Our Tech Predictions for 2021

By WIRED Staff

MC: I think predictions are in order.

LG: All right, let's give it a try.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music]

LG: Hey, everyone, it's time for Gadget Lab. It's the last one of the year. I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED. I'm joined remotely by my co-host, WIRED senior editor, Michael Calore. Hey, Snackfight.

MC: Aloha.

LG: We're also joined by WIRED senior associate editor and basically our unofficial third co-host, Julian Chokkattu. Julian joins us from a very snowy New York City. It's too bad the snow has kept you from going to bars and indoor restaurants, ha, Julian.

Julian Chokkattu: Hey. No, actually, I love snow. I will shovel anyone's yard, driveway, so just give me a holler, and I'll come over.

LG: Right, and of course, it's probably COVID that's been keeping you from bars and indoor restaurants, but-

JC: Sadly, yes.

LG: Let's blame the snow. All right, so this is our last show of 2020. We're going to be taking the next two weeks off to celebrate our respective socially distant holidays, and gear up for what will hopefully be an exciting year for WIRED in 2021. This is going to be a yearend retrospective episode of sorts. We all know what a tumultuous year 2020 turned out to be, so we're going to try not to dwell too much and focus on what's to come. Then later in the show, we'll have a not so sober discussion about how last year's predictions panned out.

Spoiler alert, it was 2020, so we were wrong on a few things. Spoiler alert, we may have already started drinking at the start of this episode, but let's start by looking forward. We've asked some of our WIRED colleagues to predict what they think will be the big shifts in tech in 2021. We've got some ideas ourselves. I'm going to toss it to our guest, Julian first. Julian, what are you predicting for 2021?

JC: Well, I just got done reviewing the LG Wing. It's a phone with the swiveling screen, so you push it to the side, and the top layer screen goes into landscape orientation, and then you have a little mini display on the bottom. It was surprisingly polished, and it gave me this multitasking dual screen experience. It was just a lot of fun to use. I think that's what we're going to see with phones since that's my primary beat. With phones, we're going to see a lot more fun and experimentation for manufacturers next year.

We already saw a bit of that this year with Samsung's Galaxy folds and the surface duo, but I think because smartphone sales are declining year over year nowadays, we're going to see manufacturers trying to give people way different options in how they can use their phone. You don't have to just stick with this traditional single screen slab, because that's just the phone factor we stuck with for some reason, and now we have the technology to change that and just have fun.

I think that's something that's going to be really exciting. Especially since you have that phone that I just tested, the LG Wing is $1,000, which is expensive, but when you talk about it in terms of foldables and swiveling phones, I guess, it doesn't seem like it's that much compared to the single screen phones that you can also buy for $1,000. I think this stuff's going to come down in price. We're going to see a lot more experimentation, rollable phones, foldable phones. I don't know what other adjective I can use, but another type of phone.