That’s it! 2018 is coming to a close and I think it’s fair to say that it has been a bumper year for technology as a whole. From the re-invigoration of the smartphone industry to the increasing options of food service apps there has been a lot of good stuff going on. That’s why we’ve decided to start our first ever annual Goosey Awards.

These are (in our own minds) premier awards to showcase the best technology we have seen hitting the markets in 2018. Check out the latest episode of TechYurt to listen to me, Neal and Martin debate the comings and goings in the Irish Tech market to decide our winners.

Seriously it’s a great discussion and we think you should give it a listen. 

Anyway without further adieu let’s get into it.

Food Service of the Year

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Winner: Deliveroo
Runners-up: Bamboo, UberEats
Honourable mentions: JustEat

Right, let’s kick this off and talk food.

In Ireland now we are very lucky to have a range of different options available to us when it comes to ordering food, as long as you live in the right locations. This was a tough call because Deliveroo and Bamboo are both brilliant and innovative platforms. Bamboo allows the user to skip the lunch rush by skipping the line at a number of different cafes and eateries throughout Dublin and Cork City and we are sure they will keep growing because it’s an amazing set up that not only offers a different food experience to any other app but they also support local business in a way that many of the other apps perhaps don’t.

However, in terms of pure tech Deliveroo takes the crown. When ordering food it’s annoying when you have no idea when your food is going to arrive and Deliveroo takes the guesswork out. From start to finish you are able to track your order and you are notified every step of the way, to be fair there is something cool and exciting about looking at the app and realising your dinner is just around the corner. It also stops those pesky housemates getting on your case when everyone is hangry – we all know the conversation I’m talking about. They also have a great selection of restaurants available.

It’s mad when you think about it, we had a list of the best food providers and JustEat didn’t win after having a monopoly for so long. The simple fact is this: they have the biggest selection and delivery range of all the apps but in recent times their delivery standards have slipped, they haven’t kept up with other companies innovation and we think they just lost that something special that made them stand out from the crowd.

It’s unfortunate really because they have been the figurehead of food apps in the country for so long and with the infrastructure, they have in place this should have been a handy win. However, the new guys are now breathing down JustEats neck like never before.

We also have to mention UberEats which has a huge following in the UK, the States and across Europe, oh and it finally came to Ireland a couple months ago. Their service is very similar to that of Deliveroo (so much so the rumour is Uber will buy out Deliveroo) and with the wedge that Uber has behind them, it is going to be interesting to see what they do in 2019. These could be the ones to watch and JustEat really needs to up their game with these heavy hitters entering the Irish market.

Accessory of the Year

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Winner: Anker The PowerPort Atom PD 1
Runners-up: OtterBox, Spigen
Honourable mention: Nebula Capsule

Marty got to see Anker launch their new PowerPort Atom PD 1 charger in New York earlier this year. You wouldn’t have thought that a charger launch could be that exciting right? Well, Anker is actually a company on a mission. This is a genuinely smart charger.

Using gallium nitride, this charger can greatly improve charging efficiency. Combine that with the Power Delivery smarts which help the charger deliver the right amount of juice to your device, and this could replace most of the chargers in your house. Exactly what Anker are hoping to do.

Every year, millions of new chargers enter the market and a huge number of these are shipped with new phones. Anker wants to standardise chargers and create one that rules them all so you only need to have one. These chargers, with their internal smarts, are capable of charging a wide range of devices.

Gadget of the Year

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Winner: Kindle
Runners-up: Echo Plus, Eufy Vacuum
Honourable mention: Mi Scooter

So this was a fun award to discuss, would you believe we had the MiScooter, Echo Plus and Eufy Vacuum down as the top three until Neal hit us with the details about the newest Kindle. As he said in his recent article about eReaders in general, Kindle has become synonymous with the technology in general. The latest edition of the Kindle just about took the award with it’s new LED backlighting tech, added waterproofing and it’s new ability to switch between audio and electronic book (great if you have a walk/bus style commute).

With the book taking away the gong we need to mention the robotic vacuums are somewhat in their infancy and we reckon these will only get better over the next year or two. While the Eufy is available at a reasonable price some of the competitor’s models can go for a grand plus, as the price drops we will see more people hopping on the bandwagon because let’s face it who likes vacuuming?

Jon took a good look at the Echo Plus this year and we all agree that voice technology is starting to become the norm and the Alexa range is top of the pile, literally this may have been the Echo Plus’ downfall in the category as the likes of the Echo Dot 3rd Generation or the Show will be more than good enough to do the job. It’s all about picking what suits you best.

Audio Kit

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Winner: Bose QC 35 II
Runners up: Sony MX3, Enod Earbuds
Honourable mention: Sony MX2

Marty struggled with this category. After spending the year playing with lots of audio tech, it killed him to pick something so expensive as the winner. But the Bose QC 35 II is just that good. The only thing is, the Sony WH-1000MX2 get a massive look in here, delivering similar quality at a great price despite being a year old. While the Bose is the best it needs to be said that at a fraction of the cost the Enod Earbuds are brilliant without breaking the bank.

Game of the Year

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Winner: The Amazing Spiderman
Runners-up: Red Dead Redemption 2, Battlefield 5
Honourable mention: Fortnite, Far Cry 5

Possibly one of the easier categories to call after our recent podcast with Elite Gamer’s Vinny Fanneran. 2018 was actually a huge year for games and to think we have a list of best games that doesn’t include FIFA19, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed or Crash Bandicoot says all you need to know about the quality of games being produced this year. However, Neal made a great point during our conversation about the sheer size of Red Dead and how although the game was amazing he felt that the hype may have ramped up expectations to a level where not everyone would be happy and Martin agreed.

Fornite is also probably the biggest and most played game of the year, but is it not just a copy of PUBG? Being realistic our choice isn’t going to please everyone considering Fortnite’s success and huge cult following but anyone who has played Spiderman will say this –  it’s one of the best looking, smoothest and generally best craic we have had in a game in a very long time.

During the year Jon reviewed The Amazing Spiderman and he had some very positive things to say about the game which you can read here. Our mates over in Elite Gamer also agreed so if you are in any doubt about the quality of the game or our choice in this category you probably haven’t played The Amazing Spiderman. Get on it, you won’t regret it.

App of the Year

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Winner: Last Pass
Runners-up: Spotify, Google Translate
Honourable mention: KeepAppy

The year that brought us Facebook data leaks galore and GDPR means we all need to own our own digital safety. If one website leaks your email and password and you’ve used the same password on ever site you’ve ever used, you’re going to have a bad time.

LastPass means you don’t actually need to know your passwords at all. Adopt the motto “the safest password is a password you don’t know” and you’ll be much more secure! There’s a full review for LastPass in the pipework, but feel free to get started in the mean time.

Digital Bank of the Year

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Winner: Revolut
Runners up: KBC, N26
KBC ran this one very close and to be fair they are far and away the best Irish bank when it comes to digital innovation and supporting their customers through technology. However there was only going to be one winner and that is Revolut, as Neal alluded to on the podcast, going for dinner with friends and being “that guy” who doesn’t have Revolut is now a thing. When it comes to security for online shopping, splitting bills or shopping in local currency to save you money, Revolut does it all.
While most people won’t be comfortable with using the online bank as their main bank account just yet the benefits are clear and if Irish banks don’t get their fingers out they will be left behind. Perhaps most important is the news that Revolut has just been recognised as a proper bank after gaining their European banking licence; bad news for Irish banks.
Bank of Ireland still won’t give their customers access to Google or Apple Pay, which is madness. We have done a couple articles about digital banking in general so if you are thinking of changing banks or want to know more about Revolut check out the links below:

Best Tech4Good Company

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Winner: e-Nable/Open Creators
Runners-up: TippyTalk, CyberSmarties
Honourable mention: CoderDojo, Huawei Story Sign

This is probably Jon’s biggest passion area at the moment when it comes to tech. Some of you may know but his qualification is actually in Product Design so seeing things that are capable of changing the world through tech is something that really gets him going. All three of the finalists were actually speakers at the recent HouseTalks event held out of the Amber/House Bar in Limerick.

Anyway, this is one of those categories where literally anyone could have won and we absolutely love that Tech4Good is becoming a thing. Each of these companies could have won the award in their own right if we are being totally honest but at the end of the day we decided to plump for e-Nable, these guys are using 3D printing and open source technology on a global scale (as a charitable group) to create prosthetic devices for children in need. Did you know that these guys are able to create a prosthetic for as little as 25. You can find out more about these guys in the article we wrote about them earlier in the year and when you read their story you will understand why we felt we had to choose them as our number one.

Again we need to stress that any of these options could have won, CoderDojo are supplying a service and running coding classes throughout the country and they have grown to such a scale where most people will know their name. The fact that a company like CoderDojo even exists just goes to show where technology and future planning actually stands within the Irish Education system but that is an argument for a different day.

Even the big guys are starting to understand the reasoning behind creating Tech4Good, just read Martin’s article about the Huawei app called Storysign because I don’t think any of us here understood before that those who are hard of hearing can often have challenges learning to read but now we do and the fact that a big company understand this and want to try help is just incredible.

That just leaves us with TippyTalk and CyberSmarties. CyberSmarties we think are really onto something with creating a social media platform designed just for kids. Let’s be real here, social media is going nowhere and today’s children have to be equipped to deal with it. The fact this is controlled by schools, engages parents, teaches kids the right lessons and only delivers child-friendly content makes it a safe and viable alternative to Facebook and genuinely if any Minister for Education sees this platform in action and can truly grasp the benefit of it then that will be the day that CyberSmarties is just something that schools have. Pretty cool if you ask us.

When talking about TippyTalk you have to acknowledge that this app was created by a man who has firsthand experience of the challenge. TippyTalk is made to give non-verbal children the ability to communicate with their parents like never before. Using the app a child can select pictures on the screen that match their desires or needs and will, in turn, send a text message to the parent to let them know. Think about this from a parents eyes, you have a seven-year old that can’t communicate with you, now you have this app and one day you receive a text that simply reads “Daddy can I have a hug” that’s heart-wrenching and world-changing stuff right there. We will be keeping a close eye on this over the next year to see where they go because it’s a great platform run by a great guy and the sky is the limit for the company.

Again let us reiterate the fact that we are doing a Tech4Good award is something we never thought would happen but just look at the works these people are doing to change the world for the better-using technology. All of them could have been a winner, unfortunately, we had to choose one so well done to the Open Creators and e-Nable.

Best Irish Startup

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Winner: Firemole
Runners-up: DwellDown, jumpAgrade
Honourable mention: Bamboo

Again all of the above companies could have won this award. JumpAgrade are just on the begginning of their journey to change how we view leaving cert grinds in this country, they are even one of Google’s Adopt A Startup for 2018. One to watch out for in 2019, who knows if they are willing to give us a hand, the lads might all sit a paper to see just how much JumpAgrade can help. DwellDown and Bamboo are both companies we have followed closely since meeting them both at previous Dublin Tech Summits, both keep going from strength to strength and with companies like this it’s great to see the Irish entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Having said that there can only be one winner and as Martin said, all the others are nice to have but Firemole is the one you need to have. A simple device that could literally save your life, we have been big fans of the company and since we looked at them in 2017, they have gone onto the next level in 2018 as they are now stocked in the likes of Woodies. A small simple, cheap and effective device that could literally save your life and for that reason we choose it as our Startup of the Year.

Disappointment of the Year

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Winner: Sony PlayStation Classic
Runners-up: Fallout 76, Sony XZ3
Honourable mention: Red Dead Redemption 2

As the title suggest this actually hurt us to choose but let’s face it, the Sony PlayStation Classic is a rushed attempt at getting a product to market in time for the Christmas rush. Most of the games we loved and enjoyed are not included, the device is easily hacked if internet rumours are anything to go by, it’s laggy and that’s not just us saying this. The PlayStation Classic is just a bummer because it could have been so much more but it’s not and we are 100% sure you could build your own for far less than the retail price with all the games you could ever want with better performance.

Fallout 76, the less we say about this the better, just a disaster and in another recent podcast with Elite Gamer, Vinny had a rather passionate rant about how much this game sucked and we agree. Bethesda you failed us all, bad form.

The Sony XZ3, Jon loved it and he does love it but still it was a disappointment. How to describe the Sony XZ3…. have you ever gone to the shop and bought a cake, it looks amazing, smells exceptional an then you take a bite and realize it’s not fully baked – that’s a Sony XZ3. A little more thought, a little more time and a little more love and this phone could have been the phone of the year but once again Sony’s 6month release cycle has hampered the brand making something truly outstanding. Don’t get us wrong it’s still a stunning phone with so much going for it, still, one of the best phones on the market and anyone who buys one won’t be let down, it’s just we think it genuinely could have been top of the pile with a little more time.

Best of Netflix

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Netflix Original

Winner: Haunting of the Hill House
Runners-up: Ozarks, The Crown
Honourable mentions: Angela’s Christmas & Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation

Documentaries

Winner: Evil Genius
Runners-up: The Staircase, Wild Wild Country
Honourable mentions: Explained, Buzzfeed Follow This

Oh Netflix you fickle bitch, we realised halfway through discussing the award winner that this is going to based very much on personal taste and of course the Netflix algorithm. So we decided to go with what seems to have been the most popular shows. That’s all and to be fair they are both incredible shows and worthy winners.

Smartphone of the Year

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Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Runners up: Google Pixel 3 , iPhone XR
Honorable mentions: Xiaomi, Sony XZ3, Note 9

What a year for phones 2018 has been, seriously it’s just ludicrous when you look at the quality that’s on the list and to think how long it has been since OnePlus and Samsung haven’t been a contender for phone of the year. It just goes to show the level of quality and value that is available on the market right now. We will have a full write up on this area as the discussion and the main points is a full article in itself but the fact of the matter is regardless of what anybody made this year, Huawei knocked it out of the park with the P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro. We have articles available to read on most of the phones on the list each with a link below so you can make up your own mind but our own opinion and from everything we have seen online there could only be one winner – The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is this year’s Phone of the Year!

Final Thoughts

For us looking at the amazing developments in technology over the course of 2018 was a fantastic experience and we can’t wait to do it all over again in 2019. As mentioned earlier we had to pick a winner for each category but in some cases, it was really too close to call. Ireland is slowly but surely becoming a hub for technology in not only Europe but the world, it stands to us that the likes of the Dublin Tech Summit and WebSummit are two of the biggest tech events in the global calendar, things like the Google Adopt A Startup are pushing Irish innovation to the next level and the Irish public are becoming more aware of the positives and negatives in tech like never before. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to be in a position that we get a close look at the industry as a whole to bring this to you. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has read or listened to us throughout the year, stick with us because 2019 is going to be even bigger!

Happy Christmas from the Goosed.ie team.

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