Alongside a few minor political changes (ahem) and the distinct possibility that Apple could top $1 trillion in iPhone-related sales, there are many other tech trends worth noting. Some of these, like 5G wireless, will emerge and take shape. Others will mature to the point where you might end up buying a few devices for your employees.

1. 5G wireless

All eyes are on 5G in 2017. This faster, more reliable, and more pervasive next-gen wireless signal will make smartphones and tablets even more valuable. Speeds as high as 1 Gbps (or even up to 10 Gbps) could change how videoconferencing on mobile works.

2. Virtual reality

Virtual reality hit some bumps last year, especially when the Oculus Rift didn't ship with controllers; it's now the subject of a lawsuit. However, the Sony PlayStation VR debuted late last year, and the games are outstanding, the setup is easy, and it works without a high-end PC. The games will only get better (and maybe we won't get as sick).

3. Augmented reality

Along with VR, its close cousin is also going to be big in 2017. Augmented reality is a digital overlay on top of the real world, and it's been around for years. However, companies like Acer, Lenovo, and especially Microsoft will launch augmented reality headsets in 2017 to help with training, sales demos, and more.

4. 3-D scanning

I'm still waiting for 3-D printing to become accessible for the masses, but 3-D scanning already is. At CES 2017, I saw a demo in which an HP rep scanned a shoe in 3-D space by holding it in front of a camera on the Sprout Pro G2 computer. Anyone can do that, and the results--a fully 3-D rendered image--were perfect.

5. Chatbots

About halfway through 2016, chatbots that can handle your travel plans or tell you the weather became hot. In 2017, they will get much smarter, possibly telling you how to spend your money more wisely or even monitoring your health when you are on a diet.

6. A.I.

Along with chatbots that can book a hotel room, A.I. will also become much more persuasive. My prediction is that almost every app we use, even Word and Photoshop, will have some form of A.I. Actually, it's not a prediction--they already do.

7. Connected cars

It's not clear whether fully autonomous cars will debut in 2017. After all, there are still quite a few issues to resolve concerning state regulations and safety approvals. But cars connecting to one another and the streetlights? Audi has already demonstrated how that will work.

8. A.I. in the home

I'm also seeing a big trend with smart home technology. Apps have normally allowed us to turn the lights on and lock the door, but A.I. will look for patterns in our behavior and offer to take care of those activities for us, saving a lot of time pushing icons in an app.

9. Phones go wireless

This prediction is also an easy one. Cases from companies like Mophie already allow you to place the iPhone on a pad to charge without cables. Many Samsung and Google phones also charge this way. In 2017, I'm expecting Apple to unveil (or at least hint at) another form of wireless charging, as this article suggests.

10. Alexa goes big

Amazon Alexa is already pervasive--you can lock your car by voice, have the assistant read a book, and even ask the bot to close your garage door. In 2017, Alexa will show up everywhere on gadgets but also at the bank, your local grocery store, and in your car.

Published on: Jan 17, 2017
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