There is more to tech than just mobile. There is a ton of technology out there that has nothing to do with mobile, or is only tangentially related that interests us. We write and create content for Pocketnow, but it’s not like we don’t have interests outside of mobile. There are some really cool gadgets out there and darn it, we like ’em. So for the space of an editorial, we’re gonna let our editors cut loose and talk about some of the stuff they dig that you won’t necessarily read about there. Then, we invite you to chat in the comments about the non-mobile tech that you are into.
“Website and app design”
I get a kick out of all types of technology. Mobile is far and away my most passionate hobby, but being a geocacher and cyclist, I also love to dabble in a lot of outdoor tech – GPS, bicycle computers, and the like. But jeez, now that I’m writing this, I guess I don’t get into tech outside of mobile all that much.
Something that’s tangential to mobile tech are the web apps and services that I can geek out on. Things like Periscope, mobile payments, and even a well-designed web site or app makes me smile. My day job is with a software development firm, so I spend a lot of my days talking about and helping design our apps and other apps in general. It’s part of the reason Snapchat makes me cry.
Other areas where I dig technology are things like drones and cameras, but alas my poor finances don’t allow for much toying in those areas. I mostly have to settle for youtube videos in that arena.
“Kinect keeps me connected”
The most impressive tech I’ve used in recent years was the Xbox One with Kinect (before the recent dashboard update that neutered the whole user interface.) With Kinect, I can walk into my living room, say “Xbox on” and it will turn the TV on and boot up. Then I’ll sit on the couch and it will recognize me and say, “Hi Adam” on the screen as it loads my customized dashboard with all of my authorized games and apps. Then I can say, “Xbox go to music” and it will quickly launch the music app and start playing the last thing I was listening to.
While that’s going on, I could wave a hand and flip through my music collection to find something else to play or pinch with two hands to go back to the dashboard and browse something else. I could do this in all the apps as well. I could control everything with hand waves or voice commands. These days it’s mostly only voice controls that work unfortunately. “Xbox, volume down” will lower the volume. “Xbox, go to Showtime” will load that TV channel. “Xbox, turn off… yes” will shut the whole thing down. I can get in a good work out too with Xbox Fitness which actually can estimate my heart rate without wearing any type of gadget on my skin. That’s futuristic! But wait, there’s more… the Skype Video calls! The Kinect sensor actually can tell who’s speaking and it will zoom in and pan around to follow the face of the person speaking. It’s like having your own camera man aim the camera at you as you walk around the living room.
Yes, I’ve used some of the latest non-mobile tech like the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft Hololens, Tesla Eve, and even a smart cruise ship but Kinect remains the most impressive, most useful, and still has the most potential for non-mobile tech. If only, Xbox Kinect could control IoT devices and had real Cortana integration, I could say things like “Xbox, dim the lights.” or “Xbox, make it warmer in here” or “Xbox, send an email to Anton.” I feel like using a remote control to control a TV is so archaic now.
Anton D. Nagy
“Cars get me going!”
I love tech in general, and I love cars. The faster, the louder, the more agile, the better. …and I am absolutely thrilled to see the two categories intersect. It is amazing when your car’s computer and display (whether LCD or heads-up) can show your texts, emails, weather, in addition to navigation, and sending stats about mileage, lap times, etc. to your phone.
That’s not to say that other gadgets are less interesting for me, or are lower priority in my life. From the Xbox to the camcorder, from the audio system to the headphones and their amplifiers, technology really gets me excited. And it’s only going to get better.
“Vive le Vive!”
It’s honestly hard to exit the topic of mobile and get me excited, but that’s mainly because mobile encompasses a lot. I’ve been an avid traveler for almost two decades, I buy all my toiletries in a small size, even if I won’t travel with them, so this is just to give you an idea of how important mobile is to me. VR could be considered mobile and it gets me excited, but yeah, I guess the Vive can’t be considered mobile and it’s what made me believe in VR. Most of the gear that I use for working out also gets me excited, but it also falls into the category of mobile. I’m also an avid user of bluetooth headphones and speakers mainly due to their convenience, and yes, that’s also mobile. For me excitement is mainly driven by how useful a product is to fit in my daily life, and mobility has enabled that.
“I’m at home in my smart home.”
If you’ve followed my recent series, you probably guessed my thoughts on this subject: smart homes. That’s only part of the story though. Smart homes are the “low hanging fruit” here (no reference to Apple intended). Adjusting your sprinklers with a smart controller, turning lights on and off, adjusting your thermostat, getting alerted when doors are opened or motion is detected – that’s all just the start. Opening your garage door when you get home, automatically locking the doors when you turn in for the night or head out for the day, that’s what’s next (for the motivated, this can already be done).
The take-home message here is that you can finally use technology to do that things that you would have had to do yourself – automatically. This saves you time, effort, and takes care of things for you when you forget, or even when you’re away. That’s what technology is really for: making our lives simpler so we have more time to enjoy life.
Of course it doesn’t stop at the door. Once you’re in your car, technology should help there, too. For example, my 10-year-old Prius has been a reliable vehicle, but last week I got a warning light. Thanks to Automatic, I was informed of the error code and could easily set up an appointment to get it taken care of. Today’s cars come with wireless charging, Android or Apple auto, Bluetooth, and more. Some are evening coming with smart cruise-control to keep you traveling at your preferred speed, but automatically slow down and stay at a safe distance when traffic isn’t up-to-speed. Some can detect the road stripes and keep you in your lane – without having to touch the wheel. Some automatically change lanes (checking for traffic before doing so) with the simply press of the turn signal. Cars are even smart enough to slam on the brakes for you to avoid running into the car that stopped short in front of you.
Yes, this is Pocketnow and we mostly talk about smartphones, tablets, and wearables, but all these tie into the bigger picture: technology making our lives easier, more automated, and safer.
Juan Carlos Bagnell
“Look ma! No hands!”
Cars. Specifically self driving cars. Smartphones are amazing communication devices, but you only need to look at our roadways to see the issues we face in interacting with data and services using these glowing rectangles. While there are certainly ways manufacturers can improve the relationship between consumers and their phones, ultimately I don’t believe we’ll truly fix those problems until more people are using self-driving automobiles. There are few current tech experiments with the immediate potential to disrupt as many industries over the next several years. Self-driving cars will alter our communities, how we zone for things like parking. They’ll further disrupt mass transit and Taxi companies. They’ll fundamentally change how the insurance industry works, and they’ll have a significant impact on social ills like drunk or distracted driving. Self driving cars are my jam.
“Three letters: E-N-G.”
I have a very high level interest in broadcast equipment. No, not transmitters, content servers and that boring crap. I’m talking video switchers, mixer boards, cameras and mics, hell, even content software. Tell me how boring a person I am when you see me start to enjoy producing newscasts on ENPS or grab video from CNN Newsource or CBS Newspath or whatever. That’s what we call electronic news gathering.
“What gets you flying high?”
So, that’s our editors. Now it’s time to hear from you! What kind of technology really gets you excited? Maybe you dig photography, or the Internet of Things. Maybe you want your fridge to tell you you’re low on milk. Maybe you salivate at a sweet ride cruisin’ down the highway. That’s how car people talk, right? Anyway, sound off below and let everyone know what you enjoy when you’re not here obsessing about mobile.