The years 2020 and 2021 served as a reminder of just how central computers are to work, school, home and just about everything we do. It started around March 2020, when many people took their work laptops home, and then didn’t return to the office for over 18 months, if at all.
During that time, we changed how we attended meetings, collaborated on projects and learned new things. But, for the most part, our work-from-home and learn-from-home tools were the same as the ones we had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, that work laptop just wasn’t designed for all-day video meetings, or for sitting in a virtual classroom. Case in point: Most laptops during this time still had lousy webcams and merely adequate microphones. You could always tell when someone had a hard-to-find full-HD standalone webcam (or better) with a good eye line and clear image. Many people were stuck with, with a tilted up-the-nose shot and soft and blurry image.
It’s not that we didn’t know that turning every home office into a primary office would mean more people would want better cameras, mics, displays and more. But reacting to that need — by designing a new product or new features, then getting something manufactured and into stores — is a multi-year process. That’s why it’s only as we step into 2022, at CES and beyond, that we’re starting to see even simple features like full-HD webcams go mainstream.