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17 biggest hits and misses of 2017

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We can all agree that 2017 was a tough year for everyone, but it wasn’t all bad. There were bright spots too, as proven by this list we’ve compiled.

With hundreds of stories in both tech and lifestyle to run through, cutting this list down to 17 was difficult. Striking a balance wasn’t easy either, yet here we are: These are what piqued our interest most in 2017 — both good and bad.

Apple in India

Hit: Apple will start making iPhones in India

In order to set up official stores in India, Apple had to first locally manufacture iPhones in order to comply with the “Make in India” initiative. After months of rumors leading into 2017, it finally happened.

Hit: Nokia 3310 steals thunder from Nokia 3, 5, 6

Nokia made a successful comeback by joining the Android bandwagon with their Nokia 6, but it was the resurrected 3310 that made the most headlines in 2017 with its ability to tug on everyone’s nostalgia strings.

Image credit: Getty Images

Miss: Essential Phone continues to face hurdles leading to delayed launch

What could’ve been the biggest newcomer of 2017 turned out becoming the floppiest introduction of the year. Essential’s first phone looked great when it was first revealed, but shipping delays and mismanagement ruined a potentially great company.

Hit: Vivo shows off Under Display fingerprint scanning

Although the technology didn’t make it in time for any 2017 smartphone, Vivo’s demo of their Under Display fingerprint scanning was one of the most exciting handset features of the year. We can’t wait to see it on all phones one day!

Miss: Uber suspended in the Philippines for a month

Uber has had legal trouble in countries all over the world, and the Philippine branch wasn’t exempted. Because of the company’s failure to comply with rules set by the local transportation regulating body, the ride-sharing service was suspended for a month.

Hit: Samsung is still the top smartphone vendor in the world

Despite 2016’s Galaxy Note 7 recall and the rise of every other smartphone brand, Samsung managed to maintain their position as the world’s top smartphone vendor with nearly a quarter of the total worldwide smartphone shipments.

Miss: Google acquires part of HTC’s smartphone business

Depending on how you look at it, this could also be viewed as a hit, but ultimately, it’s sad to see HTC lose a large chunk of its team to the search giant’s hardware division. On the bright side, Google made good use of their acquisition with the production of the Pixel 2.

Hit: SNES Classic solves NES Classic’s two biggest flaws

2016’s NES Classic had two issues: limited availability and overly short controller cables. 2017’s SNES Classic handled those flaws while making it one of the most memorable gaming consoles of the entire year.

Hit: Huawei finally overtakes Apple in smartphone sales

It took a while, but Huawei finally made good on their promise to go beyond the number three spot in the world’s smartphone market and overtake Apple at number two earlier this year. While they still have a long way to go to secure their position, this put Samsung and Apple on notice.

Miss: OnePlus confirms they secretly collected user data

Security was a major topic going into 2017, and OnePlus became one of the bad guys after being caught secretly taking user data without the proper permissions. They quickly changed their policies and apologized, but the damage was already done.

Miss: Windows Phone is dead, but Microsoft tried to make it better

One of the biggest what could have been moments of 2017 was when a former Microsoft employee revealed that his company had plans of releasing a near-borderless Lumia phone in 2014. It would’ve cost less than US$ 200, and prototypes showed how gorgeous it could’ve been.

Hit: Android One was never really dead

Android One, if you recall, was Google’s platform for bringing a pure Android interface to less-expensive smartphones. After months of silence, consumers thought the program was dead, but it suddenly got revived thanks to a partnership with Xiaomi and the launch of the Mi A1.

Miss: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are facing serious defects early on

In a sad turn of events, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were marred by defects as they came out of the factory. The media was all over their rocky start, and some reviews were even pulled or revised with the bad press in mind.

Miss: Smartphones are indeed getting more expensive

A research institute confirmed what we’ve all been noticing in the past year: Smartphones are definitely getting more expensive. 2017 saw US$ 1,000 become the new mark for the high-end segment, and it only looks to go higher in 2018.

Hit: Apple iPhone X sells out instantly, doing better than expected

Despite the unworldly price, the iPhone X sold beyond expectations and proved that Apple’s allure is stronger than ever. Shipments went as far as being delayed by weeks because of the incredible demand. Reviews were mostly glowing, too.

Miss: Android Oreo distribution is still terrible

Android Oreo has been experiencing the same sad fate as Nougat’s; even though it’s been out for several months already, only a fraction of the Android smartphone population has it. As of this month, only 0.5 percent of all handsets have Oreo.

Hit: OPPO still tops market share in China, rivals quickly catching up

China’s smartphone market is currently being led by four homegrown brands: OPPO, Huawei, Vivo, and Xiaomi. OPPO is the current leader, but not by much. The tight competition is great for consumers since it pushes companies to never settle for mediocrity.

SEE ALSO: Where GadgetMatch has been in 2017

 

Podcast

Episode 001: Getting lost at the world’s largest tech show

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In this first epidose of GadgetMatch Podcast we talk about the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018) which just wrapped up in Las Vegas. Michael Josh and Isa share behind the scenes challenges of covering the world’s largest tech show. And the team talks about the most attention grabbing tech from the show including an entire range of Artificial Intelligence and Google Assistant gadgets, Vivo’s new phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, Sony’s new robot dog, and Razer’s Project Linda.

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Apps

How to hide from Instragram’s new Activity Status feature

It’s on by default!

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Instagram silently rolled out a new feature of its app. If you don’t like your friends to know that you’re online (and also protect your privacy), you might want to take action. Why? Because it’s automatically turned on.

If you have the latest app, you probably noticed something new inside the Direct Messages section. This new feature dubbed “Activity Status” lets your Instagram buddies know if you’re online. If you happen to be scrolling through your timeline moments ago, the status will show that you’ve been available earlier.

This is switched on by default but the data is only shared with users that you follow and those you message privately. There’s no need to panic if you think a stalker will know that you’re online — unless you follow them, too.

How to turn it off?

You can easily switch it off inside the app. Just go to your profile page and tap the top-right icon for Options.

Next, scroll down until you see “Show Activity Status” and switch the toggle button beside.

That’s it! Now that it’s off on your end, your status will not show up to your buddies. Although, you won’t be able to see the status of other accounts as well.

Since the new feature was smoothly included in the recent updates from the Play Store or App Store, it’s not clear when Instagram introduced the function. Some might not have it yet, which could mean it’s still an experimental approach with a limited number of users.

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Automotive

The Best Car Tech of CES 2018

Exciting times ahead!

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We recently wrapped up CES 2018 (see our top picks) and even though the trade show originally revolved around consumer electronics, a big chunk of what was introduced was directed towards connected cities with a focus on making driving a lot smarter.

The idea of self-driving cars surely isn’t new and has been around for quite some time now. It’s basically the concept of what the future is like in addition to flying cars. At this year’s CES, brands who participated made us realize that this “future” isn’t too far away.

Here are some of the most promising cars and car technology that we’re excited to see in the near future.

Assistance

Multiple brands showed off their new toys left and right. There’s the announcement of Amazon’s Alexa coming to cars for voice assistance and content consumption. Toyota will be the next to adapt voice assistance in addition to BMW, Ford, and Hyundai. Meanwhile, Waze has also been integrated into select infotainment systems.

Nissan, on the other hand, is taking the user-machine a step further by introducing the brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology. It basically uses a system that could read your brain patterns and signals to better prepare for what you’re about to do next while driving.

Platforms

In terms of services, Ford is slightly stepping out of the shadow of car-making and plans to be the new platform for autonomous vehicles. It has partnered with Lyft, Domino’s Pizza, and Postmates to create an operating system which small to large businesses can use for their unique services.

Speaking of unique services, Toyota unveiled its e-Palette concept vehicle which has all the potential to go big in the future of mobility. It’s envisioned as a self-driving vehicle running on Toyota’s tech and platform that other brands can use for food deliveries, as a moving boutique, or even a mobile hotel that you can rent.

As far as ride-sharing goes, expect it to join the bandwagon as smart cities are developed. During the trade show, car tech company Aptiv was present and was hand-in-hand with Lyft as they demonstrated their self-driving cars to the participants of CES. The public could just hail a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center using the app and enjoy the view of the Strip to their destination.

Additionally, NVIDIA has also added Uber and Volkswagen to their growing roster of brands that will run on the company’s self-driving computer platform.

Cars

Apart from the new platforms, there were cars — quite a lot, actually. From concept to actual models on display, we got a peek at these vehicles that probably want to take on Tesla.

Derived from Bytes on Wheels, BYTON wants to blur the line between digital and automotive with their electric intelligent SUV concept. The new-gen smart device communicates with users and pedestrians via lights and patterns on its grille and recognizes the driver and passengers by face.

Kia was also present with its very own Niro electric crossover. This concept is basically an electric version of the Niro Hybrid but gets a new grille design. Like BYTON, it is now an interactive panel with a built-in Active Pedestrian Warning System, but what makes this something to look forward to is its range. It can go as far 383km (238 miles) before needing to charge again — beating what the Tesla Model 3 can offer.

Car designer Henrik Fisker gave another shot at making vehicles; this time in the form of the EMotion luxury sedan. The vehicle is a level 4 autonomous car and is equipped with the world’s first Butterfly Doors. Fisker also wants to set standards for other EVs so they made the vehicle last up to 644km (400 miles) on the road.

Meanwhile, Hyundai is continuing its push to go green and introduced the NEXO fuel cell electric vehicle. It has a more efficient engine, is a lot quieter, and maintenance is kept to a minimum. Although the best thing about it is that it emits nothing but water vapor. Features-wise, it has autonomous driving, self-parking, self-retrieval — the whole shebang.

In-vehicle Networking

Software updates are an important aspect of vehicles relying on digital systems. Tesla has somehow established its system already but for other car brands, updating hundreds, even thousands of vehicles across a country, is still not an easy task.

Hyundai and Cisco addressed this and aims to overhaul the process of in-vehicle networking. With the use of Ethernet connectivity and the Automotive Linux platform, they promise to be able to roll out updates remotely and it’s as simple as pushing a button.

 

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