📆 Welcome to your DGiT Monthly!
It’s 2020 and January has been tumultuous for many reasons: the fun of CES, the not so fun of a new novel coronavirus, to highlight just two. February, save us?
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Here’s your January tech timeline for everything that mattered -
January 2: With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, we did see some weird stuff happen. We looked at the growth of streaming in the music industry, and how Amazon cooked up a UK number 1 chart hit despite it not being on Spotify, Apple, or Google.
January 3: The OnePlus Concept One major feature was announced: smart glass. More on that later. Plus Google’s Head of International Relations decided to leave and write a Medium article about it.
January 6: As CES kicked off, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Lite series: S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite, plus Samsung’s 8K bezel-less TV.
January 7: Lots of CES goodness: A long talk about GaN chargers, Sony unveiled a car called the Vision-S sedan and the PS5 logo, and prototype foldable laptops were unveiled, plus a Samsung Galaxy Chromebook for $999 that won a bunch of awards.
January 8: Sonos v. Google became a court case because Sonos, it says, trusted Google with its designs and then Google made the Chromecast Audio and Google Home devices. Also more CES like the OnePlus Concept One smart glass vanishing trick which added some camera tricks, plus a range of small tech improvements and announcements, such as Intel’s Ghost Canyon NUC or small modular desktop PC.
January 9: Awards were handed out at CES for the best and brightest innovations and products, including the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (folding laptop), Insta360 One R, Withings ScanWatch, that $999 Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, and more. Quibi also talked a big game about its coming mobile-first streaming tech. (Later in the month, Quibi hurt itself in confusion).
January 10: Samsung’s secrets started to emerge - it’s next Galaxy S phone slipped out as the Samsung Galaxy S20, while the Galaxy Bloom name emerges for the clamshell fold phone that will become the Galaxy Z Flip. All that plus the best (and worst) of the weird tech we saw at CES 2020.
January 13: A look ahead to Apple in 2020 and what we’re hoping to see, including 5G iPhones 12, TrueDepth cameras, and much more. Plus photos: Here’s your first actual look at the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G, and the next OnePlus will have a 120Hz refresh rate.
January 14: The PC market grew for an entire year, the first time since 2011, while Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra specs leaked.
January 15: We agreed that there’s no real reason to buy a 2020 TV if you have one that still works good, since 8K doesn’t and won’t matter for quite some time. A critical Windows 10 patch came out, and you did update your machine, didn’t you?
January 16: Slate’s list of 30 Evil Companies got us thinking, while Sony handed out invites to its MWC event for the Xperia 5 Plus.
January 17: Mojo Vision’s AR contact lens did the rounds and we wondered how that would work.
January 21: Qualcomm’s less splashy but value-packed new 4G chipsets were announced: Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460, with a focus on improved imaging and connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 51, plus India’s own GPS system.
January 22: The world reacted to reports that Jeff Bezos was hacked on WhatsApp by a Saudi Crown Prince.
January 23: Tinder added panic buttons and safety check-ins to go with optional real-time tracking to help make IRL dates a little more secure.
January 24: The Doomsday Clock was moved to 100 seconds to midnight, we found out Google I/O 2020 starts May 12 this year, and more Galaxy Z Flip leaks showed camera and second screen details.
January 27: Boeing’s enormous 777X airplane had a successful its maiden voyage, while an Apple patent on a Mac made from a sheet of curved glass made us think.
January 28: The first Motorola flagship phone in years has a launch date set for MWC, which brings Moto back into the premium smartphone fold. Along with its folding Moto Razr, of course.
January 29: Apple broke its own records for selling iThings with the AirPods business already the size of a Fortune 50 company. Mac sales were down, though. And we saw some official marketing images of the Galaxy Z Flip leak.
January 30: The day of the new emoji, with 117 of ‘em set to hit phones once all the details are worked out :finger pinch emoji:.
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CES is now behind us and it seems more than ever that it’s a convention of prototypes and things that may or may not matter in a few years. Take this smattering of stories: Sony’s car isn’t a car but a collection of Sony sensors. 2020 TVs shouldn’t be bought by anyone that doesn’t have a money tree in their yard. Folding laptops did impress people but they’re not out for ~12 months or more and will probably also require a forest of money trees.
Meanwhile, MWC in a few weeks will be more here and now, if the Wuhan coronavirus doesn’t derail the whole thing, given 108,000 people are expected to attend, many from China.
But the here and now will matter. The list of phones for February, which may or may not include an MWC press event, looks like the following, in no particular order:
That’s probably not all of them for a busy month of phone launches. It may even beat out the September/October rush it's so packed. Devices like the expected flagship, the Moto Edge Plus, will matter, because it’ll be a new high-end device for the US for the first time in years.
Of course MWC will see prototypes as well, and CES isn’t going anywhere as it continues to gather the world’s tech industry. Many, though, are more intrigued by the month ahead than the one we’re leaving.
But it’s harder than ever to see what matters and what doesn’t. The Verge put out 84 of the biggest flops and fails in tech over the past decade (the word Google is in there 89 times, and the way Stadia is going, might have another). Some of those looked like winners out of the box, or the future landing now. But failed. It’s worth reading to examine the decade ahead with more clarity.
🤷♀️ How Facial Recognition Works (California Sunday).
❓ The Nontrivial Pursuit of Quiz Glory (Long Reads/The Guardian).
🍳 A Brief History of the Crock Pot (Smithsonian).
Thanks for reading!
See you in the DGiT Daily, and all the very best to Adam Doud, our podcast host. He played a huge role in ensuring the DGit Daily would graduate from idea to fleshed-out concept. He toured Chicago and Las Vegas for listeners, never stopped being funny and informative, and had a tight legion of fans. We'll miss his contributions but wish him all the best for what's next.
The newsletter continues, but not having the podcast will leave a little hole.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
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