Lean, Mean Hyped Machines

The big guns in computing are racing towards the consumerization of IT. Through this consumer shift, the production of IT equipment and services are finally being retargeted to address the need to create user-friendly devices, most of them web-enabled and touch powered.gadgets

Companies left and right have been releasing, or dropping plenty of hints about, a staggering array of devices that are set to change the consumer tech world. Let’s take a look at these lean, mean, hyped machines one by one.

Facebook smartphone

Social networking giant Facebook is set to launch its own smartphone next year, according to The New York Times. After admitting that it was struggling to make money out of its growing mobile audience, the company (which recently made an IPO) suggested that they have started to hire more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers. Successful or not, the plan would go down in Facebook annals as the third attempt at building a smartphone, after a stillborn attempt in 2010 and a partnership with HTC (codenamed Buffy) that’s still in the works.

Behold the glasses

Google has started to embark on its augmented reality prototype in Project Glass. Google has actually submitted a patent to build a pair of actual glasses that “googles” what you’re looking at and then projects neat little nuggets of information about the things you see, in order to serve as a kind of see-through monitor. Additionally, it can also fish out deeper information for something you’re reading, like academic text for instance, to bring out more bits that can be more useful to you. It’s basically an upgraded version of Google Goggles that you can wear on your head. When pulled off correctly, the concept can also serve as a good house for Google’s display ads.

Mobile phones as business phones

As businesses start to understand and realize the need for highly mobile environments, a foreseen shift in mobile business telephony is starting to take shape. There will come a time when office workers will no longer have to rely on their on-premise desk phones to conduct business. Recently, a company phone provider called RingCentral released an update to its VoIP platform where users are given the power to run advanced business telephony features on their smartphone or tablet device with only minimal or no technological expertise needed at all.

Focus on your camera

In February 2012, Lytro, a light-field photography startup founded by Stanford researcher Ren Ng, started shipping its first consumer camera to buyers. The sleek product, which allows a user to refocus photos after they’re taken, is the culmination of nearly 20 years of research; and uses tens of thousands of microlens arrays to capture 4D light field information about a framed scene. While there’s already so much potential seen with the manufacturer’s camera bag-friendly debut shooter, Lytro promises a more solid and gorgeous device that will fix the shortcomings of the 1.0 product.