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Thursday, January 21, 2021

We have an outlandish tech wish list for 2021: Will brands play ball?

From a true PlayStation smartphone, Galaxy M51 with the S-Pen to a gaming-focused Apple TV, here's our gadget wish list for 2021.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: January 4, 2021 8:10:34 am
tech wish list 2021, tech wishlist for 2021, Sony PlayStation phone, PlayStation smartphone, Apple Arcade, Apple TV, Galaxy Note, laptops 2021Will Sony surprise consumers with a PlayStation smartphone this year? (Image credit: Sony)

Like fashion, tech is one of the few forward-looking industries. It is a community that is driven by new creative ideas that might or might not work but there has always been an effort to reinvent the wheel and challenge the status quo. This year, however, won’t be much different. While each company is of course unique and has its product strategy in place months in advance, there have been instances in the past when tech companies gave us products that came out of nowhere. By now tech pundits have already predicted the things you will – or won’t – see in tech this year, but we thought of making a wishlist we can only dream of. Here’s what we’re lusting over in tech in 2021.

A new Apple TV with a focus on gaming

Remember Pippin? It was a game console Apple released in 1995 but it soon sank into oblivion. We don’t want Apple to make another game console and compete with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in the console market. What we want from Apple is to revamp the Apple TV with a new identity and target the device at families and casual gamers. But for that to happen, Apple needs to redesign the Apple TV around its Apple Arcade subscription service. This can only be possible if Apple bundles a distinctive game controller, possibly revamp the user interface for better user engagement, and power the device with either A12X Bionic or the M1 chip. Get rid of the Apple TV branding and try to find a niche space for its own in the gaming market. A device like the Nintendo Wii is something Apple should aspire to make but with deep iPhone integration and lots of fun games. There are infinite opportunities in the sub-$250 price segment, and it is up to Apple which route it would eventually settle for.

Must read: Dear smartphone makers, here are 5 things to stop doing in 2021

tech wish list 2021, tech wishlist for 2021, Sony PlayStation phone, PlayStation smartphone, Apple Arcade, Apple TV, Galaxy Note, laptops 2021 Hey Samsung, please launch the next-gen Galaxy M51 with the S-Pen. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Next Samsung Galaxy M51 getting the S-Pen

Samsung has very much made clear that S Pen support will come to more phones this year, and going by rumours the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra would be the one non-Note Galaxy smartphone to feature the stylus support. We totally respect Samsung’s decision, and we also understand the business strategy behind choosing the S21 Ultra over any other Galaxy smartphone for adding S-Pen support. But we think the next version of the Galaxy M51 should also come with S-Pen. The reason: the Galaxy M51 is massively popular in the mid-range segment. A big chunk of consumers buying Samsung smartphones in markets like India go for the Galaxy M-series over the Galaxy S series. If the South Korean giant decides to bring that S-Pen support to the next version of the Galaxy M51, the biggest beneficiary will be Samsung. In a way, the true objective of bringing the best of the Note series to non-Note devices will only be served if those features come to popular mid-range smartphones. The Galaxy M51 has drawn a lot of consumer interest for its hulk-like looks and the 7000mAh battery. In our opinion, it is the perfect smartphone to take notes, write, and sketch on a large 6.7-inch screen.

tech wish list 2021, tech wishlist for 2021, Sony PlayStation phone, PlayStation smartphone, Apple Arcade, Apple TV, Galaxy Note, laptops 2021 Working from home has exposed consumers to take notice of small things in their laptops that might have previously been ignored. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

More mid-range laptops with a backlit keyboard

We got to review fantastic mid-range laptops in recent months, but when we look back at 2020’s best ‘affordable’ notebooks, it’s clear all the machines suffer from the same problem. All of these laptops, be it the Mi 14 Notebook e-Learning Edition or Dell Inspiron 15 (3505), were crazy fast and powerful but lacked a backlit keyboard. Maybe it’s a small thing for some people but we found a backlit keyboard just as useful as having a webcam on the notebook. For millions of consumers, remote work is now a way of life. So the companies should better launch laptops with illuminated keyboards.

Must read: Keep an eye on these smartphones in early 2021

tech wish list 2021, tech wishlist for 2021, Sony PlayStation phone, PlayStation smartphone, Apple Arcade, Apple TV, Galaxy Note, laptops 2021 A long-forgotten Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. (Image credit: YouTube screengrab)

The PlayStation phone

Sony hasn’t had a major success with its smartphones to date. Sales numbers don’t lie, and Sony thoroughly needs to introspect where it has gone so wrong. It’s unfortunate but Sony can still convince consumers by launching a PlayStation smartphone. The PlayStation is an aspirational brand, and Sony needs to use its expertise in video games to its advantage. All it wants is a little help from the PlayStation team in Silicon Valley to build a smartphone that’s unlike any other gaming-focused phone in the market. Sony does not need to position the device as a PlayStation 5 accessory, or a distinct cousin of the PlayStation Vita. Instead, the PlayStation phone has to come out of a fresh approach, a smartphone made for the new era that can run the best of Android games as well as all the PlayStation titles — old or new. A special emphasis on 3D audio alongside a slide-out gamepad ensures the PlayStation phone is different from the gaming smartphones of today.

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