9 technologies to watch in 2016

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Technology advances not so much when it exhibits innovation, but when it becomes truly practical for everyday people. In 2016, we'll see an acceleration of that shift of technologies from the drawing board and geek-only curiosities to consumer devices that change our lives in ways small and big. Here are a handful of technologies that are on the cusp of major action in the coming year. For decades, artificial intelligence was a thing best understood by sci-fi fanatics and screenwriters. That started to change n 2011 with Apple's Siri voice assistant, but 2015 turned out to be a watershed year for computer algorithms that could ape human thought and interaction.


Alphabet's Google takes on Amazon with new smart speaker

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Alphabet's ( GOOGL) Google kicked off its I/O developers conference yesterday. While analysts and consumers alike want to hear about developments such as a virtual reality device to rival Facebook's ( FB) Oculus Rift headset and new and improved artificial intelligence software, the unveiling of another new gadget took over the headlines and has the potential to bring in some exciting profits for investors. Google Home is a "smart speaker" designed to compete with the Amazon (AMZN) Echo. The Echo, a voice-intelligent personal assistant, has been one of Amazon's biggest sleeper hits. Building on the sort of technology that powers the Apple (AAPL) iPhone Siri system, the Echo is a touch-free device that can answer questions and perform commands from switching on Spotify to turning on the house lights.


2016's Biggest Tech Trends

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It seems only yesterday that we were lying on our friend's sofa vowing to abstain from all alcohol for the entirety of 2016 before being coerced into a pub trip by our pesky co-workers the first Friday back in the office. Yes, the start of the year seems no time ago at all, but 2016 is nearly over. There are under 9 weeks left of the year and this, coupled with the arrival of the colder weather, has got us feeling all nostalgic. Let's recap some of the biggest tech innovations of 2016 and our predictions for the tech world in 2017. Well Pokémon Go launched in July and thanks to the enormous number of nostalgic noughties kids roaming the streets with little to do, it took off at an astonishing rate.


6 futuristic tech gifts for under $500

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NEW YORK -- This year you can purchase a bit more of the sci-fi future. Hoverboards aren't quite what the name implies, but there's bona fide virtual reality, a droid you should be looking for and a basketball that improves your free throw, all one shopping-click away. These tech gadgets make the pocket-sized computer that talks to you and dials your friends seem quaint. But don't worry, there are plenty of smartphones on sale, too. Sphero's new $150 BB-8 droid is expected to be one of the hottest Star Wars gifts this holiday season.


Google Pixel Phone Is Powered by AI

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With an aim to lead the world of smartphones with its artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology, Google on Tuesday launched much-awaited Pixel -- a new premium device completely designed by the tech giant with Google Assistant built right-in -- at a special event here. Don't Miss: Black Friday 2016: Everything You Need to Know Now The launch also ended the Nexus branding under which the company has always released phones in partnership with other original equipment manufacturers like LG (for Google Nexus 5) and Huawei (for Google Nexus 6P). Although HTC has manufactured the smartphones, the new device bears Google branding. With curved sculpted edges and a unibody made up of combination of aerospace grade aluminum and glass, the device comes in two sizes -- 5 and 5.5-inch with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protected super AMOLED display. Pixel is available in two -- quite black and very silver colors in India.