The 7 Top Technology Trends and Gadgets to Embrace in 2021
Technology| By Stephen Fenech | December 24, 2020
Add “try hot new tech” to your list of New Year’s resolutions.
We look to technology to make our lives easier, to get things done faster and more efficiently, to stay connected, to keep us entertained, to monitor and improve our health and fitness and to make our homes smarter than ever before – in short, we use it for every aspect of our lives. Technology moves pretty quickly, with numerous new gadgets released each month that are faster and smarter than the ones that came before. So what technology trends are on the horizon for 2021? We’ve looked at the stars – and the data – to identify the next big things.
Health and Wellness Wearables That Tell You More
Wearables have made it possible to monitor our activity and health and, because they are on us 24/7, they can deliver data when we’re exercising, eating and even sleeping. These devices, such as the Fitbit Sense, are becoming even more sophisticated as 2021 begins. The Fitbit Sense has an electrodermal activity scanner that can detect small changes in the sweat level of your skin – a key indicator for stress levels. Depending upon approval from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Fitbit Sense could also enable an ECG (electrocardiogram) to check your heart rhythm. Users will be able to get a better picture of their health, and may be tipped off to warning signs, or the data could be relayed from these devices to their GP – a seriously futuristic move.
Staying Connected With 4G and 5G
It’s no secret Australians love the great outdoors and in the wake of restrictions in 2020, more of us are looking to see more of the country – caravan sales are spiking and camping getaways are on the up. But we also like to stay connected and that will become easier in 2021 as Australia’s 5G footprint expands and the number of available and affordable 5G smartphone models increases. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE brings the best of Samsung’s design, performance and camera expertise into the upper mid-tier of 4G and 5G variables. Google has also embraced 5G with its latest smartphones, the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.
Even Better WiFi
That annoying spot in your house that’s always been a WiFi blackspot? A thing of the past. “With so many of us now working from home, along with the sheer number of devices most families now have, it is more important than ever to have a very good WiFi signal available,” says Anthony Hill, Head of Technology at Geeks2U. “With the right devices and a well-setup WiFi solution, every room in the house can become a workspace, learning or entertainment space.”
The first step to achieving a fast and consistent wireless network across your entire home is using a mesh WiFi system such as the >Google Nest WiFi 3 Pack, which has one base router and two points. The base connects to your existing modem and the two points can be placed at different locations in your house to form a superior network that has a wider range to reach every nook and cranny.
With better WiFi and more connectable devices around, the possibilities for making your home even smarter are more exciting than ever. “The ability to centralise control and management of many smart home/Internet of Things devices through the use of a smart hub like Google Home, Apple HomePod or Amazon Echo both simplifies the set-up process and makes it easier for the home user to add many more devices to their home network,” explains Anthony. Apple’s HomePod and the just-released HomePod mini are not only great for streaming music in multiple rooms but for commanding your smart devices via Siri. Once the smart device is added with a name and a location in the Home app, you can use that information to control the device.
Tech for Working on the Move
Working from home is likely to become a sustained reality for many businesses in 2021 – and that means working from anywhere, too. Fortunately, staying productive even when we’re not at our desk has become easier with products such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 2-in-1 Chromebook (which can be used as both a laptop and, when the screen is detached, as a tablet) and the Laser 5-in-1 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, with its space-saving design. The Samsung Galaxy TAB S6 Lite tablet is also a reliable work companion: it has a stunning 10.4-inch display and includes an S Pen for drawing, writing and signing documents.
Cutting the Cord: The Move to Wireless Technology
Just try to find a headphone jack on a new smartphone these days. Chances are, you can’t: they’re disappearing as we connect all our devices wirelessly. This trend is set to continue in 2021, with wireless earphones and headphones now the norm across the major brands. The Apple AirPods Pro set is a popular choice, they are hi-tech, lightweight, and sweat and water resistant; Samsung has the Galaxy Buds Live, which look nothing like traditional earphones but offer great ergonomic design; while the new Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Earbuds offer 11 levels of sound from total active noise-cancellation to full HearThrough, so you can be aware of your surroundings.
Improved Data Management
With all the smartphones, cameras, computers and wearables in our lives, we’re producing a lot of data – and that will only increase in the future. Being able to manage that data will be key: it needs to be accessible anywhere and backed-up consistently so we have a copy if something happens to the originals. Useful products include the WD Elements Portable Hard Drive, which is small enough to fit in your bag or backpack, or the Samsung Portable Solid State Drive, an extremely compact and fast device ideal for saving and transferring data and files on the go. Another option is storing our files in a cloud so they’re accessible from anywhere, on any device. Says Anthony, “The advancement in processing power of mobile devices coupled with the increased move to cloud-based productivity tools like Google Workspace and Office means we can now access more and more of the systems we need in order to work from almost anywhere.”