Technophiles Rejoice! 2011 Promises Shiny Gadgets


The Nintendo 3DS is one of several new advances in technology that promises 3-D imagery without glasses. (Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Looking back, 2010 was a landmark year for technology—among other advances, the unveiling of tablet computer systems and the increased focus on the potential of 3D technology had many wondering what could possibly come next.

Luckily, 2011 appears to be just as promising, as leading tech manufacturers plan to build on last year’s gadgets and introduce new, inventive technologies.  The future is bright, and our continued advances in the field of technology have made, and will continue to make, our lives increasingly simpler, streamlined and digitalized.  So without further ado, here are a couple of gadgets that consumers can look forward to in 2011.

In 2011, tablet computers will continue to revolutionize the way people think about and experience their computers. Naturally, Apple will be leading the pack, as they plan to release the iPad 2 at some point during the second quarter of 2011.

While Apple executives have kept relatively quiet in terms of confirming details, the rumor mill has begun to spin, and the word is that the iPad 2 will be thinner, lighter, and sleeker.  It will offer a higher resolution screen,  front and back cameras, enabling photography and face-to-face communication, which will undoubtedly become a popular application among iPad owners.

Right now, the iPad 2 will likely be in the same price range as its predecessor, with a $500 base price.

However, with success comes imitation, and Apple will have to withstand a number of competitors releasing their own tablet computers.

The most intriguing is perhaps the BlackBerry Playbook, a stylish and smaller take on the tablet computer that will combine standard tablet functions with BlackBerry’s well-known business features.

The tablet will be released at some point in March or April, providing direct competition to Apple’s iPad.  Competition aside, one thing is clear: the tablet is the future of the computer, as more and more people begin throwing away their desktops and laptops and picking up a lightweight tablet.

While tablet computers may be the technology of 2011, they are certainly not the only things we should be looking forward to.

Notably, 3D technology has evolved from a novelty to a staple of many home entertainment systems, and 2011 will continue this trend on several levels.

One of the drawbacks of 3D technology has always been the annoyance of having to wear the special 3D glasses, giving many people headaches, and in some cases, nausea. However, going forward, this may no longer be a problem.

Toshiba is already in the process of marketing a future, naked-eye television that will not require glasses to experience the 3D effect. The television, named The Rezga 20GL1, is only available in Japan at the moment, but will likely find its way overseas by the end of the year. As one would expect, the price will be steep, running anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000.

In addition to the television, 3D technology will also be making its way into video games, starting with the Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS is a glasses-free, hand-held gaming device that will have many of our favorite titles, including “Metal Gear Solid” and “Resident Evil.” Nintento’s 3DS is a big step, as it has paved the way for the future of video gaming. Microsoft and Sony have already begun considering 3D possibilities and will definitely be including 3D technology in their next generation systems.

Another intriguing product is Lady Gaga’s Grey Label Camera Glasses.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Lady Gaga, the international pop and fashion superstar, has teamed with Polaroid to bring us a revolutionary new product: sunglasses embedded with a digital camera.

Users will be able to snap pictures and movies directly from the glasses and upload them via a USB port in the earpiece.  The intention of the glasses is to facilitate our photo-sharing and make it remarkably easy to document nearly every aspect of our lives.

In a recent announcement, Lady Gaga spoke about the revolutionary nature of the glasses, claiming, “I brought my vision and love of fashion, technology and obsession with the future into all of my work with Polaroid.”

Suffice to say, 2011 looks to be an exciting year.  We are in the midst of a technological revolution, and 2011 should bring some new gadgets that embody that. Technology as we know it will continue to evolve and adapt, forcing its way into more and more aspects of our daily lives.