2022 will be a year of big tech promises. Whether companies can deliver is another question.

We wanted to break out our crystal balls to suss out what the new year will mean for the tech in your life. Some of the developments we’ll discuss are long overdue. Some build on progress or change we saw in 2021.

In many ways, 2022 will be a year of “hurry up and wait,” Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst with research firm Creative Strategies, told us. Big tech developments like “the metaverse,” autonomous vehicles and greater repairability will take time to catch up to their hype, and companies must be careful not to overpromise, Milanesi said.

At the same time, companies need our buy-in more than ever. Smart home technology, health wearables and virtual reality all depend on our personal data to improve. If we don’t trust companies enough to share a whole lot of it, that technology gets stuck in the “my voice assistant still doesn’t understand me” phase.

Here’s what we expect — and in some cases, hope — to see in 2022.

A ‘race into the metaverse’

Facebook parent company Meta may have generated the most buzz with its foray into the metaverse — a theoretical shared space where people can hang out in virtual reality — but the other tech giants won’t be far behind.

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2022 will be a “race into the metaverse” as large tech companies wrestle for slices of an emerging market, according to Rolf Illenberger, CEO of virtual reality software maker VRdirect. Google, Microsoft and Apple may introduce their own headsets and operating systems for the metaverse, like their equivalents for PCs and smartphones. (Just how “meta” this collection of walled-off virtual environments will be remains to be seen.)

The giants aren’t alone, either: In recent years, parts of the CES floor have become a playground for startups building augmented and virtual reality headsets, and many are eager to make their mark on the metaverse. Meanwhile, there’s another hurdle the industry will need to clear. Companies developing software that runs in the metaverse would have to make sure those programs play nicely with different operating systems.

As for the rest of us, our first steps into the metaverse will probably be for our jobs. The pandemic is pushing companies toward virtual reality for onboarding, training and meetings. As consumer tech catches up, though, the metaverse will seep out of the workplace and into our everyday lives — but don’t get too excited. There’s a long way to go and lots of questions to answer before what tech companies are pitching as the metaverse becomes a reality.

The smart home will make a lot more sense

If you walk into a big-box retailer or hardware store, it probably wouldn’t take you long to find smart-home goodies like connected lightbulbs and thermostats. What can take awhile is finding stuff that works with the products you already have — but that might not be the case much longer.

Some of the biggest names in Big Tech, including Apple, Amazon, Google and Samsung, have teamed up to develop a new smart-home standard called Matter. The aim: to ensure that the home gadgets you buy in the future all play nice with one another, regardless of who made them or what virtual assistant you want to use when interacting with them.

“Today when you look at a smart-home-connected device, you have to look at what ecosystem it works with,” said Erik Kay, a vice president of engineering at Google. “Where we’re going with Matter is that you don’t have to think about any of that.”

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When you consider how territorial some of these companies can be, it can be tough to imagine all of them working together on a project like this. But for once things will be different, they claim, and with any luck we’ll get our first glimpse at Matter-compatible gear during CES.

Electric vehicles are inching toward the mainstream

Some 2022 tech trends are all about what’s not new. This year, electric vehicles will transition from cutting edge to standard issue — if you live somewhere with the infrastructure to support EV charging.

Electric models from household names including Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen will make EVs accessible to more people at lower prices. Market leader Tesla will continue expanding, and startups like Lucid and Rivian will elbow their way into the fray.

And shoppers will be able to choose from electric vehicles beyond the traditional sedan, with Volkswagen expanding the availability of its family-size ID.4 and Ford introducing an electric F-150 truck. Tesla’s divisive Cybertruck could even hit the market in 2022. Whatever your transportation needs, 2022 could bring an electric vehicle that suits you — as well as better batteries and charging options. But one thing could delay these mainstream moves.

Chips will still be hard to come by

A prolonged chip shortage has upended the way automakers churn out new vehicles, driven up prices of televisions and made hot products like Sony’s PlayStation 5 nearly impossible to buy. And unfortunately, all signs suggest we’re still not out of the woods.

The effects of the shortage probably won’t start to fade until the back half of 2022, said Syed Alam, managing director at Accenture Strategy. And that’s the best case scenario — he also believes it’s possible that the industries reeling from the shortage now won’t completely bounce back until early 2023.

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The reason it’s hard to predict just when the chip shortage will finally ease is because there’s still so much left up in the air. The onset of a pandemic helped throw the chip industry into disarray in the first place, so sudden changes — like, say, the emergence of a new variant — could throw a wrench into recovery plans. And because different products require different kinds of chips, it’s hard to tell which companies will start to bounce back first.

In the meantime, Intel, Samsung and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. have announced plans to build chip plants in the United States, and they should help protect these companies — plus others that rely on them — from wild swings in chip availability. The problem is, these kinds of facilities take years to go live, so it’s unlikely they’ll be able to make a dent in the situation anytime soon.

Tech companies want you to trust them more

People now trust companies more than traditional institutions like government and religious organizations, according to Forrester analyst Enza Iannopollo, but companies still tend to overestimate how much customers trust them.

And customers have good reason to be skeptical. In 2021, security breaches, data privacy problems and artificial-intelligence whistleblowers dominated technology news.

In 2022, companies will try to regain lost trust with a variety of tactics, like creating high-ranking roles in charge of “digital trust,” offering cash rewards to people who identify bias in AI systems and adopting technologies that partially anonymize personal data, Forrester research predicts.

Having companies be more trustworthy is a good thing for us, but companies have plenty to gain, too. As privacy regulation at home and abroad limits what personal data companies can pass around, companies will get hungrier for “first-party” data — data we share with them directly. The more we trust companies to handle our personal data and shape our experiences with algorithms, the more they can monetize that trust through “personalized” experiences and advertisements.