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The best tech news and headlines of 2021

The best, or the worst?
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Calling 2021 an eventful year, like last year, would be a short one. The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, the slow economy it has created, and how we have all reacted to it have made this year’s news cycle fast, brutal and short.

As is the case when a lot is happening, not everything is bad. Among the eight news items included in this list of the best technology of 2021 are gadgets and running that were exciting in a good way, so no – there will be no mention of chip shortages after this sentence.

Apple M1 has a banner year

Apple began selling the M1 computer in late 2020, but by 2021 it was the M1, and its successor, the M1X, captured the title and captivated users.

Apple’s internal M1 chips were a huge performance booster for its machines and could be found on its desktops, laptops and even iPad Pros by the end of 2021, bringing desktop-level performance to Apple’s top-end tablets.

The latest M1 chips, the M1X, perform machine learning operations twice as fast and three times faster than its predecessor. There are still several years left before Apple finally stops using Intel processors, but the great performance of its initial Silicon offers indicates nothing more than the good things in store.

Google also announced its own silicon

Not to be outdone, Google recently announced the Pixel 6 series, which will come with the company’s first in-house SoC, the Google Tensor chip.

In contrast to the M1 series, Google has designed a tensor chip for its TensorFlow ML platform from the ground up for its Pixel series smartphones. In particular, Google’s goal with the tensor chip was to take the next level of machine learning capabilities to its mobile devices without the need to send data to the cloud for processing.

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Like the latest version of the iPhone, which brings speech recognition to the on-device chip, the tensor chip enhances performance by eliminating the need for data transmission. In addition to on-device speech recognition, the tensor chip AI is able to touch-up and modify photos just as Google is able to do in a full-scale tensorflow setup.

Basically, if you’re impressed by what Apple has done with its own in-house silicone, but aren’t Apple users, this chip is for the excited.

Commercial space flight became a part of life

The early part of 2021 was full of headlines about the Billionaire Space Race that saw Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fight each other to get to the first (close). Fast forward several months, and the Bezos Blue Origin is regularly taking the rich and influential to the edge of space in its reusable rockets.

News of the commercial space flight reached its peak when William Shatner, aka Captain James T. Kirk arrived in space with Blue Origin in October. At 90, Shatner becomes the oldest person to ever go into space, but his departure does something completely different for the public perception of space travel: it indicates that it is here, even if it is still beyond the reach of most of us.

NFTs display more blockchain applications

A good argument should be made to exclude NFTs from this list: incredibly expensive digital paintings and collectibles, the ownership rights of which you are not technically buying with NFTs, what will create for the world?

Well, NFTs can’t create any real value by excluding the ridiculous prices they can bring themselves, but NFTs refer to it as one of the best technologies of the year to show us again what blockchains can be used for; In this case, to establish ownership of non-fungible assets.

The concept of blockchain is still relatively new and difficult to understand in many cases. It has managed to treat the world like a toy, but playing with speculative cryptocurrencies and digital non-fungible assets paves the way for practical use such as smart contracts that can transfer ownership, better chain of custody and supply chain management.

Folding phones are finally feasible

Samsung has unveiled two third-generation folding smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and the Z Flip. Reviewed by TR Editor-in-Chief Bill Detweiler and myself, the first of the third generation of these devices that seems more than conceivable.

Both devices are much more advanced than their predecessors, both in terms of the devices themselves and their ability to fold. Out of usability, Bill and I both enjoyed using them thoroughly, the verdict being that we would gladly use a folding phone if there was an Apple version.

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Fold 3 and Flip 3 indicate that in 2021 folding phones came into their own Now we just have to wait and see if any other OEMs decide to hop on the bandwagon.

The crypto market attracts regulators

At the core of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a political philosophy: it is decentralized and resistant to rules and regulations. Unfortunately, a non-random and centrally managed exchange medium is antithetical to the current world economy, so it is understandable that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will attract regulators as the impact grows.

China has banned cryptocurrency mining this year, and while U.S. regulators are concerned about their desire to heal the crypto market, it is unlikely that it will continue to be widely used as an unregulated speculative market, especially with such drastic changes in prices.

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Regulation in the crypto market, although it may not be desirable, may require cryptocurrencies to create a real possibility. Current energy use, exorbitant fees and widespread scams make Bitcoin now useful as a currency. Some new legal standards surrounding the market will be nothing but bad in the long run.

The right to repair makes it groundbreaking

There has been a long-running battle between OEMs and device owners for the right to repair their hardware at home or through third-party technology, and 2021 is the year when things finally start to move. Device owners have benefited from new regulations, such as those in Europe that force electronic devices to be repairable for 10 years.

Apple made the right to repair the fight in the headlines in November when it announced that it would begin selling device parts directly to customers who want to repair their own iPhone. Apple plans to expand the program to other devices in the future, and although it did not say so, it was probably a major motivation for changing EU repair laws.

With Apple, one of the fiercest opponents of repair rights, admits, it’s just a matter of time before more technology from more companies can be easily repaired at home – great news DIY route for those who are technically skilled enough.

Increased purchase of electric vehicles

Forecasts for early 2021 predict a 71% increase in electric vehicle purchases by the year. By October, an 88% increase had actually been reported, which put the growth of the EV market beyond expectations.

All of this growth means that EVs are still responsible for about 2.7% of the entire automotive market, so there is a lot of room for growth. With additional infrastructural requirements and additional incentives from the Biden administration, there has never been a better time to buy an EV. We’ve even entered an age where you can find out Used Electric cars. The future is really now, and more affordable than ever before.

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