Geared Up Podcast: Our favorite tech from 2017 so far and what to watch for the rest of the year

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GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser (right) shows off a fresh pair of Snap Spectacles to Geared Up hosts Andru Edwards (center) and Todd Bishop (left) on a past episode. (GeekWire Photo)

The first half of 2017 has flown by, bringing some huge developments in consumer electronics and gadgets with it.

We’ve seen a revolution in smartphone technology and design, new hugely successful and state of the art gaming consoles and even a surprising new contender in the laptop market.

This week on Geared Up, we decided to look back at some of our favorite tech and gadgets from the first half of 2017 and dive deeper into what they say about the tech world.

We also take a look at upcoming releases that we’re watching for in the remainder of the year, including the as-yet-unannounced iPhone 8. Listen to the show below and keep reading to see all the tech that made the list.

First up: Circle by Disney, basically a parental control for the internet that’s personalized for every device on a home network.

Andru picked this one because it’s so versatile — it filters the internet for age-appropriate content, automatically shuts down a device’s internet service at bedtime, and even has built-in grounding when parents want to keep kids offline for a while.

Circle also has an add-on service that goes with devices, so kids have the same restrictions at school or a friend’s house that they have at home.

Next: The Amazon Dash Wand With Alexa. Todd is enamored with this smart kitchen assistant, the smallest Alexa device yet. It can order groceries from Amazon through Alexa’s voice capabilities or by scanning an item’s barcode with a built-in scanner.

Todd said the device’s convenience is the X factor for him — the wand can refill GeekWire’s snack cabinet with just a few magic words to the smart assistant.

Andru’s next pick is less about one gadget and more about an entire industry: The smartphone. This year, we’ve seen a revolution in how phones are designed and built, particularly around the display and the integration of virtual and mixed reality.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 both exemplify the new smartphone tech we’ve seen this year and the next iPhone, due to debut this fall, is sure to bring even more surprises.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 both emphasize a longer, skinnier display and have started incorporating VR elements. (GearLive image / Andru Edwards)

Todd’s next pick is also a phone, although a virtual one. He chose T-Mobile Digits, the service that lets T-Mobile customers set up a second phone number on their device and share one phone number between multiple devices.

Todd says he’s used the service to create a virtual work phone and loves that he can have two numbers on one device.

And our last pick: The Snapchat Spectacles. These glasses are a bold fashion statement that also let you stream first-person video and photos to your Snapchat account.

Although he’s not a huge Snapchat user, Todd says he likes the utility of the Specs and also the fun way they were rolled out. Andru is a big Snapchat user and says he uses the specs to give his followers a look inside cool events and at products he’s testing out.

And what’s on our radar for the rest of the year? Top of the list is the iPhone 8. Both Todd and Andru are excited to see what Apple does for the 10th anniversary of its signature smartphone, particularly with VR integrations.

Also high on the list: The Xbox One X, the supercharged gaming console that’s set to become the newest addition to Microsoft’s gaming empire. We’ll be covering those devices and much more on Geared Up for the rest of the year, so stay tuned!

Listen to this week’s episode above or download it as an MP3. Don’t forget to subscribe to Geared Up in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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