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Gizmodo's mission is to educate and inspire. And as you could tell, we're more than a little obsessed with how the latest gadgets and entertainment gear change the way we live, work, love, and feel. It's that recipe that has seen Gizmodo win Best Website and Best Personal Technology Coverage at the Australian IT Journalism Awards — and grow to reach 1.5 million unique Australian readers each month. Technology is mainstream and we're demystifying it for the masses.
But enough about us, here are five key tech trends YOU need to know more about...
1. Virtual Reality
Sooner than you might think, we're not just going to be viewing the digital world from a flat screen in our palms or on our desks. Virtual reality is one of the most important and fastest changing trends of the last few years, and the next few are just as important. Facebook has invested massively in VR, buying Oculus — the same VR experience you got to try with us. Why would Facebook spend $2 billion on VR? Amazing 360-degree videos are coming to your news feed, and that's just the start. This year, Gizmodo went hands-on with the world's most advanced virtual reality experience, developed and built in Melbourne.
Oculus (re)introduced a revamp of VR to the modern world with the Rift, and in the last few months we've seen Sony jump on the bandwagon with its Playstation VR. HTC is also slowly gaining recognition for its amazing Vive headset, and it's working with video game giant Valve to make controllers work in virtual reality too. Capturing 360-degree, virtual reality video is every bit as hard as watching it, and massive innovations are being made by companies like GoPro, Lytro, as well as by Google and YouTube.
2. Drones And Robotics
Drones are taking off in Australia — pardon the pun — and they're only getting smarter. Drones can fly themselves, drones are improving the way we film stunning video, and they can deliver your groceries. We're still very new to drone flying Down Under, though, and we're still finding our feet — but we're seeing more and more advanced models, like the self-flying, self-filming 3DR Solo that Gizmodo went hands-on with, appearing in stores.
Gizmodo also covers the legalities of drones in Australia; we can tell you exactly what you need to know if you're buying and flying a drone in Australia right now. The rules are changing fast — by next year, smaller drones will be able to film commercially without a licence, although if you break the law and post it on YouTube, you're going to cop a fine no matter what.
If you have a smartphone, there's a wearable that you can pair with it. If you're using an Apple iPhone, there's the Apple Watch; if you're a Samsung junkie then you've got the Samsung Gear S2; if you're on Android then Android Wear is the one for you. Some of these will work cross-platform, but if you want a device that doesn't care about what phone you're using, you want a fitness tracker like a Fitbit or a Jawbone. And, of course, Gizmodo writes about everything in between.
There are fitness/coaching-oriented smartwatches like the Garmin Fenix 2 and TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio — or full-blown phone-connected smartwatches with some fitness features like the Samsung Gear S, Motorola Moto 360 and Pebble. Some devices also blur the lines — Garmin's new Vivosmart packs the good stuff of an activity tracker, plus the notifications of a smartwatch. Then there's the Basis Peak, a smartwatch that also wants to be a fitness tracker — and it does both very well.
4. The Evolution Of Computing
Who wants to be stuck to a desktop computer anymore? The future is all about 2-in-1 convertible laptops that can flip around into a tablet, and super-powered tablets like the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft's Surface Pro 4. Apple says it's not combining the Mac and the iPad to take on Microsoft, though — instead, it's shaving every single ounce from its laptops to make the super-light 12-inch Retina MacBook. Google wants Android to be king, and it might even make its own processors in-house. And, of course, there's the Chromebook.
We talk to our smartphones already, and we're going to start talking to our laptops soon too. With Windows 10, Microsoft is pushing into the real world, opening a store in Sydney's premier shopping district, and taking on the might of Apple with innovative new devices like the convertible Surface Book, a laptop that splits in half to become a tablet. Gizmodo knows we're also moving to a world where everything is online. We're used to using email, but we can also imagine a world where all our files are stored in Google Drive or Dropbox.
5. Upwardly Mobile
Whether it's during the ad-break of a TV show or when stuck on public transport — the amount of content we're viewing on our phones has grown exponentially. Not surprisingly, Gizmodo's page views from mobile devices has also boomed. And because phones are getting bigger and mobile data speeds faster, our design is optimised for mobile content and display opportunity.
But there's more to be done. Just as Gizmodo was a launch partner for Google Play Newsstand in Australia, we've also partnered with Apple to develop a digital edition for Apple News in iOS 9 and above. And because we live in a world of social recommendations, we're proud that Gizmodo now reaches over 45,000 followers across our Australian Facebook, Twitter and YouTube footprints.