The zeitgeist of the tech world can be summed up in these words: bigger is better. Our dear Nokia 3310’s have been replaced by ‘phablets’, and our television< screens have higher and better quality resolutions than the ones we make on New Year’s Eve.

In this short decade alone, we have seen inventors and creators come up with technology that was only dreamed of in futuristic shows like The Jetsons. Maybe we don’t have flying cars yet, but Elon Musk’s Tesla is a good start, and domesticated robots are not far off. The meteoric advancement of our handheld gadgets can leave the everyday user feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Because when you have over a hundred different models of mobile phones to choose from (not including colours and storage space), let alone the choice of a thousand laptops, televisions, and washing machines at your disposal, we know how burdensome having these options can feel. So instead of fussing over the latest gizmos churned out in a nondescript factory, let’s turn our focus into being the trendsetter, by hopping onto the bandwagon of these tech trends before the bourgeoisie does.

So here, we put together all the technology trends for 2018 that you need to know.

1
Blockchain

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the meme-ified Dogecoin are among the hottest buzzwords of late-2017. Cryptocurrency’s claim to fame has skyrocketed in the past few months, but the trend isn’t just about the 21st century unicorn. It’s the technology behind it called blockchain that’s fuelling digital currencies.

A blockchain is a public digital ledger where transactions are confirmed and recorded. And unlike a standard bank where all your money might be stored in a vault, a blockchain has no central authority. For example, bitcoin’s blockchain is stored across the world on a network of private computers that are constantly synchronised. This way, everyone else’s transactions can be seen, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer.

2
Wireless Charging

We talked about this a few months ago, but the future of wireless charging seems to be getting more advanced. Two tech companies, Energous and Powercast, have announced recently that the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (yes, the same one of net neutrality infamy) has approved their long-range charging approval. While it offers wireless charging of only up to a distance of three feet, this is the holy grail computing and could pave the way for more.

3
Virtual and Augmented Reality

Fast Company has called 2018 the year of ‘VR 2.0’. Although the technology has been out for quite some time, it was only in 2017 that it started to get more refined, and this year there’s going to be an onslaught of consumer-friendly devices hitting the market that will create a boom in virtual reality.

Augmented reality, while slightly different from VR, took the world by storm in the form of Pokémon Go, the mobile game where you have to walk around in the real world to catch virtual creatures. With the game almost nearing 1 billion downloads, more brands like Apple, Google, and Amazon are taking note of this new form of entertainment that can potentially change the way we view our surroundings.

4
Smarter Robots

‘Alexa, play the best songs of 2017.’ Smart assistants have been a thing for some time, but so far Amazon was the one who commanded the majority of the market, followed closely behind by Google. In 2018, there’ll be more stakeholders joining the battlefield for the smartest home assistants. Apple, for one, is on track to release their HomePod sometime in early 2018, while other companies that aren’t contenders will have to pick a side, like LG, who will be integrating Google Home into their upcoming 2018 television models.

5
More Transparency

Everyone who owns a smartphone would’ve heard about Apple’s battery fiasco that occurred just before Christmas. And no, we won’t be going into the specifics (except that you can start replacing your batteries for S$38). But what we hope to see in 2018 is more transparency between corporations and consumers in the form of open communication and dialogue.

We aren’t asking for companies to publish a manual of their business-making decisions for the world to see. But consumers are getting smarter, and they will want to know where their products come from and what the brands they are loyal to stand for.

Josiah Neo
Writer
Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.