Cyber Monday is a phrase coined by www.shop.org and the date Americans return to work following Thanksgiving. In the US, Cyber Monday sees a sharp increase in online spending, which coincides with online price reductions. Such activity is influenced by the high-street sales of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
For the rest of the world, Cyber Monday just happens to coincide with the start of December, when everyone realises that Christmas is approaching, present-buying won’t happen by itself and there’s nothing left to do but panic. In the digital age, Cyber Monday sales are here to stay.
So today seems as good a time as ever to bring the issue of Christmas kicking and screaming to the fore. Working for a digital marketing agency we’re very much at the forefront of tomorrow’s world, and 2014 has been another fabulous year when it comes to new inventions and exciting thingamajigs.
Here are our top 10 digital devices of 2014. It’s a wonder how we ever lived without them…
Marketed as the first Wi-Fi kettle in the world, the iKettle is much more than that. An alarm function can wake you up to politely ask if you’re ready for a cuppa. You can set it to boil from the comfort of your couch, instantly halving the number of tea trips to the kitchen. You can also set it to heat to optimum temperatures for infusing white and green teas which, in this highly refined and sophisticated day and age, is no less than a cultured brew-imbiber deserves.
A campaign was launched in 2013 to raise enough funds for the development of this panoramic, throwable camera ball. Judging by its inclusion in our top 10 Xmas presents it proved a great success, and the first Pananos are currently on their way to a handful of lucky pups. But not to me, sadly, unless Santa Claus is reading this.
3) iPhone 6
Apple continue to whet our taste buds every year with a brand new titbit, and if there are none left on Cyber Monday after the Black Friday shopping it’ll be no surprise. Some seven years since their first revolution of the phone, they’ve finally blessed us with a handset as beautifully sleek as it is technically-savvy. With a shape and functionality as pleasing as this, telecommunications finally enters the realm of the art form.
The perfect marriage of laptop and tablet, the wafer-thin Surface Pro 3 is seriously lightweight, not dissimilar to carrying a notepad around with you. In truth it’s actually a laptop, with the versatility of a tablet. Or perhaps that makes it a tablet, with all the power of a laptop. Either way, it’s an affordable innovation, and an important development in ‘laplets’ and ‘tabtops’ that will only continue to grow.
Hot on the heels of the Kindle Paperwhite – their ground-breaking touch-screen e-reader – comes the Voyage. Released in November 2014, early signs are promising indeed, with Kindle’s new baby being slimmer, lighter, clearer to read and more user-friendly.
Motorola’s 360 makes the list for its attempts to resemble a regular wristwatch. It’s still early days for smartwatches but in a world where too many are clunky geek-fests, the Moto reigns supreme for its round screen and timepiece subtlety. Apple will join the party in the New Year with the release of their Apple Watch, so 2015 may finally see the smartwatch market take off.
7) Polar V650 Bike GPS
After establishing themselves amongst the top elite of sports watch manufacturers, Polar have expanded their range for cycling enthusiasts, with a full on-board GPS system. The V650 includes GPS for your route, location, speed and distance, along with functions for analysing your training data. If you’re wanting to reach peak performance it’s a must, and for those of us who need a firm shove to get exercising, it’s a sure-fire way of shaming you into getting the bike out more often.
2014 has been a vintage year for the camera enthusiast, but Samsung’s NX300 deserves a special mention. It doesn’t have the features of a £1000+ model, but for an affordable price the picture quality and usability is excellent. Bonus points come for its handsome retro looks, which resemble the kind of camera everyone owned when the world was ruled by hairy analogue beasts and everything was in black and white.
Artificial Intelligence comes to WiFi. A nifty little cube with literally a mind of its own, the EmoSPARK builds up individual profiles of its users over time, analysing what makes you excited or bored, happy or sad. Through picture and voice recognition it’ll then be able to gear your listening and viewing to things that’ll cheer you up. So cue Mr or Mrs Grumpy-Guts on the couch, being force-fed Pharrell Williams’ excellent toe-tapper ‘Happy’, with Mary Poppins on the tele. Perhaps.
Last but by no means least, Divoom have launched what may well be the most adaptable Bluetooth speaker on the market. It’s the splash-proof guarantee and suction cup that’s a real draw, meaning you can shower to your heart’s content whilst chatting with your bank manager or catching up on The Archers. With six hours of play time and a colour to suit all tastes it’s compact enough to take wherever life takes you, and Divoom have even included a bike mount.
This time next month we’ll be sipping sherry, stretching our tum-tums and trying to ignore the smell coming from Granddad’s chair. Oh, and with a bit of luck, tearing our way through a pile of presents, praying there’s at least one of the above in amongst the reindeer socks and Old Spice.
In the click of a button Cyber Monday 2014 will be history. If you haven’t started panicking yet, get online and join in the fun.