As the year winds down it’s a great time to reflect on the top stories of the past 12 months. This is the last installment where we look at the stories that shaped this year. Here are the top stories of Q1, Q2 and Q3.
We’ve now arrived at the final quarter of the year. There were a number of big stories in the months October, November and December, including many important phone announcements.
Xiaomi unveiled its Apple Watch-esque Mi Watch with Google Wear OS in late October. It also detailed its next major software MIUI 11.
A few days later Xiaomi held two announcements of basically the same phone – the Mi CC9 Pro was introduced for the Chinese market and a day later, its global variant the Mi Note 10 debuted. The duo was quite a big deal thanks to its 108MP main camera, a Samsung-made sensor that combines 4 pixels into 1 to produce 27MP shots.
Xiaomi wasn’t done just yet, introducing the Redmi K30 and K30 5G with 120Hz refresh rate and 64MP main camera.
Microsoft tried its hand at foldables in early October, announcing the Surface Duo – a phone with two 5.6-inch screens that come together via old fashioned physical hinges. The phone will likely remain nothing more than a concept.
Oppo’s Realme sub-brand revealed its first true flagship in Q4. The Realme X2 Pro had a 90Hz screen refresh rate, 64MP main camera, 50W fast charging and a Snapdragon 855+.
The Samsung Galaxy S11-fever got going full steam in the later months of 2019 thanks to a bunch of leaks and rumors. The main talking point of Samsung’s future flagship series was the camera setup. Galaxy S11 is expected to bring a second generation of the 108MP sensor from the Mi Note 10 Pro and later it turned out that it will feature Nonacell 108MP sensor with 9-in-1 binning for a 12MP image with equivalent 2.4μm-sized pixels – that means huge pixels that collect more information and are better in low light. The Galaxy S11 lineup will also bring 48MP telephoto cameras.
The Galaxy S11, S11e and S11+ will arrive on February 11.
Samsung introduced the successors to the highly-popular Galaxy A50 and A70 – the Galaxy A51 and A71. Both have 32MP selfie cameras embedded into the screen, the Galaxy A51 has a 48MP main camera alongside a 12MP ultrawide, while the Galaxy A71 uses a 64MP snapper and offers a potent 4,500mAh battery with 25W fast charging.
There was an issue with the ultrasonic fingerprint scanners on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 series, which allowed unregistered fingerprints to unlock the phones. Banks started to revoke access to Samsung’s biometric scanners but the issue was promptly fixed with a software update before things had gotten out of hand.
Motorola resurrected the iconic Razr with a new foldable display. The foldable Motorola Razr has a 6.2-inch Flex View screen that folds in on itself to produce a perfectly flat clamshell. The phone is nothing special in terms of specs, but even at $1,500 it’s likely to make it into a number of nostalgic pockets in 2020.
We saw the first renders of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, revealing punch-hole selfie snappers and quad cameras on the back. OnePlus also teased something called Concept One, which will make an appearance at CES 2020. Is it a foldable phone, truly wireless earphones? We don’t know.
Huawei closed out the year without official Google Play Services support and as such was relegated to mostly staying in its home market of China. Its Honor sub-brand introduced the capable V30 and V30 Pro and a couple of weeks later Huawei introduced the nova 6, nova 6 5G and 6 SE.
Sony announced the Xperia 8 with a 21:9 screen and Snapdragon 630 chip, that will be a Japan-exclusive for the nonce.
Google took the wraps off its Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The pair premiered 90Hz screens and were the first Pixel phones to have a dual camera on the rear – a 2x telephoto that received more flak for not being an ultrawide that it got praise. They have since gone to market, but are hardly taking the world by storm.
Finally, Apple got into the noise-cancelling headphone market with the $249 AirPods Pro. As expected, the Pros dominated the Holiday sales and received many a raving review, so nice job, Apple!
That’s it for the top stories of the year. It was an eventful one with a lot of major milestones – the first foldable phones, the first great telephoto and ultrawide cameras on phones, a bunch of solutions that made notches obsolete – a lot of great innovation.
That’s also it for the 2010s as a decade. We have a look at the greatest, most influential devices during the past ten years, which you can check out here.
It makes us hyped for 2020 and all the great tech it will bring!