The Best Tech Of 2017 (Non Smartphone). Highlight: Kariba on Battery Power!
It is sometimes easy to think of tech as smartphones. This is because the pocket computer has totally transformed our lives even as it continues to get better and better.
In the non-smartphone tech space strides were made in 2017 and we best be excited for what it means going forward. Some of the solutions that came out have the potential to revolutionise our way of life, especially here in the third world.
The electric car
The electric car is really coming into its own and we have Tesla to thank for that. This year Tesla delivered the first Model 3s.
The Model 3 is an affordable little car which starts at around $35,000. In countries where there are incentives for buying electric vehicles It can actually be had for $28,000 less.
It has a range of 350-500km on a single charge. That means Harare to Bulawayo on a single charge.
Tesla have made significant progress in their battery technology that they also unveiled a Tesla Semi, a truck which can accelerate to 100km/hr carrying its maximum load of 36,300kgs in only 20 seconds. It can go for 805km on a single charge too.
The semi-truck is being touted as the safest truck out there. The truck is said to not only be faster than diesel trucks but is also cheaper. Tesla says it will cost 20% cheaper per mile than traditional trucks. Tesla sites the fact that electric energy costs are cheaper than diesel and also the fact that the truck has fewer systems to maintain as reasons for the cost savings.
The Tesla battery
The beauty in the improvements in Tesla’s battery technology is that it can be used in other things other than cars. This year Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO installed giant 100MW batteries in Australia as backups to the electric grid.
Just two days ago we saw the batteries in action when there was a failure at a coal-powered electric plant in Victoria and the batteries kicked in in only 140 milliseconds. This shocked the experts who said it usually takes 30 minutes to an hour to fill in the deficit power supply.
If 100MW does not sound impressive to you, consider that Kariba South Power Station has six generators each with a generation capacity of 125MW. Now almost all that power coming from Battery!
The microSD card is that tiny one which fits into your phone. You know the one that is popular in 2GB and 4GB variants.
Just how they managed to pack 400GB into something so tiny transcends understanding. They said they leveraged their proprietary memory technology and design & production processes that allow for more bits per die. They might as well have just said it’s magic, we would have believed them.
Many have computers with less memory than what that tiny card packs today.
The Nintendo Switch
We all root for Nintendo don’t we? Ever since the company stole our hearts when hours on end were spent in our childhoods fiddling with Gameboys we all secretly want the company to succeed.
After failures in the Wii U we feared the worst but Nintendo came back with arguably the most innovative gaming device in the last couple of decades – the Nintendo Switch.
The Switch delivers on portability, versatility and has a slew of quality games to kick start your gaming on the go.
When you get home the Switch is easy to dock and connect to the TV where you can enjoy the same games on a bigger screen.
The HP Sprocket
We all take a ridiculous amount of pictures on our smartphones and those photos stay right there on our phones or in the cloud. That means you have to whip out your phone or power the PC up to view those photos.
For some of us who were grown or growing up in the 90s we long for the hard copy in our hands for us to consider it a photo. We need a piece of paper we can stick to a fridge or display in a physical photo album. Some of us want a photo of our families in our wallets, not virtual photos and virtual wallets.
That’s where the HP Sprocket comes in. It is a portable little printer which was designed to work with smartphones, both Android and iOS.
It uses zero ink paper which is a full-color printing technology for digital devices that does not require ink cartridges and prints in a single pass. It connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth. You can have a hard copy photo just a minute after snapping the picture on your smartphone, how sweet is that.
The Wacom BAMBOO Slate
Not technically released in 2017 but end 2016 counts as 2017 in my book. Also not an original idea but by far the best implementation to date.
This Wacom BAMMBOO Slate allows you to write naturally with a pen on paper as you normally do but at the press of a literal button have your notes or drawings turned into digital files. They are then synced to your phone via Bluetooth where you can manipulate them further.
If your phone is not available you can save up to 100 pages on the device itself to sync later to the phone and onto the cloud if you want.
The BAMBOO Slate takes us back to the days note taking involved a pen and physical sketchpads were a thing. You get to sketch, doodle or write notes like you did in the olden days. Useful at conferences or in classes.
We will end with the six technologies above but this year had a lot more impressive tech launched that we could have gone on for days. Which tech impressed you this year? Let us know in the comments below.