10 gg technical predictions for 2021

Annually edition gg analyzes the events of the past year in order to try to highlight

the most significant trends that await us in the yearcoming. Some of our predictions are coming true (for example, the closure of the Google Glass project, the improvement of shooting in the dark with smartphone cameras, or the transition of Apple and Samsung smartphones to the segment above $ 1,000). Some, on the contrary, did not come true (the release of the Ukrainian Google assistant or the change of the global leader of the smartphone market from Samsung to Huawei). And let's start, by tradition, by returning to last year's forecasts for 2020 and analyzing which of them came true and which did not.

Predictions for 2020: 8 out of 10 came true

  • Buying flagship smartphones for your own image, not technology. This year's really senior flagshipApple and Samsung models with Ultra or Pro Max in the name were not about technology, but about image. Yes, they have more efficient processors, larger diagonals, more digital zoom and more memory, but all this is not about new technologies, but about meeting other needs (first of all, I can afford it). In terms of user experience, there is no fundamental difference between this year's flagship and the previous year. The flagships Samsung (and Huawei) with a foldable screen stand separately, but they (so far) do not make the weather on the market, and because of the high price, their purchase scenario is more likely the same fashion one - for the sake of technology they will only be bought after a couple of years, when prices will drop to the psychological mark of a thousand dollars.
  • High growth rates of legal streaming video services... Of course, the pandemic played its role as a trigger, as the key event of 2020, but even without quarantine, the growth would be significant, take a look at the graph of the growth in Megogo traffic this year:


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    Separately (even if we are not talking about a video service)you can remember the official launch of Spotify on our market. This also suggests that the time for streaming legal services has come. And it was in 2020 that we passed a certain barrier, after which everything will develop more intensively.

  • 4G networks will continue to grow rapidly, but users will still be dissatisfied with the quality... 4G networks were still developing this yearhigh rates: thanks to licenses for frequencies in the 900 MHz range, high-speed mobile Internet began to appear in rural areas: all operators were actively building their networks, starting from the western regions of Ukraine and moving to the east. In total, hundreds of new settlements were added to the 4G coverage. And they also launched 4G in the Kiev metro - an event that is more significant than significant for the entire market. As for users who are dissatisfied with the quality of the mobile Internet, I suppose, no one has any doubts about this? Although this sarcasm was understandable initially and a year ago.
  • The boom of TWS headphones. Everything is easy and simple to check here:a year ago, there were 211 models of TWS headphones in the outlet marketplace, today there are 2,000. Interestingly, the forecast came true at the optimistic border, directly indicated in the text a year ago (500 and 2000). If tenfold growth in a year is not a headphone boom, then what is the boom?
  • The return of wristwatches: fitness bracelets and smartwatches... Although smartwatches and fitness bracelets have long beenis on the market, as is the case with TWS headphones, their sales have grown significantly in 2020. Interesting watch models were shown by Apple, Samsung and Huawei this year. Xiaomi has no equal in bracelets on the market (this year we got a version with secure NFC payments). Apart from the market leaders (in addition to Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei / Honor have good bracelets), you can find models priced up to 300 hryvnia on sale (there are even cheaper ones, but we would not recommend taking such). That is, wristbands in recent years have gone from an enthusiast device for $ 200 to a mass product with a price tag of $ 10 to $ 40. And, perhaps, this was the decisive year.
  • Tens of thousands of Ukrainian families will buy their first robot vacuum cleaner... The market for robot vacuum cleaners has grown at an accelerated pace throughout the year. It's nice that the editors gg She also had a hand in this: only our article with recommendations for the best robotic vacuum cleaners in 2020 alone was read more than 100,000 times.
  • Paying with a smartphone will forever change the habits of Ukrainians... Paying at the touch of a smartphone hasn't just becomeubiquitous. In 2020, we were surprised to find that it is seriously addictive. So serious that this, for example, for some of the buyers was the reason for refusing to buy Huawei smartphones, deprived of Google services (the possibility of contactless payment in these smartphones was announced, but until the end of 2020 they did not manage to implement it, although the process, albeit slowly but moving and there is no doubt that it will appear in 2021).
  • Smart home devices will have a single standard... Although we did not expect much activity fromAlliance Project Connected Home over IP this year, but still the complete lack of news on this topic throughout the past year, suggests that the forecast (and expectations associated with it), most likely, turned out to be premature.
  • Aliexpress will become a popular place to buy new unusual gadgets... The popularity of Aliexpress can hardly be overestimated inthe quarantine era, when the demand for such "gadgets" as protective masks (including FP3 protection) or pulse oximeters naturally increased. But it is really difficult to assess at the end of this year to what extent this forecast can be considered come true (or not). Although thinking about it, perhaps, was worth a year ago.
  • We will see the first signs of "state in the smartphone"... Everything is simple here:more than a million installations of the Diya app in the Android app store speak for themselves. Of course, the full "state in a smartphone", including, for example, voting, is still a long way off, but the application works, develops and is already capable of at least partially replacing documents (driver's license, OSAGO insurance, passport and identification code). That is, the first signs on faces, a start has been made.

Forecast for 2021

What awaits us in the field of technology in 2021, according to the editorial board gg. This year, the innovators in smartphones are OPPO, Samsung, ZTE and Apple. There is no doubt that their successful experience will be adopted by other companies as well. As early as next year.

1. Mass transition of smartphones to displays with a frequency of 90 hertz and above

This is a technological transition that is causingso addictive that it cannot be ignored by smartphone manufacturers. Already, there are smartphones on sale with a price tag of 6000 hryvnia, equipped with such a display, next year there will be a lot of them, and this will not only be the prerogative of the flagships. In terms of its significance, this is as important a technological transition as the transition to monitors and televisions with a scanning frequency of 90-100 hertz instead of 60. The difference (and this is an important advantage in a world where it is difficult to assess what exactly the technology gives to the user) is visible to the naked eye.

2. Appearance of smartphones with a sub-screen front camera on the market

We got used to scanners in just a couple of yearsfingerprints placed under the screen (even if they do not work as well, and not as convenient as the scanners located on the side of the case, but they perform their task effectively, such a straightforward technomagic), but now we will have a new technological toy - a front camera , which is not just placed in the neckline ("T-shirt" or monobrow, or in the drop-shaped neckline, or even in a round hole), but literally is located under the display, hidden from the eyes. The first to announce such a smartphone was ZTE - we are talking about the Axon 20 5G model, which we hope to introduce to you next year. But it won't be the only smartphone with this capability.

3. Using ultra-fast charging technology

Everyone knows that the biggest problem of modernsmartphones - their battery life, which requires fundamentally new technologies for the production of batteries. Until this problem is solved, we will have to be content with the appearance of ultra-fast chargers (such as, for example, the OPPO Reno 4 Pro, which fully charges in one hour. Such things can give a simple and understandable competitive advantage, so we can expect such chargers to appear in the most different smartphone manufacturers.

4.realme will enter the top 3 sales of smartphones in the Ukrainian market

In the summer of 2020, I wrote why the exit tothe Ukrainian market will be successful for the manufacturer. The company's strategy fits perfectly into the market of our country, where the price factor is of great importance. realme aims immediately at the mass segment - with a price tag of 3 to 8 thousand hryvnia, giving better technical characteristics for less money and supporting sales with an aggressive level of advertising. All this will allow the company to take a place right behind Xiaomi and Samsung.

5.Huawei will release the first smartphone on the Harmony operating system, it will be budget

Thanks to US sanctions, Huawei has noanother choice is how to build your own operating system so as not to depend on Google. Developing your own operating system for smartphones is not a trivial task at all, ask the smartphone developers on Sailfish or Firefox. Moreover, today it is not enough to create an operating system; you need an ecosystem of applications and thousands of developers who are ready to work with it. But here Huawei has already achieved some success with its AppGallery app store, which gives reason to say that the company is able to achieve success in this area. But users are already accustomed to the fact that the operating system should have a lot of features, so we should expect that the first model on the Harmony will be budget, where buyers are not so critical of the functionality of the smartphone. It is worth adding that the point of no return has already been passed, and even if the sanctions are lifted by the Biden administration, Huawei will not stop the development of its operating system.

6. Samsung will release a smartphone with a foldable screen with a price tag of $ 1000-1200

Like any other new technology, bendableIt will take several years for smartphone screens to reach production facilities at which we will see the price tag we are used to. But this market segment will inevitably grow, and prices will gradually decrease with growth. Therefore, we can count on the appearance of a certain analogue of the Z Flip smartphone in the same form factor, which will cost not $ 1500, but $ 1200.

7. Manufacturers will massively abandon chargers in the box with a new smartphone

The instigator of a new trend, like many times beforethis, has become Apple. She was the first to ditch floppy drives (does everyone remember what I'm talking about?) In her desktops. She was the first to give up CD drives in her laptops. The first to rid its users of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Now the mains charger for smartphones has been abbreviated. In all honesty, there are too many chargers. They had value and meaning at the time when the smartphone was bought for the first time. Today (if we do not take into account very poor countries with low penetration of smartphones), a smartphone is bought most often to replace the previous one. And in every family there are already more chargers than smartphones. In addition, the smartphone can be charged from the USB port of a computer or laptop. Not to mention the fact that USB sockets with USB charging outputs began to appear in homes. As a result, the charger can really no longer be put in the box - all this can be served under the guise of taking care of the environment, although in fact, for the company, any reduction in the size of the box is a reduction in logistics costs in terms of the number of boxes that fit in one freight container. Although, of course, it would be great if, instead of a mains plug with USB, manufacturers put a wireless charger in the box (albeit without a plug). But you can't count on it.

8. The race of smartphone diagonals will end

Four years ago I published the text “Whywe need smartphones with a diagonal of more than 6 inches. " Smartphone display sizes have grown steadily over the past few years. At the same time, the bezels around the screen were reduced, which allowed maintaining ease of use. The transition to "elongated" displays with proportions up to 20: 9 (and even 21: 9 in the case of Sony) certainly played a role. But the time for increasing the diagonals of smartphones is over. There are almost no reserves left in the form of unused frame space. We have folding smartphones with foldable screens on our nose, so the increase in diagonals will end at 6.9 inches, more diagonal will be either in smartphones with a form factor like the Galaxy Fold, or in some niche smartphones created to attract attention.

9. Using algorithms for automated management of smartphone settings

Bixby Scripts Introduced to Samsung Smartphones2020 and allowing you to automatically change smartphone settings depending on time, place and a bunch of other conditions (you can read more about this here), represent a new stage in smartphone customization. This is (so far) a very underrated by the market opportunity that sooner or later will develop (like any other technology related to machine learning) into predicting user actions based on a huge amount of data. But so far this data has yet to be collected, and here we cannot do without technology pioneers who will create their own scenarios from the proposed constructor based on "if, then" algorithms. Provided that this designer will be given to them by smartphone manufacturers (or Google itself in the next Android update). It will happen sooner or later anyway, so why not start in 2021?

10. We'll see Windows laptops with ARM processors, but something goes wrong again

Apparently, the release of the MacBook on an ARM processorturned out to be a coup that radically changes the idea of ​​laptop battery life. If you are not aware of what this is about and why it is important, we have an editorial column about it. Microsoft, which has been unsuccessfully storming this direction since 2012 and released even then (insanely beautiful and magnificent in hardware, but completely disastrous in software), God forgive me, Surface RT, will not be able to stand aside and will offer its partners - laptop manufacturers to release these devices on a special version of Windows for ARM. I don't know what exactly Microsoft will do this time, but there is a persistent feeling, nurtured by years of similar experiments, that everything will go as usual, and the result will be, to put it mildly, not the same as that of Apple. If anything, the Microsoft Surface Pro X for ARM reviews are convincing.

P.S. Bonus point for those in the know: in 2021 we won't see touchscreen MacBooks again, and that's good and right.

See you exactly one year later, when we find out how much these forecasts will correspond to reality.