As technology continues to accelerate staying current with the latest trends and tools is harder than ever. The average person tends to adopt new gadgets at a much slower rate than they become available. Because let's face it, we are creatures of habit, and it takes a little bit of time to change course or routine.
There is a benefit to shifting more nimbly, though. Think of all the tools you currently use, you probably think of them as indispensable. Well, at one point they were just a blip on the horizon.
We’re here to help you zoom in on the blip and avoid the lag. There is a lot of cool stuff coming in 2017. Below we’ve outlined 5 of the must-have everyday tech tools that can improve the quality of your life.
Looking for a way to simplify and streamline? Google Home may be your ticket. Google Home is a voice-activated speaker system powered by the Google Assistant. Use vocal commands to enjoy music, get answers from Google search and take care of everyday tasks. It looks like a normal speaker but has infinitely more capability -- it's an effort at personifying Google in the form of an at home assistant.
The Google Home system is compatible with Android and iOS, and can control compatible smart devices such as Chromecast or Nest. Best of all it won’t break the bank.
- iphone 8
Apple aficionados will likely already be all over this one, but yes, with the new year Apple is launching a new iphone. On the 10th anniversary of its initial release the word on the street is the Apple is going big with their new device, with significant changes in the works. Some of the leaked rumors of new features include:
- A sleek AMOLED display
- A large 5.8-inch screen size
- No home button and no bezels
The iphone 8 is definitely a must have, although it doesn’t come cheap and you’ll likely have to wait until September for it.
- Fitness tracker(s), Smartwatches
These certainly aren’t new, but they are becoming more and more widely used and there are some interesting developments in 2017. There are many options when it comes to fitness trackers but Fitbit is still leading the charges in many ways. Their Charge 2 can now go even longer without recharging, automatically detect when you start a workout and estimate VO2 max.
If you want to go even bigger a lot of fitness trackers bleed over into true smartwatches that have amazing capabilities. Garmin, in particular, has produced some watches that have the ability to awe with GPS and heart rate monitoring capacities. Perhaps 2017 is the year that you join in the fun, and if another incentive was needed, Google is getting in the smartwatch game.
Best-selling author Tim Ferriss has referred to Evernote as his “brain extension”. That may be a bit hyperbolic, but it does underscore the value that a program like Evernote can have. Evernote is a free App that is meant to help people collect, record, and archive information. It works across all systems and devices and best of all it's free.
Another one that’s not new per se, but it's certainly worth road testing. With the amount of information that people have to remember and process these days finding a good tool to assist in this process can be invaluable.
Evernote’s UI is very easy to follow and it doesn’t take long to pick up how to use it. This is great because ironically many programs designed to make our lives easier simply create headaches as we have to figure out how to use them.
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are a great security tool and one that you should definitely start utilizing in 2017. What does a VPN do? Besides letting you access geo-blecked content, like watch BBC iPlayer in the US, it secures your computer's internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you're sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from whatever may be out there.
Companies have used them for a long time to help with security, and in the era of Trump one needs security more than ever. The New Yorker wrote an excellent piece on this specifically in light of Trump’s presidency.
Free VPNs tend to be a little softer on the privacy walls and a little heavier on the ads, but if you’re on a budget and want to increase peace of mind they are a great option. For a more heavy duty VPN there are many that require purchase, but will leave you running on a relatively bulletproof network. Either of these is a good thing in our book.
In summary, there’s obviously a lot brewing in the tech world in 2017 and these are our top five picks. Some of them have been around and simply getting in on their newest iterations could make a significant difference. All in all, these are the ones we think are game changers. Although, at the same time that we say this we know there's a good deal of subjectivity in play.
Did you feel we missed one? Weigh in if you like, we’d love to hear your thoughts or opinions!