Year Ender 2021: Tech is generally fun, though it hasn’t been easy for companies to surprise their customers, especially when leaks cover all aspects of a new product ahead of its launch. However, there are always some surprises in store when very little is known about the products available before the launch. This year also we saw some such products and features which were completely surprising. Here are the biggest technical surprises in 2021.
The MacBook Pro Notch
The arrival of the new MacBook Pro was always on the cards but little was known about the notch display. It was hard to ignore, and everyone had a viewpoint to share. Some opinions were very strong, which reminds us of the time when Apple first introduced the notch on the iPhone X in 2017. Apple cleverly avoided large bezels and raised the display, the notch houses a 1080p webcam and True Tone sensor. Second, it hardly matters how you play content on the XDR display. In fact, you are getting a much bigger display to see than before.
Sony Xperia Pro-1
The total surprise was the Xperia Pro-1, a phone that brings Sony’s Alpha mirrorless technology to its high-end Xperia smartphone. Sony has had a tough time in the smartphone market, so watching the Xperia Pro-1 was a real treat for the fans. The Pro-1 sets itself apart from other camera-centric smartphones with a massive 1-inch camera sensor coupled with built-in video and photo apps. With the Xperia Pro-1, Sony has taken a different route and gives Sony an advantage in the imaging space, but at $1800, the Xperia Pro-1 is geared towards the professional market and content creators, a sign that Sony has to take the mainstream. There is no interest in competing with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market.
Steam Deck will hit the market next year, but its launch was no less than a surprise. The so-called “Nintendo Switch” of PC gaming, Valve’s Switch Deck is probably the best portable gaming device for playing AAA games. What makes Steam Deck such a surprise at first is that you can play any Steam game in your library that can be used in handheld mode and docked mode on a $400 device. It doesn’t look like a half-baked product and has a bigger screen in the middle, tactile buttons, analog stick and other buttons on the sides. If the Switch uses Nintendo’s Wall Guard point-of-view example, Steam Deck breaks it. Though both the devices are fundamentally different in their point of view, apart from being gaming machines.
Metroid Dread was the biggest surprise of the year, perhaps the best game Nintendo has to offer. Nintendo dropped the announcement at E3 2021, and the tech world was shocked by news of the game launching on Switch just before the holidays. The first 2D Metroid game in 19 years, Metroid Dread features a number of unique gameplay elements that are known to add an entirely new machine to the series. The story of Samus Aran continues with strong art design, visuals and excellent audio design. No wonder Metroid Dread is Time magazine’s Game of the Year.
Sony Making Official PS5 Covers
Sony doesn’t want third-party sellers to sell custom faceplates for its PlayStation 5, so it’s making its own. It will be launched in five color options from January 2022, but first only Red and Black colors will come in the market. Sony says that these faceplates for the PlayStation 5 are “easy to use” and just fit where whites once were. Its price will be a piece at 55 dollars. The announcement came after Sony fought a legal battle with custom case seller Debrand for selling the faceplates of the PS5. A patent filed by Sony for swappable PS5 plates was leaked on the internet, hinting that the company may soon launch PS5 faceplate replacement covers.