2016 is set to be a more interesting year in technology than the mostly boring 2015. It is the year that both virtual reality and smartwatches could take off in a big way.
The developer’s edition of the Oculus Rift has been available since 2013. The Oculus Rift DK1 showed promise, while the DK2 version showed even more. There have been attempts at virtual reality before, but Oculus displayed “real” virtual reality. Just put on the goggles and go into another world. Look up and see the sky or look down and see the ground. As you move in the real world, you move in the virtual reality world.
I tested out the Oculus Rift DK2 in August of 2014. While it was thrilling at first, the novelty wore off quickly. For one thing, the 1080p screen resolution was way too low for virtual reality. The screen door effect was very clear and instead of having the Rift immerse you into virtual reality, it immersed you in the potential of virtual reality.
Then, later in 2014, Samsung released the Gear VR Innovator Edition which was made by Oculus. The Gear VR was like the mobile version of the Rift, but better in many ways. The Gear VR felt more immersive in that it was powered by the Galaxy Note 4, which had a Quad HD screen. The screen door effect was still there, but not as noticeable.
The commercial version of the Oculus Rift will be like the Gear VR, except more powerful since it used your desktop or laptop rather than your phone. It will have a Quad HD screen and Oculus will start taking pre-orders for the device just after January 1.
Besides the Oculus Rift, the Apple Watch 2 is another item to look forward to. The Apple Watch may have not had the initial impact that people thought it would, but still proved to be a useful product. The main problem with the Watch is that it is completely dependent on the iPhone though a Bluetooth connection.
Several rumors head towards Apple releasing a 3G (or 4G) version of the Watch that shares the phone number of your smartphone, but can operate separately if it needs to — much like the Samsung Gear S2. If this is the case, Apple could have a winner on its hands. It’s still smart to give Apple the benefit of the doubt, even though it seems like they have been falling behind lately.