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What is 2014 going to bring to consumer technology?

Posted by Marta Kot on 3rd January 2014

In the world of consumer technology, you can never be completely sure what the next big thing is going to be. So, we wanted to get a few predictions from the people who know more than most: the consumer technology writers.

Four journalists unanimously predicted that 2014 is a significant year for consumer technology with the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon fighting for attention. The reporters we asked expect wearable technology to become omnipresent and are looking forward to exciting changes in the movie streaming services space.

Unsurprisingly, there’s an array of strong opinions and this year’s big debate is likely to be around the Internet of Things. Without further ado, here’s how the consumer tech journalists see 2014.

Geoff Bowen, editor, Latest Gadgets  

“Wearable tech has been hyped to the hilt recently and whilst we’ve seen some interesting products this year, we believe 2014 will be the year it takes off. Apple has yet to venture into this sector and we hope 2014 will see it putting an end to years of speculation regarding the iWatch. As with the launch of the original iPhone, it’s likely that any such move would not only shake up the industry, but also see a mass uptake of wearable technology. Away from wearable tech, we imagine that 4K TVs will be 2014’s “must have” – at least in the opinion of the people who make them! The demise of Blockbuster is likely to see a significant uptake in people joining movie streaming services. In turn we predict this could lead to consolidation within the marketplace or at least a more definitive split between companies offering movie streaming and TV series streaming.”

Paul Lamkin, senior editor, MSN UK Tech

“2014 is going to be the year of the ‘Internet of Things’ – a phrase I hate but an idea I love. Forget Smart TVs and web-connected set-top boxes, 2014 is going to be the year where your whole house begins to go online. No, not your cat, but your thermostat, your fridge, your front door lock and even your vacuum cleaner. The connected home is coming…”

Jason Slater, editor, Jason Slater’s Technology Blog

“2014 looks set to be a big year for consumer technology with announcements expected from most of the major names including Apple with the iPhone 6 or iWatch, Microsoft with Windows 9, and Google with Android 5, even more consolidation of Google Online services. Lifelogging, wearable cameras, could be the technology to watch if developments such as Google Glass and Narrative Clip hit the mainstream.” 

Kate Bevan, freelance technology writer

“I predict that the Apple TV won’t happen, though I suspect Apple might well do something wearable, maybe the iWatch at last, but I am also not sure that wearables are going to happen. Wearables are what the tech manufacturers want us to want, because we’re saturated with phones, phablets and tablets, but given how the Galaxy Gear has flopped, I just don’t think there’s enough that’s compelling about wearables to make people want them.

Amazon will release some new devices: I think probably some kind of set-top box that will run the same fork of Android as the Kindle Fire, and I think if they get that right with the content providers, it could well take off where others have failed. There will also be an Amazon/LoveFilm widget on new smart TVs.

I will be keeping an eye on Samsung, which is playing with Tizen as an OS. I wonder if it would like to break away from the Android Open Handset Alliance because as a member, Samsung can’t do Android devices in China, and China is a huge, ripe fruit waiting to be plucked. Samsung already doesn’t talk about Android, it talks about TouchWiz, and I think TouchWiz on top of Tizen is an interesting proposition as it would give Samsung lots of options in China.

I also think Windows Phone will continue to win market share. It’s not going to do any significant damage to Android or iOS, but purely anecdotally, a lot of people like the platform, and Nokia, now officially part of Microsoft, has been making some very well-received handsets.”

Marta Kot