The changes are also premium because a lot of the improvements at the high end are going to be things that most people won’t need: 5G phones are going to be everywhere — maybe even coming from Apple — but the networks for them are still nascent. TVs are going to get new features like high refresh rates that will matter to gamers but perhaps no one else. And the latest PC chips could be the biggest leap for laptops we’ve seen in years, but we won’t know until they start getting released at scale.
A lot of gadgets will fold in half, too — which is going to be neat — but we don’t know if it will be necessary.
The most expensive gadgets will get even more expensive
Other innovations will be a little more practical. Those scooters you see everywhere? They’re not going away, but they should be getting a little more robust and a little less disposable. And as the year winds on, we’ll see the console wars heat up again as Sony and Microsoft get their new consoles ready for battle.
There’s one more big trend to talk about that’s more software than hardware: streaming TV. The streaming wars are in full tilt and we’ll get even more services launching in 2020. How many will most people be willing to subscribe to and how much will all these competitors spend on making new shows? Answers, respectively: more than they want to and way more than you’d expect.
All of these trends are set to kick off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Verge will be there, with coverage starting in earnest on Sunday, January 5th. CES won’t have every major gadget that will matter this year, but it is a place to see where the electronics industry is going. Walk into any big box store and you’ll see TVs for a couple hundred dollars with features that were multithousand-dollar curiosities just a few years ago. Phones with in-screen fingerprint sensors debuted at CES only to become ubiquitous a couple of years later.
Since the biggest tech companies usually save their best products for their own announcements, you can also expect CES to be a place where smaller players have a better shot at their time in the spotlight.
Trickle-down economics isn’t a viable economic theory anymore, but it still applies to gadgets. The stuff at the top eventually gets commoditized, with prices coming down and fancy features hitting the mainstream. In 2020, that’ll keep happening — and the premium gadgets will mostly be about making existing categories better instead of creating new ones.
One more thing: we’re launching a newsletter that will cover the biggest stories in consumer tech every day — it’s called Processor and it’s written by Dieter Bohn. If you want the best way to keep up with the onslaught of announcements at CES, Processor is the best way to get the most important news every morning. And after CES is over, Dieter will continue it delivering it to your inbox daily. Read more about it here and subscribe!
Here’s what to expect in 2020 and at CES in the world of consumer electronics.Phones: 5G is coming — whether we’re ready or not