Technology is one industry that never stands still and all signs point to 2019 being among the busiest yet, with 14.2bn connected devices estimated to be in use throughout it, according to analyst Gartner.
One of the year’s most significant launches will be the widespread introduction of 5G wireless networks, following years of tests and wild speculation. Vodafone and EE are among the UK carriers making aggressive claims over their capacity to lead the roll out of the next generation of mobile connectivity, which promises download speeds up to 1,000 times faster than current 4G, as AT&T became the first carrier to launch a 5G service in the US in late December.
Smartphone manufacturers are eager to jump on the 5G bandwagon, and Samsung and LG are expected to be among the first big names to launch the first handsets capable of taking advantage of the new speeds. LG is reported to have been working on a 5G-enabled version of its G7 ThinQ handset, while Samsung is expected to show off a new 5G Galaxy S10 with a fingerprint reader embedded in its display prior to Mobile World Congress in late February.
Will the rest of the industry follow in Samsung’s footsteps? (Photo:REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
Elsewhere, Samsung’s foldable phone, rumoured to be called the Galaxy X, is also due for release early in the new year, featuring a screen on both the outer ‘cover’ and inner ‘pages’ of the device. Whether foldable phones is something the public embraces or not remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting effort from Samsung to mark a departure from generic handset design.
The other biggest phone launch of the year will belong to South Korean company’s biggest rival, Apple. The next iPhone is highly likely to be announced in September, and may be accompanied by a redesigned version of the company’s wireless AirPods headphones, the much-delayed AirPower charging mat and a second generation HomePod speaker.
Apple is also widely expected to make notable announcements connected to its TV and film offerings in the first three months of the year – namely a long-rumoured TV, music and news streaming platform.
A second generation of Apple’s Airpod headphones is likely to be in development (Photo: Getty)
Telsa is currently developing a Model Y electric car scheduled for reveal in March 2019, though the firm’s tendency for missing deadlines means we may have to wait a bit longer to get a proper look at the new small SUV.
Reports also point to Facebook working on a camera designed to turn a TV in a larger version of its Portal video calling devices, though given the reputational battering Facebook has been subject to in 2018, don’t be too surprised if this one never makes it to our shelves.