New York Times
If you love technology, it may be time for a group hug: This year has been rough for consumer technology.
From exploding smartphones and hoverboards to the proliferation of fake news on social media, many of our tech hardware, software and web products suffered embarrassing failures. Behemoths like Google, Facebook and Samsung Electronics were on the firing line as a result.
Yet the year was not entirely bleak. There were major strides in several areas of consumer tech, including Wi-Fi, virtual reality and encryption.
What follows is a year in review on the tech that needed the most fixing, and the tech that was actually fixed in 2016.
Tech That Needed Fixing
Lithium ion has been the go-to technology for batteries powering consumer electronics for decades. But faulty lithium-ion battery cells were blamed for two high-profile product safety hazards this year: exploding hoverboards and Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones. The defects led schools to ban the use of hoverboards on campus and Samsung to recall more than 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones.
Lithium ion has stuck around for so long because it is cheap and easy to reproduce. Yet this year’s explosive episodes — combined with the persistent complaint that smartphone batteries don’t last very long — raise questions about whether the industry should shift toward advanced battery technologies that have been in development for years.