The design and style of gadgets and devices are constantly evolving as advancements in technology allow for a new look, function, or purpose. Just consider the evolution of the cell phone from its bulky early days to flip phones to the smartphones we have now. But not every design change is a winner, despite even the best of intentions. Here are a few tech companies trying to do something new or offering a redesign on a familiar product. Will any of these changes stand the test of time?
Amazon: More Well-Rounded Speaker
Ahead of the holiday season, Amazon released its redesigned Echo ($99.99) and Echo Dot ($49.99). Now with a spherical design, these speakers boost a more powerful sound than their predecessors as the Echo has a 3.0-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters, and Dolby processing and the Echo Dot has 1.6-inch front-firing speaker. Additionally, both devices have the new Alexa Guard feature, which monitors for sounds (such as glass breaking or a fire alarm) when you are not home and sends you a mobile alert about potential emergencies.
Ultimate Ears: Creating the Perfect Fit
Like a fingerprint, everyone’s ears are unique. Yet, most earbuds only offer the same three or four size options that don’t always fit perfectly. UE FITS ($249) are the first-ever true wireless earbuds with instant custom fit. Users simply insert the earbuds on their first use, let the gel-filled tips conform to contours of each ear, and then use the app to trigger the embedded LEDs to harden the tips through patented Lightform technology. In under 60 seconds, you have fit-for-only-you earbuds that will stay in place for all-day comfort.
LG: Will This Wing Fly?
The LG WING ($999) is offering something completely different from other smartphones with its Swivel Mode that rotates the main screen 90 degrees clockwise to reveal a second 3.9-inch screen underneath. With the second screen, a single application can be expanded to both screens or two applications can be displayed simultaneously. For example, users can watch a movie on the main screen while searching for information about their favorite actors on the second screen. Additionally, the Multi App feature allows users to create shortcuts for pairs of apps they typically use together.
Canon: A Monocular Camera
Made with birdwatchers, hikers, and nature gazers in mind, Canon introduced its first-ever compact telephoto monocular, the PowerShot ZOOM ($299.99). Rather than carrying around binoculars, this device helps you to clearly see the sights wherever you roam and then capture images and videos while you do it. With a three-way, one-touch switchable button, you can view at 100mm, 400mm, or 800mm. With built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you can pair the PowerShot ZOOM with compatible smartphones to use as Remote LiveView or transfer any images and videos to view or share.
VIZIO: Adaptive Rotating Speakers
Recently named winner of the Red Dot 2020 Design Award, VIZIO’s Elevate 5.1.4 Sound Bar ($999.99) offers the world’s first rotating speakers. Within its 48-inch anodized aluminum body are two auto-rotating Adaptive Height Speakers that adjust to deliver the best possible sound for each type of content. Whenever Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content is detected, the speakers point upward to reflect sound off the ceiling to create the same immersive overhead surround sound as in state-of-the-art cinemas. Then the speakers can rotate back to the forward position for a wider soundstage and clearer vocals.