NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Another Year, Another Leap Forward in Wi-Fi Gadgets

Another Year, Another Leap Forward in Wi-Fi Gadgets


As we wrap up a banner year in the world of consumer technology, it’s impossible not to recognize the true hero of 2013 tech – fast Wi-Fi. Without it, we could hardly imagine some of this year’s most impressive and exciting jumps forward in communications, tech, and home entertainment. So, to sign off on another year in technology, here’s our list of the top six Wi-Fi gadgets of 2013.



A wireless home hi-fi system that can play different music in different rooms, hook up to your TV for home theater audio, and be controlled by a single app on your tablet or smartphone is a game changer. The entire Sonos system communicates via home Wi-Fi, so no tearing out walls and re-wiring the house. Plus, the sound fidelity is practically unmatched in the consumer audio market.

iPad Air

Apple continued to push the tablet envelope in 2013 with the smaller, sleeker, lighter, faster, stronger iPad Air. All of Apple’s innovation leads to a world where a tablet is a thing you’re never without. The iPad Air doesn’t necessarily re-invent the wheel, but it’s a big leap towards a world saturated with tablets that utilize near-ubiquitous Wi-Fi.

Surface Pro 2

Nothing makes consumer tech better and cheaper than a little healthy competition. And while first year sales were a little underwhelming, the tech specs of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 tablet put it in a class of its own. A beast of a machine, the Surface Pro 2 does all the things an iPad can do, plus, you know, read a spreadsheet. Sorry Apple, but for biz on the go, the ‘Soft wins hands down. If only Microsoft could build out that app marketplace…

Xbox One/PlayStation4

Yes – it’s a crime to combine these two devices into a single consumer tech feature. And yes – they don’t depend on Wi-Fi, though they certainly benefit from it. But what’s important is that so much of our modern home entertainment was born from the video game industry. Services like Netflix streaming and technologies like gesture-based UI appeared first (or very early) in the last generation’s gaming devices. If you want to know what the next five years holds for TV streaming, content download marketplaces, and interactive technology, look to Xbox One and PlayStation4. Just think of them as tech oracles. Expensive, time-wasting oracles.

Cube Printer

The next major revolution in technology will not be portability, speed, or even power – it’ll be price. Getting cheap screens with Wi-Fi accessibility to everyone on earth has the potential to change the world. And while it’s a bit of an abstraction, the first step towards inexpensive tech is cheap, local manufacturing for everyone. Enter the 3D printer. If you can download the specs and hit print (which, with Cube, can be done via Wi-Fi) you can have it in your hand in moments. The potential of an inexpensive, consumer grade 3D printer is limitless. Cube is a major step towards technological utopia.

Google Glass

The end-all-be-all, most covet-worthy, crème de la crème of Wi-Fi gadgetry this year is Google Glass. So exclusive that users had to apply to get one, Google Glass is a window into the future of consumer technology and, in a way, a call for the need for fast public Wi-Fi. Look through these futuristic glasses and get real-time augmented reality feedback on the world around you, connect to your entire personal network, and pretty much do whatever else the most ambitious science fiction technologist only dreamed of. Sure, you’ll look goofy, but who cares? It’s the future!