Page 1:Wishful Thinking
Page 2:A Playable, Whole Game At Release
Page 3:Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Prototype
Page 4:The Return Of AMD
Page 5:Professional-Class Graphics Tablet
Page 7:All-Inclusive Tablet/Smartphone Integration Interface For Vehicles
Page 8:A Smartphone That Can Run Any Mobile OS
Page 9:Google Mobile Speech Recognition That Works! (Oh, And Better Google Docs)
Page 10:Nvidia Support For FreeSync
Page 11:Apple Watch
Page 12:The Efficient Smart Desk
Page 13:Unlimited Mobile
Page 14:Fixing The Rhode Island Problem
Page 15:Gigabit Internet
Page 16:Big Ultrabooks
We've covered our "practical" gift ideas, we've petitioned the elves-in-charge for more extravagant presents and now we fire off our wishes for the future. Some of them are implausible. Others might be more than a year away. But we still have hope, right?
How often do we end a year thinking that the next year will be bigger and better? This got the Tom’s Hardware team reflecting on what happened in 2014, and what we hope could happen in 2015. Beyond the typical evolutionary cycle of next-generation graphics and CPU architectures, what lies ahead? Will 2015 usher in VR gaming? Steam machines (for real this time)? G-Sync- and FreeSync-capable products en masse? Windows 10? Modular smartphones?
Here’s what we’d wish for...
A Playable, Whole Game At Release
This year was the one of the crappiest for blockbuster games released by publishing behemoths loaded with bugs, omitted features, outright broken travesties being slapped into boxes and shipped out. Each triple-A title was riddled with DLC to prop up an ever-diminishing number of playable hours.
My wish is that someone, somewhere in the gaming industry ships a complete title with no show-stopping bugs or stripped features in 2015. Barring this, my back-up wish would be that no one ever pre-order an MMO ever again, and instead wait one month post-launch before subscribing. - By Joe Pishgar
Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Prototype
I don't care if the consumer version of the Oculus Rift is only months away. I want unfettered access to the improved Crescent Bay prototype now, and forever. Virtual reality can't come fast enough for me, and as cool as the DK2 is, I want more. It's not for sale, so you'd have to steal it for me. But if you really love me, mom, you'll make it happen. - By Don Woligroski
The Return Of AMD
As an enthusiast, I have fond memories of AMD in its heyday, giving Intel’s highest-end host processors a run for their money. And I still remember attending the company’s FX press event, where representatives specifically avoided showing any single-threaded workloads. “This isn’t going to go well,” I thought to myself. And it didn’t. But after the Steamroller introduction, AMD told me that the CPU team was hard at work on the successor to Excavator, currently referred to as Zen, which will address shortcomings endemic to the four architectures that preceded it. Can an enthusiast keep his hopes up that lessons from the past shape a more competitive future? I think we’re all counting on it. – by Chris Angelini
Professional-Class Graphics Tablet
While Windows 8.1-based tablets like the Surface and HP Pro x2 612 G1 are great, they're really missing decent graphics capabilities for 3D painting and sculpting apps! - By Jon Carroll
If anything were possible, I’d wish for teleportation. Sure, it's still a ways off, but scientists are already working on making teleportation possible. Earlier this year, physicists at the Delft Institute of Technology in The Netherlands were able to successfully demonstrate teleportation of information. The Dutch researchers were able to prove the principle of quantum entanglement, or what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” By manipulating the spin rate of isolated electrons, the scientists showed that behavior in one place can determine the spin rate of electrons at a distance. In short, the team succeeded in teleporting information between two computer chips. This is significant because the spin rate counts as information, Jeffrey Kluger explains, and whereas information in today’s computers works on a system of ones and zeros, quantum bits of information are infinite. Imagine what this could mean for computers and networks of the future: instant, secure communication and ultra-fast computers capable of solving anything. The PC I type this on would look like a child’s toy compared to one of these teleportation gadgets of the future. - By Kasia Lorenc
All-Inclusive Tablet/Smartphone Integration Interface For Vehicles
Tablets and smartphones evolve at a much faster pace than automotive infotainment systems. While Apple and Google are working on their dumb-terminal interfaces for factory and aftermarket infotainment systems, not all of us want to plug in our phones when we get in the car. Aftermarket head units with navigation cost as much, if not more than, a suitable iPad mini or Android tablet, but don’t offer as many features, connectivity or performance. The installations are much more involved as well.
Why can’t we just have a simple single- or double-DIN mount that provides Qi wireless charging, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, integrated amp, pre outs, a digital signal processor, OBD-II interface and compatibility with steering wheel controls? All of the infrastructure needed for such a device is available. Metra comes close with its single-DIN Mobile Device Pocket solutions, but it still requires a head unit to take control. There’s also the iDataLink Maestro interface, which provides steering wheel controls and access to the vehicle bus to aftermarket head units.
As soon as someone creates an easy way to get high-quality audio and steering wheel control compatibility, I’m ready to shoehorn an iPad mini or Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE in our Mazda 5 project car. - By Anh Tuan Huynh
A Smartphone That Can Run Any Mobile OS
While I primarily write about mobile devices for Tom’s Hardware, at heart, I’m a PC enthusiast who built his first gaming PC in the early nineties to run Strike Commander. Therefore, Google’s Project Ara modular phone is something that greatly interests me. Still, while being able to customize my phone’s hardware is something that could be cool for tinkerers, I’m not sure how practical a modular phone will be. I’d still probably be happier with a purpose-built smartphone powered by the latest top-end hardware.
What I would like to see, though, is the ability to install the OS of my choosing on any given hardware platform. Imagine being able to choose your phone hardware without having to decide on what OS ecosystem you have to tie yourself into. I want the freedom to install Android, Windows Phone, Ubuntu or even BlackBerry on my phone legally without having to hack anything. While it would be nice if l could either dual-boot OSes or switch whenever I want, I’d even be happy with the option to only pick the mobile OS during the initial setup. Of course, I did not mention iOS in the list above since we all know that Apple would never allow its OS on any hardware but its own. Even wishes have limits. - By Alex Davies
Google Mobile Speech Recognition That Works! (Oh, And Better Google Docs)
Many of us are Android fans, and this author, for one, has “written” over 60,000 words this year alone by dictating into Google Docs on his phone by way of Google’s speech recognition API. Now, we fully appreciate that accurate speech-to-text has plagued researchers since DARPA was funding it in the 1980s. Just check out the more than 100 publications Google has on its Speech Processing site. It’s mind-boggling! So, we admire that under ideal conditions—a silent room, a good microphone, etc.—Google’s API is remarkably accurate, especially once you get used to the speech rhythms and sound preferences needed to help it out. But is it really so hard to translate this experience to phones? Come on! Turn on a fan or crack a car window open, and Google’s recognition totally rolls over. Array mics? Noise canceling? And how about some intuitive text editing a la Dragon Naturally Speaking? This has all been done and done cheaply! We would pay an extra $50 or $100 for a phone that made this possible. The productivity gains alone would more than pay off the cost. But like so many other Google projects, the speech API is “good enough” when it could be so, so much better with only a bit more work.
Speaking of which...Google Docs. For crying out loud, Google Docs is the Chuck E. Cheese pizza of word processors. It’s only barely as good as it has to be. Is Google so reluctant to kneecap Microsoft that it can’t blend Docs/Apps with a fork in the OpenOffice/LibreOffice suite and offer a seamless mobile/local/cloud productivity suite that doesn’t suck? Again, we would pay for this! Use it as a loss leader for selling storage space, Google. Something. Anything. But get us a fully functional version of Docs that can work as well offline as on. – by Willam VanWinkle
Nvidia Support For FreeSync
Over a year ago, Nvidia introduced its G-Sync technology, allowing the GPU to control screen refresh such that problems like stutter, tearing and lag are removed. G-Sync fixes a problem that has existed for a long time, and while we like what it does, we don’t like that it’s a proprietary technology.
Neither does AMD, and that’s exactly why it launched project FreeSync. The company worked with the VESA alliance to implement adaptive-sync into the DisplayPort standard, and it succeeded in making it an optional protocol. The two technologies essentially accomplish the same thing, but AMD’s version is free to use, rather than proprietary and expensive. Nvidia, if you would like to make 2015 complete, please add support for FreeSync, even if that means cannibalizing all potential G-Sync sales. – by Niels Broekhuijsen
Still in final development, this is the gift I wish was available in 2014. How much will it cost in gold? How long will the battery last? Will Apple Pay be as seamless as they say? None of that really matters. This will be the device to be had. With Apple iOS users leading the pack in mobile spending, third-party developers will create widgets to make the Watch a valuable and well-rounded gadget. – by Josh Linder
The Efficient Smart Desk
Since I spend a lot of my time in front of a physical keyboard, I’m always wishing for a better, more efficient way to work around my computer. With that in mind, Dell’s recently announced Smart Desk concept seems to fit the bill. A combination of a horizontally placed LCD touch screen, a vertical video display, and several UX enhancements, the Smart Desk provides multiple desktop workspaces for different tasks, adding another dimension to conventional multitasking. From what Dell has shown so far, I can switch from a touch-driven Photoshop editing session, to writing mode using a touchscreen keyboard, to composing music using digitally-represented piano keys, all at the swipe of my finger. If the concept of the Smart Desk takes off and advances, the days of the physical keyboard and mouse may be numbered. – by Julio Urquidi
Simple: I want the full 150Mb/s of bandwidth from the Category 4 LTE spec, no matter where I am. Oh, and no more data caps too, please. – by Matt Humrick
Fixing The Rhode Island Problem
Every time Tom’s Hardware runs a contest, we can’t include residents outside of the U.S. And even here in the U.S., we have to exclude Rhode Islanders. Every time we run a contest, we say this. But every time readers from outside of the U.S. complain (or worse). There are many reasons for this (our rules, not your complaints), mostly related to how each country regulates who can win prizes and how winnings are subject to tax laws. Treasure troves of money being an obstacle, we’re stuck. While I am sure there are people in the U.S. who hope it stays this way so that the pool of prize applicants remains more limited, it’s my wish that these rules just go away, or that Tom’s Hardware’s parent company hires a handful of tax attorneys to help us manage every legal jurisdiction in the world. And for goodness sake, even though Rhode Island is our country’s smallest state it feels heartless to exclude them. – by Fritz Nelson
My special holiday wish actually isn’t all that impractical: I just want gigabit Internet.
To hear CenturyLink tell it, gigabit is coming to residences in my town any day now (lies!). A broadband salesperson knocked on my door the other day and told me that a competing ISP already offered gigabit in a nearby neighborhood (lies!). He also told me that no one really needs more than 100Mb/s anyway (idiocy!).
There are lots and lots of people in my time zone that already have those sweet, zippy Internet speeds, which makes me want it even more. Those people are sitting there in their comfortable homes, streaming Netflix on six different devices just because they can, all while uploading a year's worth of high-res family movies in mere minutes.
I want to be like them. - By Seth Colaner
These days, I regularly use two laptops a: dinosaur of a 17-inch Sony Vaio, and a sleek 13-inch Macbook Air. While I appreciate the screen size and FHD resolution of the Sony, using a PC trackpad (any PC trackpad) is simply an exercise in frustration (as is using Windows 8), and the battery life of this discrete graphics-wielding beast is also pretty darn atrocious. Meanwhile, the Macbook Air is nearly perfect, just too damn small, with an unacceptably low sub-1080p resolution and no numpad. When I’m on-the-go, the Macbook is always my companion because of its slim design, but as soon as I hit a proper desk with an available power outlet, I’m breaking out the Vaio and my trusty Logitech M570. Ultrabooks were first introduced back in 2009, that was five years ago! So, where are the 17-inch models, heck, where are the 15-inch models? - Adam Overa