As the year winds down it’s a great time to reflect on the top stories of the past 12 months. This is the third of four installments where we look at the stories that shaped this year. Here are the top stories of Q1, Q2.
We’re now entering the fall flagship territory. The long and mostly uneventful summer has passed and the world of tech has finally begun picking up again.
This is the time when the biggest makers in the world unveil their most important flagships (or joint most important, for companies like Samsung).
The first major second-half of the year flagship came out earlier than its rivals. Samsung’s Galaxy Note10+ was, for the first time, joined by a smaller Galaxy Note10 and they brought a number of improvements to the Note line.
There was a new design with thinner bezels and an in-display selfie camera, under display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, a new gyro-sensitive S Pen, a new 12MP telephoto camera with a wider f/2.1 aperture and new 16MP ultrawide camera. The Note10 duo also received a slightly-faster 7nm Exynos 9825 chip, over the Galaxy S10’s 8nm 9820.
A month later Apple unveiled the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. The more-expensive iPhone XS and XS Max successors (the Pro ones, if clarification was needed) got a brighter telephoto and a completely new ultrawide cameras. The less-expensive iPhone 11 (the XR successor) got the same ultrawide but kept the oh-so-2016 IPS LCD.
Apple also dropped the Apple Watch Series 5, which was notable for being the first Apple smartwatch to have an always on screen.
Just after Apple, Huawei unveiled its Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro. They had Huawei’s new 40MP ultrawide and yes, it impressed us a lot here at HQ, but what’s more important is what the phones didn’t have – Google services. And it has remained so, which means that the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, despite having one of the clearest arguments for your cash, are basically a hard purchase outside China.
For a while it seemed that Huawei’s custom HongmengOS would be the replacement to Android, but then it turned out it wasn’t meant for smartphone use. Huawei calls it HarmonyOS in global markets, but it’s mostly meant for use in smart displays and IoT devices rather than phones.
As we now know Huawei’s market situation hasn’t been resolved throughout 2019 but we do hope the company figures things out in 2020. Huawei is an aggressive player that pushes its rivals to be better.
OnePlus divided its T announcements by a few weeks this year. The OnePlus 7T was unveiled at the end of September, while the OnePlus 7T Pro got unveiled a few weeks later in the beginning of October. The reason behind the shift in announcements seemingly was the US, which would get the OnePlus 7T, but not the 7T Pro (instead it still has the OnePlus 7 Pro).
The OnePlus 7T was a huge improvement over the OnePlus 7. It gained the regular + wide + tele camera, the 90Hz screen, the better haptics and a new design. OnePlus later added a 12GB+256GB McLaren edition of the 7T Pro, ending the year on a major high.
Xiaomi unveiled the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Mi A3 alongside its new MIUI 11. But it made waves with the Mi Mix Alpha – its all-out flagship phone.
The Mi Mix Alpha has a unique OLED screen that wraps around one the sides of the phone and ends at the rear, resulting in a 180% screen to body ratio. Outside of the elite specs – Snapdragon 855+, 12GB of RAM, 108MP main camera – the Mi Mix Alpha has a higher price than both the Galaxy Fold and Mate X – CNY 19,999 or around $2,800/€2,500.
That’s it for Q3. Just one quarter to go now – make sure you don’t miss it.