With 2019 being part of the past, it is time to make a forecast of the technological developments that will be a trend in 2020 and will set the course for the immediate future.
The first measures of 2020 already sound, and while we still doubt our excess of optimism in formulating the purposes for the new year, we realize the number of technological innovations expected in the face of 2020.
If 2019 has been an interesting year for the arrival of numerous technologies and the risky commitment of manufacturers to apply them. Almost science fiction projects come to mind, such as folding smartphones, the possibility of making your purchases on Amazon just by asking a smart speaker or the possibility of crossing all of Europe with an electric vehicle.
2020 will mean the definitive consolidation of many of the technologies that already emerged in 2019 in fields as popular as telephony, artificial intelligence, entertainment or the electric car.
5G networks, in 2020 it will finally be a reality for everyone
After more than five years of “imminent” arrival of 5G, 2020 will be the year in which the widespread deployment of 5G networks in the world will begin.
This process involves the release of the 700 MHz frequency band that DTT television occupies so far, to start the auction of licenses between the operators that request it and start broadcasting 5G networks.
That will mean that, in the middle or the end of 2020, 5G networks will play an important role in the constant tariff war of the operators, which will be transmitted to mobile sales that already have support for this type of networks 5G
In 2019 we could already see some examples of mobile phones with support for 5G networks, some of which, such as the Huawei Mate 20X 5G or the LG V50 ThinQ 5G we had the opportunity to try in the first person.
So far, 5G connectivity had been reserved for the most top ranges of each brand, but in 2020, with a surge in the demand for this type of mobile, manufacturers will bet to include support for 5G networks in the range models average, and it is not ruled out that by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021 this technology can reach the lowest ranges.
Regardless of the direct impact on the telephony that the arrival of 5G networks will have, this technology will be a real revolution at all levels. Something that many experts have agreed to equate to the invention of the steam engine or electricity.
Despite waiting for the arrival of 5G networks for years, until the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, the first real 5G deployments in industrial or large infrastructure areas such as smart cities, industrial process automation, etc. will not be seen.
Finally, the folding mobiles arrive
In 2019 the first foldable smartphones were shown as the revolution that would change the concept of mobile phones and the way it is used.
Although time and failed launches showed that it is a technology that still needs to be polished, we have offices on the market the first smartphone with a folding screen and several projects about to go on the market.
Samsung, with its Galaxy Fold, has been the one who has played the most in its mobile adventure with folding screens and has managed to overcome the problems that arose with its screen recovering in time to reach the market as the first mobile with screen folding for sale in 2019 and, by 2020, it already prepares its second version of this model with some added improvements.
Huawei was another of the manufacturers that opted for this technology with its Huawei Mate X, which finally did not go on sale in Europe during 2019 and is expected to do so during 2020.
Other manufacturers such as Motorola or Xiaomi have also shown interest in this type of smartphone. While Xiaomi has been carrying out its project almost secretly and only a folding book-type smartphone has been glimpsed, in the style of those presented by Samsung and Huawei, Motorola is committed to a more innovative format and with a retro touch that returns us to mobile phones Shell type for the Motorola Razr 2020 that we could test during its presentation.
While it is true that 2020 will be a year in which manufacturers will present interesting projects in the field of folding smartphones, it is more than likely that none of these proposals will become best-selling mobile phones due to the high price involved in the development of a New technology as complex as this.
However, controlling the manufacturing process and implementation of these flexible screens will open the door to other uses in the future, and will help, perhaps in 2021 or 2022, we all carry a smartphone with a folding screen in your pocket.
In 2020, OLED will be king
If we talk about smartphones and devices with flexible screens, we cannot stop talking about the technology that makes this engineering miracle possible: OLED.
With an LCD technology giving clear signs of exhaustion, the OLED is shown as the display technology capable of offering answers to all the challenges of the future, at least until other technologies such as microLED are finished.
OLED technology faces 2020 at its sweetest moment in such important aspects like the cost of production or the improvement in its performance.
We have only to look at how, in the field of televisions, OLED screens have covered the high ranges of manufacturers while maintaining the price level of the LED LCD screens that they replaced.
This is a clear indication of the impact of optimizing the manufacturing processes of OLED panels and increasing demand in the final price of the product, making it much more affordable. We have also seen this trend in smartphones, as more and more models are betting on OLED screens instead of using LCD.
This increase in the use of OLED is also due to the improvement in its benefits. Returning to the field of televisions, the first models of OLED 8K TVs are beginning to reach the market and their development has contributed to the improvement in the quality and reliability of the screens, improving performance and brightness.
The possibility of integrating a fingerprint sensor under the screen, low energy consumption or flexibility are some of the factors that have made the telephone industry dessert at the foot of OLED technology. A trend that will live at its peak in 2020 where this technology is expected to settle between most mid-range and high-end devices.
The landing of OLED screens in 2020 is not only limited to televisions or smartphones. Monitors and laptops will be the other major beneficiaries of OLED technology and we will see how laptops multiply with several integrated screens, such as the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo or the HP Omen X 2S, which take advantage of the low consumption of these types of screens and its reliability in colors to offer an expanded workspace.
A new generation of video game consoles
In 2013 and with perfect synchrony, the two main video game platforms were renewed, with PlayStation 4 by Sony and Xbox One by Microsoft.
Seven years later, both platforms coincide almost millimetrically on the dates of the presentation of the new generation of their consoles. This puts an end to one of the longest-running generations, no matter how much some may have been short.
Christmas 2020 seems to be the goal of both platforms, so it is expected that both Microsoft and Sony present their consoles between the third and fourth quarters of the year, well in advance to ensure their arrival on the market before the Christmas campaign.
The execution of games in resolutions 8K and a general improvement in the performance of its hardware seem to be the arguments for its renewal, something to which they have been forced before the pressing pressure of the rebound in which the PC is living as a gaming platform.
Luckily for the current owners of one of these consoles, both manufacturers have expressed their willingness to backward compatibility, so it is expected that users’ games can be used during these years on the new platform.
Sagas as emblematic as BioShock, Spider-Man or HALO Infinite have already confirmed their support for the new generation of consoles, so it is expected that the premiere on the market of the new generation of consoles will be accompanied by an important library of new titles under the arm.
Streaming games: Google Stadia is only the first stone
The idea of being able to play the same games on different devices is a concept with which, for some years now, the main companies in the sector have been flirting. 2020 will be the litmus test to check if streaming gaming platforms consolidate or are nothing more than a fiasco.
Somehow that has been the germ of initiatives like Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Now, although in the end they have been left in something like a repository in which to buy and store games in the cloud to install them whenever you want.
However, streaming gaming platforms propose another point of view regarding games as they are disconnected from the device. It is not necessary to have a console or a computer since the game runs on a server in the cloud and not on the device.
The advance in fiber optic networks and cloud computing and content streaming techniques have placed 2020 as the key year to determine the viability of projects such as Google Stadia or Start as a result of the collaboration of Nvidia and Tencent that will arrive throughout 2020.
The first Google Stadia test units arrived at the end of 2019 and we were able to test the gaming experience. This helped us to affirm in our opinion that the streaming gaming platforms still have a lot of work to do and that 2020 will be key to seeing important movements in this technology that could forever change the landscape of the gaming industry.
Artificial intelligence and IoT: going down from Cloud Computing to Edge Computing
The AI no longer seems a concept of science fiction movies as we have become accustomed to interacting with it in various fields.
However, the development and evolution of these artificial intelligence agents have marked a clear tendency to “lower” the artificial intelligence of the servers in the cloud to the devices that use it, from ” Cloud Computing ” to ” Edge Computing ”
Google was advancing to this trend with its small Nest Mini portable speaker, integrating a small processor that serves to boost artificial intelligence processes locally. That is, without having to send each operation to an external server to make a decision, so that artificial intelligence agents, in this case, a voice assistant, no longer depend on a constant Internet connection to do their job. , being able to do some of those tasks locally.
This concept has been applied in the field of smartphones for a couple of years, integrating neural processing units (NPU by the initials of Neural Processor Unit ) responsible for managing all information related to artificial intelligence processes.
During 2020, with the explosion of connectivity that will mean the arrival of 5G networks, it is expected that the Internet of Things devices located inside the home will multiply at a frantic pace.
However, despite the improvement in connectivity, many of these devices will optimize their performance by processing the attendees’ responses by voice, visual recognition (motion detection, facial recognition, etc.) on the same device, ceasing to depend on the availability of a network to function.
In parallel, the connected home ecosystem will finally be regulated under the same standard as companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and other companies that are part of the Zigbee Alliance that is responsible for this IoT connection protocol, have joined to establish a common “language” for IoT devices that will arrive in late 2020.
This new protocol will be based on IP connectivity and will offer greater security guarantees for all home devices. In this way, connectivity between the different devices of the connected home will be improved, simplifying the integration of new devices to the already created scenarios.
Transition to the electric car: 2020 will be a point of no return in its deployment
The car industry seems to have understood that the future of the sector is through the electric car. Throughout 2019 the main manufacturers have given plenty of samples of their change of model towards the electrification of the car fleet.
Beyond the challenges posed by the change in a productive model that has been established for more than 100 years, the automobile industry faces a serious problem that during 2020 must initiate its resolution: the charging infrastructure for these electric vehicles.
It is of little use that the main brands have announced more than a dozen new models of 100% electric vehicles, such as the Volkswagen IDs, the new Honda E or the Mercedes proposals with their EQA if then the drivers of these vehicles have an insufficient number of charging points or what there is does not cover reasonable needs in terms of loading times.
The solution not only comes from the restructuring of the car industry but must be accompanied by a change in the fuel industry. Companies like Repsol have already announced some reconversion plans towards the electric model that will begin to take shape in 2020 and add to the strategies of other companies such as Shell.
The beginning of this conversion of gas stations into electrolineras will be one of the keys for 2020 to be a point of no return towards the electrification of the car park and, without a doubt, will mark an essential technological milestone for the development of derived technologies such as charging fast, those that improve the autonomy of the batteries or the developments that allow to position charging points more efficiently and easily for the user.