Ashis Dutta Roy
It feels like the year has barely begun and already the four-day Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas has given us a glimpse into what to expect from the world of tech in 2020. Predictions in the world of technology are fraught with risks of hyperbole and exaggeration (Where are all the flying cars that Blade Runner promised us?) but here are some of the fairly safe bets we are willing to place this year. From personal computing devices with whacky new form factors to more streaming services than we can afford — here is a look at some of the tech that will make the headlines this year.
5G, the next generation of mobile connectivity, is expected to start trickling in this year with the promise of faster and more reliable networks. If done right, 5G could offer average download speeds of more than 1 Gbps and make fast connectivity so ubiquitous that it has a domino effect on other sectors like Internet of Things and self-driving cars. But given the kind of infrastructure overhaul 5G will need, few expect nationwide adoption this year in India.
War of the megapixels
As 2019 came to a close, phone manufacturers seemed to be on the cusp of yet another megapixel war with their cameras. Samsung and Xiaomi are angling to roll out their next flagship devices with cameras that boast more than 100 megapixels. Even mid-range phones have started popping up with 48- and 64-megapixel cameras. While megapixels aren’t everything, such hardware undeniably means your everyday photos will be sharper. The spike in megapixels will also help low-light and night-time photography.
8K videos, here they come
This will be the year when 8K video technology — 16 times the display resolution of full HD — starts rolling in. There will not be a lot of 8K content to watch nor are we expecting a widespread adoption but all top of the line TVs and projectors are likely to push 8K standards. While your cable TV is not expected to undergo this shift any time soon, we wouldn’t be surprised to see websites like YouTube offer 8K content. The new generation of gaming consoles will also support this standard. Some phonemakers may also surprise us with 8K video recording capabilities given that the new generation of processors has promised support for the standard.
Dual & foldable screen devices
The signs are all there. 2020 may be the year when a single flat screen on your phone or laptop will start to look oh-so-last year. Whether its devices with screens that fold up (Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 or Motorola Razr) or ones with two screens (LG G8X ThinQ, Microsoft Surface Duo), the industry seems barrelling towards a future that has more display. The trend will also be seen in laptops with offerings like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold and Microsoft Surface Neo. The extra real-estate on the screens could open up exciting new ways of using our devices and even eliminate the need to carry two devices.
Artificial intelligence or AI is expected to make greater strides this year and become even more pervasive. More things are likely to be automated, your digital assistant is set to become smarter and more efficient. AI, along with its cousin Machine Learning, is likely to sink deeper into sectors like healthcare and energy.
Better, faster smartphones
2020 will also see smartphones rolling out many new features with better hardware. The next generation of Snapdragon processors will offer improvements like bigger and faster in-screen fingerprint scanners, support for in-device live transcription and high refresh rate screens. The fourth generation of USB technology is also on the cards, making for faster data transfers and higher bandwidth connectivity.
Deepfakes, no stopping these
With US ypcoming elections on the horizon, the buzz around “deepfakes” — the video equivalent of photoshopped images — is expected to surge. These computer-generated videos show people saying things they did not really do or say. Though there is a lot of alarm about such technology, there is no way to stop it. Like doctored images, deepfake videos seem all set to fan 20th century’s crisis of confidence even more.
Both Sony and Microsoft will launch their brand-new generation of gaming consoles this year ahead of the holiday season. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X promise better graphics, higher resolution up to 8K, more immersive content and a whole host of exclusive titles. They will replace the previous generation of consoles, the Xbox One PlayStation 4 that were first introduced in 2013. Final Fantasy VII Remake, Doom Eternal and Resident Evil 3 are some of the big-ticket games expected this year.
Electric’s the word
2020 could be the year when the world’s most-followed electric car maker Tesla finally comes to India. But do not get your hopes too high given the current state of things. However, the electric vehicle market in India is as hot as ever. Hyundai and MG Motor are racing to put the first all-electric SUV on Indian roads and Bajaj is launching an electric edition of their storied Chetak scooter. The government too is doubling down on electric vehicles and for the sake of our polluted megacities, we will definitely keep our fingers crossed.
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