2014’s Top Holiday Tech Trends

Shopping for friends, family and loved ones in the December can be one of the most stressful experiences of the year. It can be a real struggle to get everyone on your list something that they both want to receive and that they don’t already own.

Now that the struggle is over (for most of us, anyway), it’s time to reflect back on what was hottest in tech this holiday season, according to Future Shop.

Wearable Tech. Wearable tech is one of the fastest-growing segments out there today.

While they’ve been in the works for about the last 10 years in various iterations, it was only in 2013 that wearables started getting the mass market’s attention in a big way. Last year saw the launches of the first Galaxy Gear and the first Pebble. Still, wearables were only sub category of smartphones last holiday season.

In the past year many other manufacturers have entered the fray with various designs and functionalities – including companies like Martian smartwatches, brain-activity-tracking Muse, and pet-tracking Tractive,  leading many tech experts to ask if 2014 is the “year of the smartwatch.” (That, or the Year of Taylor Swift.)

Smart Tech. The rise of self-driving cars and augmented reality proves that we really are living in the future.

This smart tech is moving further into the home and far beyond smart TVs. Companies are now integrating everyday items like thermostats, lights, baby monitors and front-entrance keys and allowing users to control them on their smartphones. This has given rise to new items designed to bring these all together in an easy-to-use way, like the Harmony One Ultimate home remote.

                                                                                                                                                                                     Portable Audio. Portable audio is a staple holiday gift and a major crowd pleaser at anytime of the year.

Many Canadians see home audio as a must-have, but what about when they leave the house? High quality headphones are an investment, but also a necessity for those who are constantly on the go. Portable speakers, like the water-resistant Ultimate Ears BOOM, may not be a necessary part of life for most, but it’s impossible to go back once you’ve experienced the luxury of having full sound by your side wherever you go. An added bonus is that portable speakers are only getting smaller and more powerful.

Streaming. The growing popularity of streaming services has led to a rapid increase in products designed to make the most of them.

Straightforward devices like the Google Chromecast turn any TV with an HDMI port into a internet-enabled device by sending content from your mobile devices to the screen with a press of a button, while streaming devices like the Roku provide additional built-in channels to stream content from. If you have a friend that’s addicted to their cable subscription, try a Slingbox, which transmits the cable’s signal to you anywhere in the world where you have wi-fi access.

Keep an eye on these categories in 2015 to see what the future holds for technology.