hobbyist boys from the e-gaming men
There are big bucks in gaming. But, while consoles and computers are still hugely lucrative, their price tags pale in comparison to those of peripheral gaming gear. And, if this year’s CES 2022 — the world’s premier tech trade show — was anything to go by, the next big craze in gaming will be tricked-out, tech-stuffed gaming chairs.
The star of the show is Las Vegas this year was the ‘Razer Enki Pro Hypersense’ gaming chair — a bit of kit packed with haptic feedback technology, more that 65,000 ‘motions’ and support for over 2,000 games. And, with Acer’s ‘Predator Thronos’, Logitech’s ‘G Embody’ chair and Razer’s recent ‘Project Brooklyn’ concept, the future of high-end home-gaming looks to sit on these incredible immersive thrones.
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