The 120 Hz refresh rate was a trend for 2020, but we didn’t see much excitement around the technology. On the other hand, support for 5G and improvement in cameras dominated new smartphones, which also had high prices due to the pandemic and the volatile dollar. Speaking of coronavirus, we spent more time at home accompanied by TV Boxes and smart speakers – these products gained a lot of attention in 2020.
We definitely had a hectic period in electronic devices and the Tecnoblog recalls in this retrospective the gadgets that marked the year 2020.
5 gadget facts in 2020
1. Support for 5G and computer photography
From operator making technology official in Brazil to ideological issues between the United States, China (and even Brazil): the main highlight is the controversial 5G that was not even fully implemented, but many companies rushed to adopt it and already provide support in your products.
In addition to the new iPhones 12 presented in October, they arrived supporting the technology in Brazil: Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Xiaomi Mi 10T, Mi 10T Pro, Motorola Edge and Edge +.
Motorola surprised by advancing 5G connectivity for its family of middlemen: Moto G 5G Plus and Moto G 5G (announced later this year).
Other than that, the new smartphones followed the previous year’s revenue and continued to deliver more screen, more battery and multiple lenses. We will focus on the latter because the cameras are still on the rise. In particular, computational photography was the subject of the time, so much so that the Tecnoblog addressed the topic in a special report and also in Tecnocast 166 (Who needs a DSLR?).
Better definition, noise reduction, color enhancement and efficient Night mode. Hardware work on photo production has gained more attention in new phones. With this, the photographic system goes beyond the scene recognition through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and makes the necessary adjustments in post-processing, after the click, to deliver better images.
With the iPhones 12, Apple was able to show this well by improving the hardware to deliver higher quality images without making major changes to the optical array.
2. Cell phones became more expensive in 2020
The pandemic has affected many sectors of the economy and the electronics industry has not been immune to the crisis. The strong volatility of the dollar this year was also responsible for raising the final price of smartphones and other gadgets. At LG, for example, we saw the entry models K22 and K22 + for up to R $ 1,099; the situation was no different with the Galaxy A01 Core, Samsung’s most basic device in 2020.
In 2019, LG K40S and Galaxy A10, basic devices, arrived at the same price (R $ 999), but both have more interesting technical data in relation to the K22 and A01 Core. In the same year, Samsung also introduced the A20 which, although it was announced for R $ 1,299, had a Super AMOLED screen and a 4,000 mAh battery. In turn, Motorola also brought the Moto E6 Play, for R $ 699.
Among the middlemen of 2020, the Galaxy A11 and A21s landed for R $ 1,699 and R $ 1,999, respectively (no, you didn’t read it wrong!). The fellow LG, who has not been making good profits in the mobile division, came with everything and updated the K line: K41S, K51S and K61 arrived for up to R $ 1,899; then the company brought K52, K62 and K62 + – even more expensive.
Motorola even started well with the Moto G8 and G8 Power for less than R $ 1,800. Throughout the year, the brand did not forget about Brazil and continued strong with other input devices and intermediaries, and, as we showed in the previous topic, it “shone” again in the line top segment with Edge + which costs… R $ 7,999 (and scored 9 in the review of Tecnoblog).
We also rescued for this retrospective some unexpected returns and launches. First, the most striking re-event: Finnish Nokia, through HMD Global, returned to Brazil in partnership with Multilaser and launched Nokia 2.3, a product that brought nostalgia, but did not cheer up much and received a 7.3 in our review. HMD Global then made Nokia C2 and 5.3 official, a mid-range device with Snapdragon 665 and “pure Android”.
We also covered Philco’s debut in the cell phone segment; the company, famous for its TVs, coffee makers and refrigerators, started with Hit PCS01 in May, then came Hit Plus and Hit Max, and before the end of the year, Hit P10 hit stores for R $ 1,599.
However, who really surprised was Tectoy, the famous game and console company, which suddenly launched Tectoy On, a R $ 1,999 smartphone with a 6.22-inch screen, triple camera, Android 10 and Bluetooth headset in the box. . Although it bears the name Tectoy, the device belongs to TCL; both companies are partners.
3. Apple in the hot seat?
How to talk about cell phones and not mention the controversy of the year? Several rumors pointed out that Apple was about to remove the plug adapter and headset from the box. In fact, it happened and the company’s decision generated a huge discussion and complaints on social networks, with other brands even playing indirect.
In addition to the new iPhones, Apple decided to remove the accessories from the box of the previous models (iPhone 11, iPhone XR and iPhone SE). The brand argues that by removing the items they are able to reduce carbon emissions and, with the smaller packages, it is possible that “70% more boxes are sent on a pallet”. All of this in an effort to achieve the goal of being a 100% carbon neutral company by the year 2030.
They still justify that most of their customers already have these accessories at home, which even makes sense. But there is a point of reflection here: they decided to adopt the USB-C cable with Lightning for the entire line, however, before the change, Apple sent plug adapters with USB-A and non-USB-C port on non-Pro models .
With all this, companies like Samsung and Xiaomi made fun and published indirect. But it looks like the game is about to turn, because the Tecnoblog revealed exclusively that the South Korean giant will sell the Galaxy S21 without a charger and handset in the box.
4. The year of smart speakers and TV Boxes
In 2020, we followed the updates of smart speakers. Google made the new Nest Audio official; Apple introduced us to the HomePod Mini; while Amazon “transformed” Echo, Echo Dot (4th generation) and Echo Show 10 with a screen that moves by itself. Before, in June, the company had already launched here the Echo Studio with 330 watts of power.
But we did have a strong movement in the TV Boxes sector here in Brazil this year. In early 2020, Roku officially landed in our country, but on AOC smart TVs, without streaming sticks. The North American company even announced a partnership with Globoplay, to bring TV Globo’s streaming app on board.
Later, in September 2020, the most basic streaming box, Roku Express, was launched in Brazil. However, it was not just Roku that caught the attention of Brazilian consumers: DL Eletrônicos announced in July the Mi TV Stick, which runs Android TV 9.0 and still has a remote control with a dedicated Google Assistant, Netflix and Prime Video button.
Later, these two products gained a competitor. In September it was Amazon’s turn to announce the Fire TV Stick Lite, also very similar to the Mi TV Stick, but delivering Alexa button control and more performance compared to the 2017 Basic.
After several rumors, Google finally introduced the new Chromecast – very different from the previous version. The gadget finally gained remote control and followed the trend by delivering dedicated buttons for YouTube and Netflix. Another novelty is Google TV (modified Android TV interface) that runs on the updated Chromecast. The search giant’s dongle is not yet sold in Brazil.
It is worth noting that all of these releases came at a time when people were more locked up at home due to the pandemic. In July, Kantar Ibope Media published a survey by the Target Group Index Flash Pandemic, which analyzed changes in the behavior of Brazilians during the crisis.
The study pointed to an increase in media consumption: 56% of respondents said they had watched paid videos on demand during this period. The survey is in line with another survey by Conviva, which shows that streaming viewing has grown 20% globally in the pandemic.
5. Wearables and health
In a year marked by health, wearables, especially smart watches, stood out. And, against the crisis, smartwatches gained momentum in the first quarter and registered sales growth of 20% compared to the same period last year.
The leadership remains in the hands of Apple, which sold 7.6 million units in that period, against 6.2 million in the 1st quarter of 2019. After the Apple, appear in the list Samsung and Garmin, shows the survey by Strategy Analytics. The best-selling models in the world during the first half of 2020 are: Apple Watch Series 5, Apple Watch Series 4, Huawei Watch GT2, Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Imoo Z3 4G, respectively.
The popularity gained even more strength with the function of SpO2, responsible for the measurement of oxygen saturation in the blood. Generally, saturation is measured by an oximeter, found in pharmacies, but many smartwatches have integrated this equipment and can help “detect the new coronavirus”, as we explained in a special about smart watches saving lives.
By the way, we had some interesting launches in the segment this year. Among the smartbands, were made official: Mi Smart Band 5, Smart Band 4C and Galaxy Fit 2. Among the smartwatches, Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 6 with more performance and new colors; and, with an eye on that less demanding consumer, the company also revealed a simpler option, the Apple Watch SE. In competition, Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 3 with rotating crown, AMOLED screen and various health features.
What to expect from gadgets in 2021?
For the next year, we can expect more controversy around the removal of handset and charger from the box (we’ll see what Samsung will do with the S21 line). Perhaps even the cable will no longer be shipped in the packaging of the iPhones 13, which, in short, should arrive with a 120 Hz screen.
The “popularization” of 5G support will remain steadfast. During the launch of the Hit P10, Philco has already announced many new features in smartphones for 2021. And the Chinese Realme is arriving in Brazil and starts selling Realme 7 and 7 Pro phones in January, as well as Buds Q headphones.