Technology

The year in tech

  • Smartphones that fold, TVs that go up to 8k and Artificial Intelligence all came to the fore in 2018 and look to continue in 2019
- Johnson Shrestha

Jan 1, 2019-

Gone is the year 2018, and whether it was your year or not, 2019 is here. This past year was a mixed-bag for technology, as some saw a new dawn, some died down, and some did both-catching a lot of attention but dying quickly. Here are some forms of technology that were born in 2018 and take the helm in 2019.

Foldable smartphones

I don’t know what’s so special about being able to fold your smartphones, but the idea of a large portable phone has been hanging around for a long time. There were teasers from way back conceptualising how foldable these smartphones should be, but 2018 was the year when it finally happened.

While Samsung was thought to be the first company to come out with a foldable smartphone (they had come up with the concept back in 2008), it was someone else. Royole, a start-up company from California came out with the FlexPai—the world’s first foldable smartphone, which you can purchase right now. The FlexPai has a flexible AMOLED 7.8 inch screen when unfolded and two cameras. It runs on Google’s Android OS for flexible screens.

While this is just the beginning, leading tech giants should be coming out with their own version of flexible phones in 2019. It is guaranteed that we will see foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola and LG at the least.

5G connectivity

People like to live in the fast lane, and that is why 5G technology has commenced. 4G technology was working fine as it was, but apparently, it wasn’t enough. In terms of connectivity, we are always looking for the fastest speeds with the least latency, and 5G promises to deliver not only that, but up to 100 times faster network speeds than the existing 4G network when fully optimised.

And if you’re thinking that the 4G on your phone works fine, 5G is supposed to be for the ‘smart future’—from smart homes to self-driving cars and remote surgery. But of course, the first stages of 5G will be on your phone as phone companies have started modifying their chipsets to support a 5G network. Some companies have already launched 5G capable devices. Most flagship phones we’ll see in 2019 will be 5G phones, that’s for sure.

Now let’s see how fast our mobile data can go.

8K televisions

Out of all the technology that was unveiled in 2019, this one seemed the most meaningless. When the world is content with large TVs with 4K screens at the centre of their home theatres, TV manufacturers have had other ideas-with four times the number of pixels (typically 7,680×4,320 pixels) at your disposal.

It was evident that 8K screens would be coming out at some time, after all, there had to be something after 4K.  But what we didn’t anticipate was that it was going to be this early. Samsung and LG unveiled their 8K screens at Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) in August 2018, and while LG thinks the world is not ready commercially for 8K screens, Samsung is already selling it. The only contradiction here is that there is no 8K content available. So it is all quite pointless as of this moment.

Companies claim that even if there is no 8K content, these screens can upscale the content you have so that it looks better. But our eyes can’t really tell the difference between 4K and 8K, unless the screens are really, really big.

AI, AI, AI

This is not something new. The term Artificial Intelligence is all too common now. After all, we’ve been seeing this term since early school days in our computer books. But AI is something that will only go on and on and never get old. Because no matter the level of machine intelligence we achieve, the target will always be set further on. And so, we saw some forms of AI in 2018, and we’ll probably see an abundance in 2019.

But AI, in itself, is a very vast term. Let’s talk about a more limited scenario—AI on smartphones. What started with the ‘beauty mode’ for selfie cameras has now evolved to features like having augmented reality in your smartphones. A number of phones boast AI cameras where the technology processes an image, recognises what the setting is, and automatically tweaks the image to look better. But AI is not just limited to that. AI is integrated in chipsets to know when to boost the performance of a device and when to throttle it. We all know of Voice Assistants as well.

Beyond smartphones, the horizon of AI is infinite. Artificial Intelligence will soon take over the world.

So, expect to see these technology trends reigning throughout 2019. Even if none of these seem particularly exciting, it remains to be seen what entirely new tech we’ll see emerge in the coming year.

Published: 01-01-2019 08:40

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