10 Things That Rocked 2016
My Mobile|December 2016

There were products, events and launches galore in 2016, but if we had to pick the ones that really made a difference to the industry and to the lives of the consumers, well, we would pick these ten. Anuj Bhatia takes a closer look at the ten products and trends that rocked 2016.

Anuj Bhatia

iPhone 7 Plus

This is a smartphone to lust for, perhaps Apple’s best in years. The iPhone 7 Plus is bigger, better and as usual, expensive. And it’s worth buying. Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus isn’t at all too different from its predecessor the iPhone 6s Plus, but it adds key features that were missing from the previous generation iPhones. Like the iPhone 7, the large screen-sized smartphone has the same design and build. As mentioned earlier, there are key changes that works in favour of the iPhone 7 Plus. For instance, the iPhone 7 Plus is waterresistant, meaning it can take a splash of water, without destroying the device. And of course, it’s also the first iPhone to dump the legendary 3.5mm headphone jack. This time around users have to stick to Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector for charging and audio output. If you compare it to the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus has more guts - we were left spellbound by the innovative dual-camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus. It is not just a paper tiger - it enables you to get 2x optical zoom and superb depth of field shots. Then there is an improved battery which easily lasted a day and half on a single charge. It’s actually improved - and you will definitely notice the change. The 5.5-inch screen is beautiful, the performance seems satisfactory, there’s more internal memory (although alas, no memory card support even now) stereo speakers,and if you love straight forward software in the form of iOS, the iPhone 7 Plus is quite a good buy. We are not going to say that the iPhone 7 Plus is perfect or somewhat like that, but we can guarantee you that this is the best you can get at this price. The Godphone it remains and definitely is the phone to beat in terms of performance and features. And well, it is now back in black as well!

Reliance Jio

2016, or rather its latter half, was the year of reliance Jio, India’s newest telecom operator. With its subscriber base crossing 16 million within a month of launching its commercial operations on September 5, reliance Jio has already become hit among the masses, with hundreds queuing up for a connection outside stores. The arrival of reliance Jio has unleashed a war among the country’s top telecom companies. High speed 4G connectivity is the need for the hour, for a country like India - and Jio is offering fast connectivity without charging exorbitant prices. Jio’s cheapest plan begins at rs. 50 per 1GB. And Jio has made it clear that it won’t charge a single penny from its subscribers for all voice calls. Its Welcome Offer, which gives existing subscribers free Jio services including data, voice and video, will end on december 31. However, the real test will begin in January 2017 as bythat time reliance Jio’s 4G services would then have to come out of beta stage. The company has also attracted a fair deal of attention from the competition and the authorities with complaints about unfair practices and interconnectivity. Some consumers have also been facing call drops and claim data speeds have been dipping. Jio’s challenge in 2017 is going to be to deliver on its promise of 2016. Not too many would dare bet against it! 

Chatbots

What are chatbots? Are they going to kill apps? From Facebook to Microsoft, all the tech titans are building chatbots. But why? A chatbot is a service designed to provide us information, powered by an artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a text message. The basic idea is to find anything, without having to do a Web search or opening up multiple apps. As an example, if you would like to buy a pairof jeans from Levi’s online store, you simply visit the site, look around for a pair of jeans you wanted, and then you would buy it. But if Levi’s makes a bot, all you would like to do message Levi’s on Facebook Messenger and simply say what you are looking for. Instead of browsing a website and spending hours, you will have to converse with Levi’s bot. It not only saves time, but it will give you the type of experience you would find in your nearby retail store. chatbots learn from the past conversation and even make suggestions before you ask. It’s fascinating, right? chatbots are gaining traction because people are tired of downloading individual apps. Even if you aren’t interested to use a particular app, you will be forced to do so. currently, Facebook is taking bots to a whole new level. Earlier this year, it launched its chatbot platform, more than 11,000 bots have been added to Messenger. right now, chatbots are relatively new, concept-wise. They are good at simple tasks, at least for now, like giving you the weather update and so on. No, they won’t replace humans anytime soon. So be relaxed. But the next time you are chatting to someone online, don’t be too sure it is a flesh and blood person. The era of the chat bot is set to arrive soon. And conversations might never be the same again. Yes, there will be some who will yearn for the “human” touch but we reckon there will be many who will simply appreciate the convenience. 

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