2019 was a mixed bag in terms of technology trends. On one hand, the consumers finally started really worrying about their data and big tech made some big promises to safeguard it, on the other, deepfakes went mainstream and are surprisingly each to create, becoming an even bigger cause of concern in the era of fake news and misinformation campaigns. 5G and foldable smartphones also generated a lot of buzz this year but both technologies are yet to reach the masses. Cloud gaming, streaming wars, TikTok, virtual assistants, and electric cars were some of other tech trends in 2019. So, here’s a quick look at the 10 best and worst tech trends of this year.
After years of rumours, leaks, and company promises, foldable phones finally became a reality in 2019. Samsung and Huawei were two of the mainstream smartphone makers to unveil the first foldable smartphones. Despite their expected arrival in the first half of the year, both phones were delayed over quality concerns. While Samsung’s Galaxy Fold saga was much more public and got widespread attention, Huawei quietly postponed the launch of Mate X to work out the kinks.
The most exciting foldable smartphone of the year came from Motorola. Dubbed simply as Motorola Razr, the phone took design cues from its eponymous feature phone predecessor lineup that had arrived in 2004. Motorola Razr (2019) sports a clamshell design that seems to be getting a better reception but given it is yet to reach the hands of reviewers and consumers, a lot remains to be seen.
5G finally became a reality this year as multiple telecom operators across Europe, South Korea, Australia, China, and the US began offering the next-generation telecom network. While 5G is yet to become as mass market technology and will take at least a few years to reach that level but just the anticipation of various avenues that it will open and things that it will make possible kept everyone excited. It is expected to continue as a trending tech topic next year as well.
India is yet to get in the 5G groove as we are far from getting the new telecom technology. The government is yet to even conduct the auction to sell airwaves for 5G but hopefully we will see that happen in 2020.
Cloud gaming has been the buzzword in the gaming industry this year, but the idea is nearly a decade old. So, what changed in 2019? The arrival of big names like Google and Microsoft, coupled with advancements in cloud gaming technology. Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Sony’s PlayStation Now, and Parsec have been in the game for a few years now, but the technology was not considered truly pathbreaking or seamless enough due to issues like latency and slow Internet speeds. However, Google’s Stadia and Microsoft Project xCloud made things better by offloading the duties to faster and more capable servers.
What else? Well, it is no surprise that AAA titles usually require a powerful (and pricey) hardware, or a console, to run at a respectable frame rate with decent graphics output. This is where Stadia and Project xCloud deliver in heaps. You no longer need all that brawn. All you need is decently powerful smartphone, and you can play games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider without a hitch. We tried Devil May Cry 5, Tekken 7, and Gears 5 on an Android phone with Microsoft’s Project xCloud, and the experience was surprisingly good without any issues that could qualify as a deal-breaker. And that too, after using a VPN. Neither Stadia, nor Project xCloud are available in India, but the latter will arrive next year. And given the increasing popularity of smartphone gaming in India, cloud gaming has a huge potential to change the landscape of the whole industry.
Although the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have been around for some time, 2019 was the year when seemingly everyone decide to bring their own streaming services. US, expectedly, was front and centre of this streaming re-revolution but 2020 will most likely take the streaming wars globally.
Apple and Disney were the two biggest names to launch their video streaming services this year, but the likes of AT&T and Comcast are getting ready to roll out their own services next year. AT&T will bring the HBO Max and Comcast will launch Peacock. It remains to be seen if HBO Max and Peacock will launch outside the US.
TikTok, as you might know, is a video-sharing social media platform that has become the talk of the town. But the app is nothing short of a phenomenon and has exploded in popularity, especially in India. TikTok has clocked a mind-bending 1.5 billion downloads worldwide on the Apple App Store and Google Play. India alone accounted for 277.6 million downloads this year. From signing NFL deals and roping in big names in the entertainment industry to making social media stars out of an average joe, TikTok has done it all.
TikTok, which lets users make lip sync clips and post reaction videos, employs AI to analyse users’ interests and preferences, which means, once the app learns your taste, it is hard to stop scrolling the feed. No app in the recent memory has given users of all ages as much creative freedom to go out and express themselves as TikTok. Seeing teenagers shooting TikTok videos at a park or a mall has become a commonplace now and has even landed people in trouble for making videos at their workplace. Such is the madness around TikTok. There have been concerns regarding privacy and spread of distasteful content, something that even led to a temporary ban, the popularity of TikTok simply ceases to contain. As for the videos shared on TikTok, well, they are a mix of genuinely funny and creative to extremely cringeworthy…Read more>>