As 2014 draws to a close we look back at the tech and gear predictions we made for this year….
1. Curved phones
Correct: Samsung and LG are the only notable mobile manufacturers to bring curved screen mobile phones to market, albeit to mixed reviews and success. One device to watch in 2015 will be the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge which sees the phones screen curve around the side of the device.
2. Self-driving cars hit Korean roads.
Incorrect (mostly): While the boffins at KAIST showed off some prototypes this year, alas, Korea’s roads remain free of self driving cars, though we did forget to mention Uijeongbu’s U Line last year for its driverless subway cars.
3. Samsung makes a truly premium phone.
Correct: It took eight or nine months, but Samsung released the Galaxy Alpha with an all metal frame that feels sturdy yet surprisingly light in the hand. Specs wise it doesn’t shine, but goes a long way to shrugging off the plastic and faux leather the manufacturer is known for.
4. Windows phone will still be nowhere to be found in Korea…
5. Speaking of Microsoft; The death of ActiveX
Correct (mostly): Banks and shopping sites are slow movers in the tech space, but the potential problems caused by ActiveX are starting to get noticed. September saw KEB move to a new Internet banking site that can be used in just about any browser and doesn’t require ActiveX…
Just new downloadable programs…. The more things change….?
Somewhat correct: Samsung has released a slew of watches, as have LG, and Motorola. Android Wear has hit the market making Google Now accessible on one’s wrist, yet Google Glass seems far from reaching consumers anytime soon.
7. Starbucks will dominate mobile payments in Korea.
Correct: Additionally Korea became Starbucks’ test bed for its new “siren order” system, launching globally in 2015, where customers can order their drink from the Starbucks app before they even get to the store! Coffee lovers rejoice!
8. Bigger, better, cheaper TVs
Correct: …But mostly because of the entrance of Chinese manufacturers into the Korean market including Huawei. A 4K LG screen the size of a small car will still set you back 102,000,000 won at Hi-mart.
9. Cameras will get smaller while their sensors will get bigger. (And cheaper)
Correct: Sony lead the market in 2014 with it A7 series of full frame, mirrored cameras. While they will set you back almost $2000 without a Lens, the A7, A7r and A7s have amazed photographers all around the world. Meanwhile Samsung, are another world first with its NX mini line of “pocketable” mirrored cameras at reasonable prices.
10. Unlimited LTE
Correct (Albeit with conditions): Major carriers in Korea offered a large number of plans and pricing points this year, unlimited doesn’t mean “unlimited” though with carriers usually throttling the speed of users’ connections after consuming a preset amount of data.