2015 has been a big year for technology and 2016 is going to be even bigger. Microsoft HoloLens, the company's first wireless holographic computer, is just one of the exciting tech trends to watch out for in 2016. Aside from the Microsoft HoloLens, other tech products such as the Apple Watch, the Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TV and Microsoft's first laptop are expected to be among the 2016 tech trends.

Virtual Reality (VR) vs. Augmented Reality (AR)

According to Microsoft, the HoloLens enables high-definition holograms to be incorporated into our world. NewsFactor reports that Microsoft HoloLens’ AR differs from VR products because it provides 3D simulations of holographic experiences onto what the wearer of the headset actually sees in real life.

With HoloLens, the cursor is the user’s eyes, reports Sydney Morning Herald. Microsoft recently opened its flagship store in New York for the HoloLens experience showcase, according to the company's official blog. This special event enabled developers and commercial buyers to try out the HoloLens AR glasses as well as the various products developed for its use.

The three demos for journalists and developers at the New York store are as follows.

a) HoloStudio: This combines voice commands and hand gestures to move and recolour objects in a scene. Users can create a hologram of a 3D project they've already worked with before and edit it in augmented reality.

b) Project X-Ray: An AR video game that was demoed back in October. It uses the HoloLens’ room scanning feature as part of a controller-based game to kill aliens coming out of the walls.

c) Holographic storytelling: This allows users to combine Microsoft’s PowerPoint and 3D animation to create and refine visual presentations.

Although the New York showcase is focusing on the fun and games aspect of the HoloLens, it will be interesting to see how businesses adopt the technology. According to Greenlight VR research analyst Sean Whitmore, non-gaming industries can benefit more from AR than VR in the long run. He also points out that Microsoft should concentrate on forming business partnerships so that companies who are already using similar technology can easily convert to AR in the future.

Microsoft has already started working with Autodesk and NASA to make HoloLens an important communication tool in different industries. Microsoft has also urged enthusiasts and developers to come up with ideas around the HoloLens app that they need to submit by Jan. 11, 2016. The three best ideas will be put to vote on Twitter. The best idea will be implemented by Microsoft as an application for the device.

Other companies such as Sony and HTC are also planning big launches in 2016. Although Australians have already caught a glimpse of virtual reality through Samsung Gear VR, the revamped View-Master headset and Google Cardboard, VR will be launched in a bigger way in 2016.

Oculus Rift is also launching in early 2016. The Oculus Rift has an infrared sensor and two controllers to map rooms and deliver immersive games from a PC. According to BBC and Fortune, the Sony Morpheus VR helmet set and HTC Vive will also be launched in 2016.

Smartphones are going to be different in 2016

There's a lot of buzz and expectations for the iPhone 7. CNET reports that the next iPhone may not even have a Home button. It may also be waterproof. There's also a rumour that the iPhone 7 could have a sapphire display, which is more durable than the Gorilla Glass. Plus, there are speculations that the headphone jack will be removed and replaced with a Lightning connector.

Meanwhile, Samsung Galaxy S7 will reportedly be launched in early 2016 and is rumoured to have two different screen sizes (5.2-inch and 5.8-inch), according to TechRadar. It is also predicted to have a microSD support. Plus, it could come in two variants. One is predicted to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, while the other is expected to contain an Exynos chipset. As for the LG G5 smartphone, an iris scanner could be one of its features.

Leave wallets at home

Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Apple Pay are going to make lives surprisingly easier for Australians in 2016 because these innovations will enable users to pay for goods through contactless card readers. Apple Pay launched in Australia in November. Google reports that the Android Pay will be launched in Australia during the first half of 2016. As for Samsung, CNET reports that the company anticipates launching Samsung Pay in 2016. It is said to be working closely with local financial institutions to customise Samsung Pay.

Aside from the 2016 Tech Trends mentioned above including VR, AR, smartphones and contactless card reader payments from various companies, there are still other technological breakthroughs that are expected to be big in the coming year. These include Samsung’s SleepSense device, Apple’s HomeKit software, Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs and the Philips Hue bridge.

Watch Microsoft HoloLens video here.

Source: YouTube/ Microsoft HoloLens

Contact the writer of this story at feedback@ibtimes.com.au or let us know what you think below.