Did 2018 meet our technology expectations?

We expect a lot from our office tech. From laptops and tablets, to our ever-present phone, Tim Stackpool takes a look at whether the technology we love made the grade this year

We leave our phone in the taxi, or the battery runs dead, and our lives are paralysed. There’s a psychological term for the anxiety felt when that happens: Nomophobia, derived from “No-Mobile- Phone.” It’s clear that much of the anxiety is caused by an acceptance that technology will always work. But has the promise of greater efficiency, smoother work flows, and subsequent extra leisure time come to fruition? Many of us

can scoff at that final expectation, as driven individuals by nature tend to fill their “down- time’’ with productive tasks, so let’s take a quick look back at 2018 and see if Silicon Valley has delivered the goods.

Google

Only recently have we seen the new Google Pixel smartphone fitted with an app that answers unsolicited calls on your behalf, with the inbuilt artificial intelligence holding a conversation to determine whether it’s worth having you continue with the call. Admittedly it’s remarkable tech, but born out of a demonstration earlier in the year when Google booked a hair appointment over the phone in front of thousands of fans, using nothing more than the built-in assistant sounding like a real human. Following 24 hours of applause and praise, more sinister connotations began to be realised and Google quickly announced caveats to its rollout and use. This certainly became a manifestation of “careful what you wish for.”

Apple

Apple launched into the year with public criticism based around a conspiracy theory where they were accused of deliberately sabotaging the battery life of old phones when new models were released. Quickly Apple stated “We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices,” and proved it by reducing the price of an out-of- warranty iPhone battery replacement, and issuing a software update giving more visibility into the health of the phone’s battery.

This didn’t stopped the Italian government from issuing nes to both Apple and Samsung of 5 million euros each for allegedly slowing down handsets with software updates. Apple was ned a further 5 million euros for also failing to inform customers on how to maintain and replace an iPhone battery. Ouch!

Microsoft

Running the nuts and bolts of the of ce PC, Microsoft ful lled the promise of keeping Windows 10 in top notch condition. After earlier abandoning any notion of releasing Windows 9 (it truly was a dog), and then point-scoring by offering free upgrades from Windows 7 and 8 for a short period, the responsiveness and speed at which Microsoft has released patches and updates in 2018 has been exemplary. Admittedly, the initial Windows 10 October 2018 update was paused after a small number of users reported missing files after updating. But very soon after, Microsoft explained that new code designed to remove duplicate folders if a certain Windows 10 feature was enabled had caused the problem. The fixed update was then first released to trusted Windows’ testers before being leashed on the world. Prudent action.

Good Tech Is Important

A CBRE survey of 229 corporate managers reported that over half believed that maintaining a high-tech office environment is a smart way to attract and retain top employees. Tech companies hold a level of significant trust and expectation. And while we can’t blame everything on “bad- tech,” we certainly have the right to expect that if the promise is made, it will be fulfilled.

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