The Verge 2017 tech report card: Virtual reality

I wouldn’t blame you for tuning out VR news in 2017. There was no string of huge hardware releases, like last year’s Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. The medium’s limits became clearer. For some people, VR reached a trough of irrelevance — stories about it were no longer conceptually fresh and fascinating, but they weren’t relevant to daily life yet, either.

Despite this, 2017 laid exciting groundwork for VR’s future. The biggest advance was arguably Windows Mixed Reality: a VR platform built into Microsoft’s Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, supporting headsets that don’t need external cameras or markers. Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers still aren’t very comfortable or stylish. But their tracking feels remarkably…

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The Verge 2017 tech report card: Artificial intelligence and robotics

Artificial intelligence boomed this year like few other areas in tech, but despite the scientific breakthroughs, glut of funding, and new products rolling out to consumers, the field has problems that can’t be ignored. Some of these, like company-driven hype and sensationalist headlines, need better communication from the media and experts. Others challenges are more nuanced and will take longer to address, such as bias in algorithms and the growing threat of tech firms becoming AI monopolies as they hoover up data and talent.

But first, the good stuff. Artificial intelligence was everywhere in 2017, and although you’re right to be skeptical when you hear this, it’s positive news. Experts compare AI to electricity because it’s a…

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The Verge 2017 tech report card: Gadgets

It’s been a pretty good year for gadgets. While the most popular gadget may have been the fidget spinner, there have been a number of devices released in 2017 that will make a lasting impact for years to come. From the Nintendo Switch, which turned out to be a major hit for the Japanese gaming company, to new smart home devices from companies like Nest and Arlo, to changes in policy around smart luggage that threaten industry leaders in the space, 2017 has been nothing if not exciting for gadget enthusiasts.

The biggest gadget win of the year is undoubtedly the Nintendo Switch. The portable gaming console landed in March and immediately made its mark as the best portable console in years. There have been very few gadgets that have…

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Sonos markdowns and huge audio discounts highlight New Year’s tech sales

The end of the year is a few days away, and retailers are ringing in 2018 by offering discounts on some of the essentials for your New Year’s party. You can play “Auld Lang Syne” on a new Sonos Play: One speaker, which is on sale for less than its Black Friday price at Amazon. If you snag a Google Home Mini from Walmart for just $ 29, you can use the free $ 25 Walmart credit to order some champagne for your guests. If you want to watch the ball drop, why not do it on a 55-inch 4K TV on sale for $ 399 from Walmart. No matter how you shop New Year’s tech deals, end the year with a smart buy.

AUDIO

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Blunders and blockbusters from the biggest names in tech

In many ways, the world in 2016 was defined by its mistakes. Companies let products languish, and when they did release updates, they often made questionable design choices. And of course, one of Samsung's most important phones literally went up in s…
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