Wow, this year sure went by quickly. As 2024 fast approaches, it’s time to name my Product of the Year.
Only one product stands so far above the rest in terms of impact that the choice was unusually easy. I could say I doubt this will happen again, but given how quickly things are moving, this may be true several times this decade.
Let’s start with the contenders that did not make it to the top of my list, and I’ll conclude with the one product that did.
(Image Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.)
The Tesla Cybertruck is incredibly disruptive. It combines the best electric vehicle technology currently available in the U.S. with what is likely the hottest design to hit the market since the Pontiac Aztek.
This pickup truck can outperform sports cars and even most street cars set up for drag racing. But it is immensely impractical as a pickup truck and unacceptable to most drivers who have previously been wedded to the Ford F-150.
I was tempted to order the Cybertruck just to experience the amazing technology but ended up going with the far more practical and better-looking Fisker Ocean.
(Image Credit: Fisker)
The Fisker Ocean is, in my opinion, the best SUV-based electric vehicle in the U.S. Market. It isn’t as fast as the Cybertruck, but as mentioned, it is much more practical and better looking.
With an impressive 360-mile range, this truck should be ideal for most electric vehicle buyers. It has several unique features like California Mode, where you can open up the top and all the windows with one button.
It has little dog windows in the back that open, a table for the driver, and solar panels all over the roof so the vehicle can charge itself in the sun, potentially giving you more power when you get back to the airport after a plane trip than you had when you first arrived.
Rokid Max AR Glasses
(Image Credit: Rokid)
The Rokid Max AR smart glasses were the first head-mounted display that I’ve been able to use on plane trips that didn’t leave me wanting something better or different.
At an affordable price, I’d have bought this as a gift for several people this year if Amazon had a wrapping option for it. Still, after a long business trip, I can put these on, blank my notebook screen, and isolate on the plane so the ride seems to go by in minutes. Plus, I can see around the glasses so that people sitting next to me or the airplane staff can easily get my attention when they need it.
These glasses improve my enjoyment and represent an interesting path to the future of personal technology and a potential route for smartphones to displace PCs eventually. I mostly use my pair with my laptop, but they also work on my smartphone.
70mai Omni Dash Cam
(Image Credit: 70mai)
The 70mai Omni Dash Cam became my go-to gift this year. This R2D2-looking dash cam has been helpful and entertaining on the road. I can rotate it to take selfies automatically and monitor my cars when I’m away from them. It looks good on the window and reminds me if I’ve been driving too long and should take a break.
This dash cam recorded a nasty accident I was in a few weeks back, though, honestly, that accident shook me up so much that I haven’t had the nerve yet to view the video. Still, having it gives me peace of mind. When I get in the car, it greets me and makes me smile. I can hardly wait to see how this product will evolve.
HP Spectre Foldable Laptop
(Image Credit: HP)
I’m becoming a fan of foldable screen products, and the best foldable screen laptop in the market is the HP Spectre Foldable touch screen. What makes it so good is that the screen unfolds to 17 inches yet is as portable as a small 13-inch laptop.
At around $5,000.00, it isn’t for everyone, but it is lust-worthy and does capture attention when you unfold it to its full size. As a technology highlight, this laptop had no peer this year, and while I don’t anticipate seeing many of them around, I expect they will draw attention wherever they are.
HP Envy Move Portable All-In-One PC
(Images Credit: HP)
For a reasonable $749, the HP Envy Move All-in-One is the perfect PC for a dorm room or around the house for those of us working from home.
With a magnetic handle, around 4 hours of battery life, and a 24-inch screen, this is an ideal product for someone who wants to take a streaming device that is also a PC with them to work while watching the dogs or pets, or even to stream movies while taking a bath.
It could also be handy for the kids in an RV or to keep them from taking over the TV when the adults want to watch football over the holidays. This portable PC is one of those products I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it.
TicWatch Pro 5
The TicWatch Pro 5 is the closest I’ve been able to find to the Apple Watch in an Android product.
I wear it every day, and it tracks a variety of biometric data and allows you to take calls on the watch. It is better looking than the Apple Watch and has days of battery life.
For now, and for Android, the TicWatch Pro 5 is my pick for the best smartwatch in the market and a showcase of how fast others are closing in on Apple’s smartwatch dominance.
While this product went vertical largely thanks to Microsoft, ChatGPT-4 set the market on fire when Microsoft announced that it was going to put it into Office and Windows as its Copilot feature.
ChatGPT-4 blindsided Google, along with the rest of us who didn’t believe AI had advanced as fast as it had. Until it gained success, expectations were that we wouldn’t get to artificial general intelligence (AGI) — a form of AI that surpasses human intellect across all fields — until after 2040. Now, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang says AGI might be achieved toward the end of the current decade.
Windows 12, previously expected toward the end of the current decade, is predicted for next year, largely created with ChatGPT and massively accelerating the refresh rate of Windows.
This has set off a massive AI race that will include malware, unfortunately, and increase the need for tools like this to ramp up as defensive weapons. HP’s Wolf Security unit is predicting technologies like this will be incredibly effective next year in terms of malware, and they are ramping up security measures to combat that wave, but most will be woefully unprepared.
On the other hand, the capabilities in offerings like this will transform the workplace by allowing a few to do the work of many and likely dramatically reduce the number of people most companies need. For those groups currently understaffed, this technology will be a godsend by closing the work gap so they can finally get a bit ahead of their workload.
Some of the more significant impacts will be on digital assistants, which will suddenly seem to get far smarter and be able to operate autonomously to complete tasks, provide advice, and help folks make better decisions.
While much of the focus of this technology will be on improving sales performance and customer interactions, hopefully, it will evolve to help kids better plan for their future, pick better career paths, and become better adults.
While born in controversy because of its potential to do great harm, ChatGPT will also do incredible good, and I hope it will be known more for the latter in the future.
In any case, OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 is my Product of the Year. If you think AI is nuts now, wait until next year.
Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!