The advancement of technology ‘does not stop’ and each time it does so at a faster pace. Adrián Gallegos, CTO of Telecoming, affirms that the speed that exists within the sector forces manufacturers to innovate in hardware. However, the speed of technology does not necessarily translate into early adoption by users.
The devices that we could classify as ‘of the future’ that is currently being worked on are many. An example is those with roll-up or folding screens, on which several mobile companies seem to be beginning to focus. There are also others that have been worked on for years without being fully launched, such as Neuralink’s brain-computer interface brain implants.
For these products to convince the final consumer, Gallegos points out that they must offer “something different”: “If the user discovers experiences that they can only live with these new devices, then they will pay for them.” Otherwise, the devices are not sold and this would mean a failure for years of work for the brands.
Virtual Reality Glasses
Apple has been working on the development of its own mixed reality glasses for a long time, that is, they combine augmented and virtual reality. This year seems to be the final one, however, for this to happen, the firm’s CEO, Tim Cook, has had to put pressure on the design team.
Its starting price is rumored to be around $3,000, which is hard to imagine that users are willing to pay. Despite this, the brand expects to sell close to one million units in the first year.
The possible launch of Apple’s product in 2023 coincides with Google’s announcement of the abandonment of its Google Glass, smart glasses that were originally intended for the general public and that began to focus on business customers without much success.
“It is difficult for technology to improve in all of these disciplines at such a rapid pace, therefore regrettably many of the devices that are put into production have not undergone thorough testing and, what is even more concerning, many of them may have negative impacts on human health,” Cortés stresses.
In the case of Google Glass, Cortés recalls that they were launched in 2013 as an experimental project: “The device had adoption problems due to its high cost, unattractive design and, above all, concerns about privacy, its limitations on battery and functionality”. In fact, they had to suspend their sale in 2015 and resumed the project in 2017 until a few weeks ago.
Gallegos acknowledges that ” glasses have not become popular” at the moment, but believes that the launch may have “a more strategic profile than a market one.” It is still an incipient sector that experts expect to be valued at around 2025. 19,000 million dollars: “Apple does not want to be left out. It makes sense for them to participate.”
Devices for the Metaverse
Despite the fact that in 2022 the word metaverse was very popular after Mark Zuckerberg opted to change the name of his parent company to Meta and focus on this technology, now we hardly hear about it. In the Meta case, to continue with the example, Cortés says that they invested 15,000 million in the Metaverse without much success.
Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company, Neuralink, aims to develop a brain implant that allows people’s minds to be connected to a computer. Through this system, the idea is that the lives of patients with diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can be improved.
Despite the fact that they have been working for years, Cortés stresses that it was at the end of last year when it was announced that the researchers would begin to carry out clinical trials in mid-2023. “You have to take into account that it is a slow process since the trials in Humans are much more restrictive and must go through FDA approval,” the expert details.
Although there are still a lot of studies ahead, Cortés believes this project will go ahead. “They have a big budget and a high-tech company,” he says. However, he believes that the processes are slow, so the results will not begin to be seen for a few years.
Rolling or Folding Devices
According to Gallegos, “Folding or roll-up screens are not having the predicted adoption because they still do not give a different experience compared to the other devices on the market with which people operate successfully.”
The best known now are the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Z Fold 2, and Z Flip, which are not particularly cheap and have not yet achieved massive acceptance by the general public. Samsung’s screens started in 2019, but Cortés details that “due to the rush to get the technology out without being completely ready, they had to delay the launch of their first flexible phone because some screens presented failures with just a few days of use.”
At CES or at the Mobile World Congress this year, other models have been shown that are still in the pipeline, but it shows that they have not given up yet.
To achieve acceptance by end consumers, manufacturers must work on their fragility, durability, compatibility problems with some apps, the high cost, etc. “We will have to wait years to see the path that roll-up and folding screens have to find out if it has been a true evolution or if they stayed in the attempt,” thinks Gallegos.
The Revolutionary Project that Ended in Nothing
While we wait to find out if the devices being innovated with go ahead, it should be noted that there were technological research works that promised a lot and ended up failing. Cortés gives the example of Theranos, a biotechnology company founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes.
They claimed that they were working on what would be a revolution in the blood test industry. The supposed technology they were developing could examine with just a drop of blood if the user had multiple types of diseases.
Cortés explains that it was shown that “the results of the tests carried out by Theranos did not coincide with those of conventional laboratories.” Finally, a 2015 Wall Street Journal publication reported the hoax behind the firm: ” It had been using conventional lab equipment instead of its proprietary technology to perform most of the tests.”