10 gg technical forecasts for 2020

Every year the tireless editorial staffggmakes predictions for the next year, offering its most inquisitive

world readers to think about what awaits us inthe next 12 months in the field of new technologies and the world of gadgets. We don’t read tea leaves or play the lottery, but try to analyze the processes taking place in the market and understand how and where technologies will develop and how they will affect our lives.

And we will start, traditionally, with a return a year ago, when we prepared a forecast for you for the current 2019, which is already coming to an end.

  • More, more cameras in smartphones.Here all expectations came true - by the end of 2019The appearance of 3 cameras in smartphones (not counting the front one) has become the standard. As a rule, the scheme looks like this: a main module with a large number of megapixels (for example, the Mi Note 10 has a 108 MP module), a second module with a long-focus lens used to bring the subject closer (imitation zoom) and a third camera for a wide-angle shooting. Separately, it is worth noting such a new and interesting form factor as a smartphone with a folding screen (for example, Samsung Galaxy Fold), the design features of which made it possible to place a 6 camera (triple on the rear panel, double front inside the folding part and a separate front one for use with a case in folded state).
  • Smartphones output with a camera hole on the screen. The development of the frameless screen concept went according totwo directions: some manufacturers (for example, Samsung) offered the market to replace the cutout for the camera in the form of a monobrow or a teardrop hole (this, for example, became the flagships of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series). Chinese manufacturers - Huawei/Honor, VIVO, OPPO (by the way, the retractable module of the OPPO Reno 2 looks non-standard - in the form of a triangle) took a more complex (and more aesthetic) path - they began to use a pop-up front camera that appears when switching to the menu. Samsung also proposed a separate solution - its Galaxy A80 smartphone uses a rotating module that extends like a slider above the screen and rotates the camera 180 degrees, turning it into a front-facing one.
  • Huawei is the new smartphone market leader. But this forecast did not come true, much to the situationinfluenced by the appearance of the "black swan" in the form of US sanctions, greatly affecting the expansion of the Chinese manufacturer. The situation with sanctions is still not resolved and the last point in it has not yet been set. At the same time, Huawei already has its own Plan B, which allows expanding its experience in China without Google services to the global market. Despite the events painful for the company, this year it continued to grow and sales did not fall, but, on the contrary, increased. And Huawei P30 Pro has become the best camera phone of the year.
  • Smartphones Apple and Samsung will go to the price segment "above $ 1000". Two years ago this was not an obvious step,Last year the situation became transparent, which allowed us to make a forecast that was not yet obvious to everyone. Now this is history - both companies made the only right decision in a situation where they were very much squeezed by Chinese companies and went into the price stratosphere - where their leadership (for now) is not threatened. Galaxy S10 launched in March with a price tag of 29,999 hryvnia, after 9 months it costs 22,999 hryvnia, which is below the amount of $1,000 purely symbolically (the price, by the way, is a promotional price, just before the New Year, but it’s not a fact that it won’t remain that way after the holidays). But there are even more expensive Note 10. The younger version of the iPhone 11 now costs 28,499 hryvnia, which is clearly more than a thousand.
  • The emergence of AR products outside the electronics market. We honestly gave one more chance to AR-technologies,but apparently not fate. No new heights have been reached, users are still indifferent in their mass as VR and AR-products. Either their time (still) has not come, or they will forever remain niche toys.
  • The first 5G-enabled smartphones will appear, but they will be useless. In this case, for the editorsggeverything was obvious - general interest in the topic5G smartphones have (yet) nothing to do with the real situation. Smartphones with 5G support will certainly develop (as smartphones with 4G developed, and before them phones and smartphones with 3G), but in the next 2-3 years, buying a 5G smartphone will be irrelevant. This year we wrote about the advantages of 5G networks and why their launch in our country can be expected no earlier than 2022. In fact, the first 5G smartphones have already appeared in the world, but no one noticed their appearance.
  • Google Assistant speaks Ukrainian.The most offensive of unfulfilled forecasts for 2019year. Nobody promised the release of the Google Assistant in Ukrainian this year, of course (and the Ukrainian office of Google says that it is doing everything in its power to make this happen as soon as possible), and the market is ready, but, apparently, expectations for this service will have to be postponed. giving the official green light for the launch of smart home appliances and Android Auto, until next year (don’t jinx it)
  • A smartphone with a flexible screen will come out, but it will cost too much.I want to be sarcastic and laugh at those who don’t havethere is no ground under the feet of the optimism of all technology enthusiasts (all new technological processes are not cheap, it is impossible to quickly increase production volumes, and the cost is closely related to the scale of production - this, apparently, is not obvious to everyone), but let’s not. The Galaxy Fold smartphone is (albeit in limited supply - you need to order it, then wait a month, as if you were buying a car) on sale, and this is already great. The price tag of 56,999 hryvnia fully falls under the “too expensive” forecast, so let’s just write this forecast as fully realized.
  • Tariffs for mobile communications and the Internet will continue to grow. But we won't feel anything. The cost of tariffs grew, the number of dissatisfiedYou yourself have observed this process on the Internet, but in a country where the use of such a high-tech service as mobile communications costs the price of 4 bottles of beer per month, there’s nothing to even talk about. Everyone who wanted to be indignant was indignant, but (for some reason) did not stop using it. And compared to other expenses, they still didn’t feel it—the damage was more likely psychological.
  • The share of Chinese-made TVs will grow even more noticeable. TVs previously in our forecasts we did nottouched, but here everything was in full view: the official entry into the Xiaomi TV market (with the support of the longest shelf in the country), the growth of such a player as KIVI, a large number of local brands owned by large retail chains - all this bore fruit in the market, where the price factor has always been predominant. Go to any store and, in addition to the eternal Samsung and LG, you will see a large offer of televisions of various (mostly those born in Ukraine) brands. And then there is the purely Chinese HiSense, and somewhere in the distance the shadow of Blaupunkt looms - the rights to this brand have long (also) belonged to the Chinese.

Forecast for 2020

Throughout 2019, we talked with the mostdifferent companies - manufacturers of equipment, mobile operators and developers of services and applications. And dozens of reviews of new devices have been done. And all this experience allows us to see a little better where the technology market is moving and what awaits us in the next, 2020.

1. We will buy flagship smartphones for the sake of our own image, not technology

Throughout 2019, we observed a picture wherein which the technological capabilities of smartphones in the mid-price category ($400-500) were not much inferior to flagship ones, with a price tag of $1000. The only difference was in the capabilities of the cameras (and then only under extreme shooting conditions - at night or with superzoom, which not all users need). In 2020, the situation for flagship smartphones will become even more acute; the technological gap with cheaper models will become even smaller (and smartphones for $200-300 will meet the needs of most buyers). And the positions of more technologically advanced models with a folding screen will not yet be strong enough to be considered a mass market. The only way out for manufacturers in such a situation will be to shift the emphasis from technological capabilities to emotional factors: the purchase of a new smartphone will be presented to customers as a desire to look fashionable, modern and correspond to some imposed behavior patterns. Of course, those who bought a new iPhone every year will buy it in 2020, but is it worth taking out a 2-year loan or installment plan for such a purchase? This is a question that will be difficult for the average user to answer given the huge number of interesting and more affordable offers. Chinese manufacturers.

2. Legal streaming video services will develop more intensively

Irreversible process of switching off analoguetelevision in Ukraine will finally enter its final stage, after which millions of users will have to think about how to watch television in the digital era. Despite the fact that 8 million Ukrainians live without high-speed Internet access, the most convenient way to access TV channels is OTT services that provide viewing via an Internet connection. With all the Ukrainians’ love for freebies, the cost of legal services may not be such a high fee for the service. And although we do not expect an explosive growth in the use of OTT, it is worth saying that, operating in far from hothouse conditions, Ukrainian services today represent serious platforms with a simple and easy connection (there is no need to go somewhere and sign a contract), present on all screens from smartphones to TVs (and any TV can be turned into a SmartTV with a $40 set-top box). One should not discount the possibility of working with the subscriber base of traditional telecom players who also offer television services: Ukrtelecom with the Big Three mobile operators.

3.4G networks will continue rapid development, but users will still be dissatisfied with the quality

Bridging the digital divide, Ukrainian operatorsOver the past 5 years, mobile communications have made a tremendous technological breakthrough, launching 3G first, then 4G and investing tens of billions of hryvnias in the development of modern networks. At the same time, the potential for the development of mobile data transmission is still huge, and this is the main driver for the growth of operators' revenues, which will continue in 2020. Each operator has its own network development strategy, but all of them are forced to invest more and more in the development of a data transmission network in order to keep up with competitors and save their income in the future. Next year, we are waiting for the processes of refarming and redistribution of the frequency resource, including those related to the release of radio frequencies from analog television. These are all difficult processes during which networks will be subjected to complex loads that will predictably cause user dissatisfaction (users are generally rarely satisfied, in any case, when everything is fine, they just keep quiet, and when something goes wrong - pour out their emotions). It is worth remembering that the radio network is a living, constantly changing organism, they are never static. There they built a new building that shields the signal of mobile stations. Here a new residential complex grew, which sharply increased the number of network users. Complicate network development and complex procedures (including those unhappy with the installation of equipment by residents). Therefore, everyone should remain calm and have patience.

4. We are waiting for the boom of TWS-headphones

Despite all the obvious inconveniences (it’s easylose, short battery life - such headphones cannot be used for 8 hours in a row, you need to return them to the charging case to recharge) TWS headphones will become a popular purchase in 2020. This is a wonderful universal gift, there are already offers for every taste, color and budget (from $20 for a noname model on Aliexpress to $200 for Airpods and higher for AirPods Pro). The marketing genius of Apple again hit the top ten by creating a new category of products, with its own coveted hero and armies of fans and haters. It will be possible to indirectly evaluate popularity by the number of offers (right now there are 211 models on the Rozetka marketplace, let’s see how many it will be in a year - 500 or 2000).

5. Return of the watch: fitness bracelets and smart watches

A little over 4 years ago we published the text"Why smart bands suck and you shouldn't buy them." Since then, the situation has changed dramatically, to the point that smart bracelets without a display (and, accordingly, clock and alarm functions) have practically disappeared. For owners of Apple watches, the function of paying with watches has become available (payment using watches via Google Pay is still on the way and will have its say in the future). The bracelets themselves (and with them the watches) have gone through a difficult path of development, as a result of which their price in 5-7 years has dropped from an uncomfortable $200 (does everyone here remember about Jawbone?) interesting only for technology enthusiasts to a quite comfortable $35 for the new Mi Band 4 with color display. Which is accessible and interesting to everyone (well, almost) and everyone. By the way, we have regularly updated texts with a selection of current smart watches and fitness bracelets (if you forget the link, you can always find it in our “What to buy” section). I am sure that both of them will be useful to you more than once during 2020. This is another universal gift option with a well-controlled budget and the opportunity to give a useful and desirable accessory that complements the smartphone (almost all smartphone manufacturers have bracelets and/or watches).

6. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian families will buy their first robot vacuum cleaner

Times when robotic vacuum cleaners were uselesstoys, irrevocably passed. And now they can rightfully take their place among other household appliances that settled in our homes forever, next to washing and dishwashers, refrigerators and relatively new multicookers. If you have not thought about buying a robot vacuum cleaner, there is a high probability that you will do this during 2020. And our detailed buyer guide will certainly help you answer, if not all, then most of the questions related to these devices.

7. Payment by smartphone will forever change the habits of Ukrainians

Ukraine, despite its low solvencypopulation (compared to developed countries) is able to give a head start to the civilized world in a variety of areas of high technology. We not only have a very high percentage of technical university graduates per capita, not only one of the best mobile banking penetration rates in the world (thanks to the driving forces of the direction - Privatbank, and now the Monobank team, making an advanced and modern banking product) and not just 3rd place in world in terms of the number of contactless payment transactions. The development of retail chains is also moving towards high technology: contactless terminals that allow you to pay with the touch of a smartphone are installed in every ATB store and serve as a constant advertisement of these opportunities for the entire population who do not follow the development of technology. Mobile applications of stores (as well as chains of gas stations, coffee shops, restaurants) are integrated with payment cards and this is an irreversible process - all market players will have to do this in order to keep up with competitors. And the bar is set high - for example, the Silpo mobile application allows you to pay for purchases with your card, authorizing using a QR code on the scanner (that is, you don’t even have to touch your smartphone to the terminal, not to mention your bank card). Self-service terminals (an introvert's dream) are appearing in McDonald's and large supermarkets. And the most convenient way to use them is not with cash. In 2020, we can expect an acceleration of all these processes related to payment systems, mobile applications and loyalty programs. Where both fintech, fashionable Big Data and artificial intelligence can roam with the construction of predictions and the corresponding system of recommendations for the user.

8. Smart home devices will have a single standard

Do you know why everyone talks a lot about devices?smart home, but there really aren’t any of them? Because each company makes its own solution, develops its own architecture - from communication standards to specific devices, which are most often simple sensors (open doors, movement, water leaks - you know). All of them are not compatible with each other, which greatly hinders the development of this market. It looks like next year we will have a chance to get a single standard - at least the leading companies involved in the development of the smart home ecosystem (at the center of which is, of course, a smart voice assistant) - Amazon, Google and Apple announced the creation of a working group to create single standard. A fourth party, the Zigbee Alliance, immediately joined the alliance. This is an organization that has been developing Internet of Things standards since 2002 and has achieved considerable (but still not large enough and significant success in this field). The project is called Connected Home over IP, and although we will not see the first devices resulting from the development in 2020, this is an important and expected signal for the entire market.

9. Aliexpress will become a popular place to buy new unusual gadgets.

Aliexpress is already one of the top threepopular online trading platforms in Ukraine (after OLX and Rozetka). Free shipping and a huge selection of products more than compensate for the need to wait about a month for a purchase (sometimes less, sometimes more). From the point of view of consumer electronics, we are interested in a separate story. The fact is that Aliexpress is today the basic trading platform for hundreds and thousands of Chinese electronics manufacturers producing good quality products. The highest level of competition leads to countless experiments and the emergence of a huge number of the most unusual gadgets and devices that combine the functions of several devices. Here you can buy not only the devices we are used to: smartphones, bracelets, chargers and USB cables of all types and stripes. But also door locks that open with a fingerprint, power banks combined with wireless charging, a gaming mouse pad with RGB lighting or game controllers for playing PUBG-like games on a smartphone. This is a huge developing market that is constantly creating new classes and types of gadgets that can change our world, making it more comfortable. Never before has it grown so rapidly, providing access to customers around the world. If previously new types of devices appeared once a year, today they appear every day. And you will not be able to stay away from this process (since you are reading this text on this site). As the movie quote goes, “If you are listening to this message, then you are the Resistance.”

10. We will see the first signs of a “state in a smartphone”

One of the slogans of the 2019 presidential raceyear will bear fruit in 2020. A version of the “Diya” application is already in beta testing, allowing you to store a driver’s license and car registration certificate in your smartphone (only for their owners; it will not be possible to delegate the electronic version of the registration certificate). Next year we will probably see the next steps in this direction, which will also forever change our lives and relationships with the state, which is time to start living in the 21st, not the 20th, century, leaving paper certificates and documents in the past. The state has tons of data about each of us; you just need to clear out these Augean stables and bring all the data into a single system, taking care, of course, about the security of personal data. Mobile operators or banks can do this job of storing the data of tens of millions of their users. The state machine with all its might will be capable of it.