2021 was quite a year. So many new product launches, innovations came to light. The global chip shortage had a massive impact on the tech world whereas Elon Musk remained in news almost throughout the year. Here’s what we think covered all things tech — the A-Z of tech in 2021.
A: Apple Polishing Cloth
Apple had a rather busy 2021. Four iPhones, new AirPods, AirTag, multiple Macs and iPads, and the Apple Watch. Yet the most peculiar product it launched was a Polishing Cloth. Priced at Rs 1,999, the Polishing Cloth created quite a bit of a flutter.
B: Bitcoin and other cryptos
Not that cryptocurrency has been a new phenomenon but it became quite mainstream in India. There are now more options for people to invest in it but a cloud of uncertainty hangs over it as the government of India proposed to ‘ban’ it.
C: Chip shortage
2021 was dominated by the global chip shortage as it affected multiple categories. Smartphones got expensive, shipments got delayed, and supply was affected badly. There seems to be no end in sight of the chip shortage, so it could be a bumpy ride in 2022 as well for companies and consumers.
The great race for deliveries is on like anything among online marketplaces. Swiggy, Blinkit (formerly Grofers), even Amazon want to deliver groceries at blazing fast speed on your doorstep. Let’s see how long does this last in 2022.
E: Elon Musk
2021 may just have been The Year of Elon Musk. He saw Tesla’s market value grow enormously, did a bunch of cool stuff with SpaceX, wants to bring satellite-based internet in your homes, and those tweets. Oh, and also he became the richest man in the world and saw his wealth grow exponentially in the last 12 months.
F: Foldable phones
Still not mainstream. You know it, we know it but it might just take Apple to make a foldable iPhone — it must be called iFold or iFlip — for the category to grow. Still, Samsung has been making valiant efforts and is succeeding in its own niche way. And Oppo too joined the foldable party. Expect more players next year in the category.
G: Google Pixel
Google also did a bunch of cool stuff in 2021 with Gmail, Maps, and other services. But it’s the Pixel which was the talk of tech town for a while. A brand new custom made processor, good looks, great cameras — the Pixel certainly was a hot phone of the year. Pity, we can’t get it in India.
H: Hybrid work plan
Tech companies’ back to office plans hit quite a few speed bumps as Covid-19 continued to have a massive impact throughout 2021. This is why the practice of a hybrid workplace has been floated that allows employees to work a few days from home and a few days from the office.
I: Instagram Reels
There are just too many Reels on Instagram. So much so that Instagram officially said it’s an app about videos and not photos any longer. You can thank — or blame — TikTok for the rise of Instagram Reels.
J: JioPhone Next
Two tech giants — Reliance Jio and Google — came together to launch JioPhone Next. The phone is aimed at entry-level buyers, runs on a custom OS but the pricing isn’t what many were expecting.
The developer responsible for the ‘comeback’ of PUBG but in a new avatar — BattleGrounds Mobile India. The game was an instant hit and Krafton became a household name amongst gamers.
Not some gibberish but Log4j is java logging library Log4j and is embedded in almost every Internet service or application we are familiar with, including Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, Minecraft and more. It was — or rather is — one of the most serious cybersecurity threats of 2021.
Yes, it’s no longer Facebook but Meta. Why you may ask? It’s a part of Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term vision of creating a Metaverse. That’s the official party line but really a good old fashioned rebranding is the way to go to solve all your ‘problems’ and stop the relative negative publicity. Isn’t it?
The ‘cool’ thing to do in 2021: buy or create NFTs. From Hollywood to Bollywood and from football to artists — everyone wants to create Non Fungible Tokens and leave a digital legacy. A flash in the pan or it might just be here to stay — we will see how NFTs fare in 2022 before deciding their impact.
It finally came out in the open. OnePlus officially revealed that it’s merging operations with Oppo but continues to operate as a separate brand. It will be interesting to see how that merger pans out and the impact it has on both brands.
The man who became CEO of Twitter. A graduate of IIT Bombay, Agrawal is the latest Indian-origin CEO heading a Silicon Valley tech giant.
Q: Quit Quit Quit
That seemed to be the mantra as 2021 was the year of great resignation. There has been a big trend — especially in the tech industry — where people are resigning en masse for a variety of reasons.
As always a busy, busy year for Realme. But we are putting the brand on the list as it actually beat Samsung to become the second biggest player in India. It claims that it would have been number one if Poco and Xiaomi didn’t count their numbers together.
S: So many true wireless earbuds
There are just too many true wireless earbuds. We thought they might have peaked in 2020 but not really as it seemed like every week a pair of new true wireless earbuds were launched. No, actually it seemed like four new true wireless earbuds landed every week, so yes there are too many of them in the market now.
T: The Space Race
Gravity is a myth, the Earth sucks. Bad joke aside, there was a race to get to space in 2021. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson — and a few others — got really serious about making space travel and exploration a reality in 2021.
Throughout the year, Indian startups joined the exclusive unicorn club — valued at over $1 billion. A record number of startups achieved unicorn status in 2021 in what was a rather tough year for the economy otherwise.
V: Virtual Reality 2.0
VR mixed with AR will be the next big thing in technology. 2021 gave us a glimpse of what lies in store as Apple, Meta, Samsung, Microsoft are all readying products with virtual reality at the heart of it.
No escaping webcams in 2021. A lot of the work happened over Zoom, Google Meet and others, which meant that webcam on your computer had a busy year.
X: Xbox and PS
It was hard to find an Xbox or Playstation in 2021. The demand has outweighed the supply — thanks to the chip shortage — and it felt like an achievement for those who could buy a new Xbox or PS in 2021.
Y: You’ve Got Spam
India was the fourth spammed country in the world. Almost every minute someone gets a spam call, message or WhatsApp message.
One of the biggest threats to your software or hardware. Zero-day threats are those that are known but not fixed. There were quite a few of those in 2021 which came to light and affected many users and organisations.