IT’S A NEW YEAR, and thus a fitting time to
look ahead. And when it comes to technology,
you can expect your devices to get a whole lot,
well, smarter. So let’s have a sneak peek at some
of the smart tech you may want to invest in over
the coming months. There are some interesting
If your smartphone is so old it has a rotary
dial on it, then it’s likely time for an upgrade.
Many smartphones offer similar features worth
considering: much larger screens with almost
no border between the edges of the display and
the side of the phone; exceptional cameras that
can also shoot ;K video (to wirelessly play back
on the latest TVs); secure ways to log into your
device using your fingerprint, face or iris; much
longer battery life (finally!); and water- and
You have plenty of choices in brands and
prices. Of course, a phone today is much more
than just a phone. Numerous accessories can
make your phone a centre for business and
entertainment. For example, a wireless keyboard makes it easy to type documents.
For great audio, consider adding wireless
speakers, and playing songs from a streaming
music app, or from your own music library.
Likewise, noise-cancelling headphones and premium earbuds and make it possible to hear
high-quality audio on the go.
Also, as you launch into your New Year’s resolutions, you can pair your activity tracker with
your phone, and use apps to track your progress,
analyze results, and so on.
Last, don’t forget a protective (and perhaps
fashionable) case to keep your smartphone safe
Conveniently buckled on your wrist, smartwatches perform many functions. While features vary depending on the model you go with,
most let you customize the watch face to suit your
taste (and clothing) with various analog and digital options.
You can glance at incoming text messages,
emails, Facebook messages and tweets. You can
see who’s calling and perhaps answer the call,
hands-free. Smartwatches can capture your
fitness information and, in most cases, your
heart rate too. Look down to see directions on a
map. Change songs by tapping the screen. You
can even find out what time it is!
Many smartwatches are waterproof, and a
number of them support smart personal assis-
tants you can talk to without needing to touch
the screen at all. The latest trend? Smartwatches
that let you take a call or read texts, even when
there’s no phone nearby.
An exciting development today is the growing popularity of smart home devices—
including Wi-Fi thermostats, app-controlled lights
and cameras and video doorbells—and you can
expect this trend to continue. Not only are
smart home devices very convenient, but many
can save you money on electricity or heating
and cooling costs. You’ll see a lot more choices
this year (only on Costco.ca).
Finally, your next TV will likely be better-looking (thanks to ;K resolution), bigger, thinner, more energy-efficient and smarter.
As you likely know, smart TVs let you
access apps without requiring a special box connected to the television. Many of these new TVs
can connect with popular video streaming services (such as Netflix, You Tube and Crackle),
music services (Spotify, Google Play Music, etc.),
social media platforms (including Facebook and
T witter), numerous interactive games and sometimes a full web browser.
Just as with your smartphone, you can add or
remove apps on your television to personalize
the experience. Use your voice to ask what to
watch, listen to or play.
Many smart TVs let you wirelessly connect a
smartphone or tablet, so that photos and videos
on your handheld device can be played on your
big-screen TV with the tap of a button. Newer
smart TVs also support Bluetooth, which means
you may be able to pair your favourite wireless
headphones for private listening. C
“Smart” tech trends
Innovation in the new year
Costco carries a wide variety
of smart devices in your local
warehouse, with an expanded
selection online at Costco.ca.
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
than ;; books. He’s on Twitter
Saltzman will answer
selected questions in this
column. He regrets that
unpublished questions cannot
be answered individually.
Please include “Marc Saltzman
Q&A” in the subject line.
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
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Smart TVs allow access to a
variety of apps without the
need for special boxes.