The most popular tech trends of 2021December 4, 2021
The top tech trends of 2021
These are just a few of the trends we’ve seen rise to the top of the gadget world in 2021.
Jennifer Jolly, Special to USA TODAY
New form factors, gadgets with a focus on family and more tech aimed to get our noses out of our smartphones – while still capturing life’s memorable moments. These are just a few of the trends we’ve seen rise to the top of the gadget world in 2021.
In a year most people expected, waited, hoped and begged to “return to normal,” our gadget choices showed a need to adopt a whole “new normal” instead. For instance, people who never imagined starring in their own homespun versions of MTV’s “Real World” now embrace gear like ring lights and the mighty mute button with the same ho-hum sense of routine once reserved for switching on our coffee makers and slogging through our morning commutes.
We also learned that technology – if used right – can improve our lives in myriad ways, yet we still have a long way to go holding companies accountable in terms of protecting our security and privacy.
Here are four standout consumer tech trends of 2021 and a look ahead to the tech that could shape our lives – for better and worse – in 2022.
► Talking Tech newsletter: Sign up for our guide to the week’s biggest tech news
1. Screens that flip, fold and double as a lid
When gadget-makers first showed off phones that fold and flip, it was more gee-whiz than ‘hey, I need that.’ This year, Samsung one-upped the smartphone crowd and launched next generation flip and fold phones that we actually purchased. Both the Galaxy Z Flip3 and Galaxy Z Fold3 are less gimmicky and more useful than we’ve seen before.
Lenovo also put a handy e-ink touchscreen display in the lid of its ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 laptop. That’s been incredibly useful for taking notes, checking calendars, getting notifications and even reading in the bright sunshine – all without even cracking the cover open. When you open it up, it has all the bells and whistles of a premium 2-in-1: a 2K touch display with Dolby Vision and a 16:10 aspect ratio ready for action. The webcam has a privacy shutter and you turn it all on with a fingerprint sensor. Still, it’s light, agile and always makes me forget that I can’t tap the screen of my MacBook Pro when I go back and forth between the two.
We expect a whole lot more with the rise of helpful hybrid gadgets in 2022 and beyond.
There are rumors swirling around the tech world that Apple’s working on an eyeglasses-like wearable with AR, VR – or both, according to some reports. One analyst told CNBC that “Apple’s computerized glasses will be as powerful as a Mac and launch at the end of 2022.”
One futuristic take not involving Apple is that we might see a laptop with a single foldable display covering both halves of the device – with one side doubling as a touch keyboard – or morphing into gaming controls. We’ve…