Most Innovative Tech Products in 2014

December has always been the month for summarizing what has been the most interesting, the most viewed, read, listened to or the most innovative things over the past year. In other words, we are looking what memorable things have happened this year, now that it is almost over. We’re have checked-out the most innovative technologies, gadgets, apps, and devices worldwide which have appeared and launched during 2014 and were presented by Business Insider.

The Oculus Crescent Cove VR Headset

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This year Oculus VR has introduced a next-generation virtual reality headset – Crescent Cove. This prototype is the closest to what the final consumer version will look like when it is on the market.

The headset has a better and lower-latency display with improved quality resolution (1080p instead of 720p). Early hands-on impressions of Crescent Cove are very positive and the remarks are that it looks a lot lighter and has improved comfort. It has integrated headphones with licensed 3D audio technology. The new VR headset provides true 360-degree head tracking and a new display inside the headset. The LED markers are still used for motion tracking as in Rift Development Kit.

No wonder that Oculus was bought by Facebook this year for $2 billion. Mark Zuckerberg states that it’s the next step in personal computing and it’s hard to disagree with him.

Google Cardboard

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Google Cardboard is another take on a virtual reality device. If Oculus Rift or Crescent Cove are too expensive for you, then don’t worry as Google will help you. Google Cardboard is an open source project that lets you insert a smartphone into a cardboard headset and enjoy virtual reality on-the-go. Essentially it’s a cardboard box that puts together 2 lenses and a smartphone, a true ‘do it yourself’ virtual reality device. It can be purchased in Kyiv for only 200-400 UAH.

The Moto 360

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The Moto 360 is a round Android Wear smartwatch which is really nicely designed. The Moto 360 comes with a leather strap and it’s surprisingly light at 2.2 ounces. One of the features unique to Moto 360 is a light sensor, which detects how bright your environment is and adjusts the brightness on the display. The Moto 360 connects to Android devices through Bluetooth 4.0 which means that you can: receive messages and call notifications on your watch, use it as a fitness tracker, check your calendar with upcoming events, use it as navigation tool, check weather, and so on. Battery life is up to 12-14 hours without charging and a good thing is that the Moto 360 charges at just under 2 percentage points a minute. The price for the Moto 360 is $250.

Screen on Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is one of the best smartphones that Samsung has ever made and the screen is the best part in this smartphone. Samsung uses the screen with a Quad HD display which means you get a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 on a 5.7 inch Super AMOLED screen, equal to 515 ppi in pixel density. Such a screen should be really difficult to produce.

The iPhone 6 camera

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The camera on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is the best camera ever used in a smartphone. The camera has the same 8 megapixel resolution as the iPhone 5s but has faster aperture (2.2 vs 2.4 on the 5s) and quicker auto focus speeds. It’s possible to make videos with 30 and 60 frames per second. iPhone 6 Plus also provides optical image stabilization and ability of making slow motion video with 240 frames per second.

iMac with Retina Display

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The new iMac with a Retina 5K display is like a small revolution in desktop computing. It puts nearly 15 million pixels onto a 27-inch screen. This new Retina-class all-in-one PC shifts resolution from 2560 x 1440 to 5120 x 2880 pixels. And it does so, according to Apple, while using 30 percent less power which is accomplished through the use of more efficient LEDs. Apple has also introduced something it calls Compensation Film, which helps ensure solid contrast.

As expected, it isn’t cheap. The new iMac starts at $2,500.

Apple Pay

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Apple Pay can become the dominant mobile payments platform. It comes with the support of a number of banks, credit card companies, and big-box retailers.

Setup and use of Apple Pay is really simple. The application first asks if you want to use the same payment information used in App Store and iTunes. Then you can pay for stuff or services simply by tapping your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus against special payment pad. And that’s all. No pen, no paper and no plastic credit card required.

It requires upgrading to iOS 8.1 and owning a iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

Android 5.0

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Android 5.0 Lollipop is the biggest Android update over the long period. The most obvious change in Lollipop is its fresh design, called Material. It is dynamic and almost everything is changed from the previous version – from the setup menu, app drawer, and notification to animations and icons. Also Material uses bright and rich colors. Gmail and Calendars got the most updated makeovers in Lollipop. Android 5.0 adds a new Battery Save mode, which reduces brightness, limits vibrations, and so on that can add up to 90 minutes of extra life.

Microsoft Office for iPhone and iPad

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After about a four-year development process, Microsoft finally released a version of Microsoft Office with Word, Office, and PowerPoint for iPhone and iPad. It’s a good step to increase the popularity of Microsoft Office and to be able to run it everywhere, not just in Microsoft Machines.

Office users can create, edit, save and view documents, copy and paste between documents, share via attachments, and present via PowerPoint.

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Let us know about your thoughts on what pushed technology forward in 2014?