Five technologies for the future
A flying car on your drive and taking all your meals in pill form may still be a way off, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to get excited about in the near future. Set to fill your homes and lives, we run down the excitingly futuristic tech that’s already taking hold.
High-resolution digital audio
The MP3 may have started the digital music revolution but it might not be around much longer, with high-resolution audio file formats promising superior sound quality and higher bitrates. The cost of storage space has plummeted while internet speeds have increased dramatically, meaning there’s no need to scrimp on the quality of your digital tunes.
Many streaming hi-fi systems already support FLAC and WAV files in high-res 24-bit/192kHz quality, while the LG G2 was the first smartphone to come packing HRA support out of the box. With new phones and portable music players on the way, high-res audio could soon be the standard.
Brighter, thinner OLED TVs
Just as LCD and plasma TVs saw off CRT, and large-screen, cost-effective LCD/LED sets are getting the better of plasma, OLED TV is set to become the next TV technology to change the landscape. Promising exceptionally slim designs, brighter colours and darker blacks, OLED TVs are already on sale in the UK, albeit at a top-end price.
As production costs come down and TVs become more affordable, expect OLED to be the next must-have screen technology for the ultimate viewing experience.
The smartphone dominates every sector of the tech industry in the 21st century and it looks set to have a new partner in crime as we enter 2014. The much-rumoured smart watches have finally arrived, the first-generation models being launched by a number of companies in time for Christmas. Designed to pair with your smartphone, smart watches will deliver on-wrist visuals and controls for anything from fitness apps to music to messages.
As features and functionality develop, the smart watch could yet become the next must-have portable device and a key differentiator when it comes to choosing your next brand of smartphone… or trainers.
CRT TVs may be a thing of the past for most of us but the curved screen is making a comeback. Concave rather than convex, the first OLED screens to go on sale this year came, somewhat surprisingly, with a subtle curve to the display. The benefit? Improved viewing angles and providing a greater sense of immersion.
A sign of things to come? Maybe. But it might be the curved smartphone that really takes off, with a curved object more suited to the hand than the average wall, while the improvements to viewing angles are best-suited to just one user. The LG G Flex sports a 6in curved OLED screen and is due on sale in 2014.
It’s not just your wrist that’s eligible for a high-tech upgrade: the advent of Google Glass looks set to signal myriad futuristic eyewear imitators so we can all live out our cyborg dreams. The not so subtle eyewear overlays anything from text messages to traffic directions over your line of sight and, like smart watches, it will be the future features and how well they can integrate with every day life that will decide quite how many of us take to wearing super-smart goggles.
Self-charging electric cars
The way we travel has always been the subject of speculation when it comes to predicting technological advances. Self-driving cars have been in the public consciousness for a while and Google’s robotic car has now clocked up over 300,000 ‘autonomous-driving miles’. The majority of Google’s test fleet is also electric, a car technology which has this year become common place, but how about cars that can charge themselves?
A group of car manufacturers is already working on car panels that can store and even collect energy, either via electrical charge or solar power, and then release it when the engine requires it. Now that’s futuristic technology.
Find out more about LG’s ground-breaking curved OLED TVs here and read the five-star reviews of the LG G2 with high resolution digital audio at stuff.tv and whathifi.com.