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techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

10 Tech Trends to Watch for in 2019If you’re going to invest for growth, it’s almost impossible to avoidtechnology stocks. After all, technology is seeping into every aspect of ourdaily lives, becoming a bigger part of commerce, industry, health care andmore – and the stocks that enable these shifts will continue to gobble upmarket opportunity at the expense of “the old ways.”But naturally, if you’re going to invest in technology, you need to be awareof the highest-opportunity tech trends.Just look at the past couple of years. The rise of cryptocurrencies, as wellas their precipitous fall back to earth, set graphics cards maker Nvidia(NVDA) aloft before dragging it back down in late 2018. The plateauing ofglobal smartphone sales finally caught up with Apple (AAPL), which had nochoice but to keep hiking iPhone prices to stratospheric levels … and endedthe practice of reporting unit sales, which some experts fear is meant to maska disappointing new trend. The list goes on.What will shape the future of technology stocks in the year ahead? Here’s alook at 10 top tech trends to watch for in 2019 – and the companies that mayrise and fall as a result.1 of 10### Streaming Video Competition Heats UpNetflix (NFLX) has been having its way with the online video streaming market,adding 28.6 million new customers in 2018 – the vast majority of those ininternational markets. Netflix’s roughly 58 million U.S. streaming customersas of the third quarter of 2018 was more than double Amazon.com’s (AMZN) 26million and Hulu’s 20 million.Those services, as well as Alphabet’s (GOOGL) YouTube, are attracting viewers,too, but none have proven a disruptive threat … yet. 2019 may be the yearNetflix faces real competition.In addition to all the aforementioned threats, Apple also is pouring money toacquire content for its expected foray into streaming video. This is the samecompany that quickly went from zero to being the world’s second largeststreaming music company – Apple Music now has more than 50 million paidsubscribers just three-and-a-half years after its launch.The bigger danger to Netflix is likely to be Disney (DIS), which is expectedto launch its Disney+ streaming service near the end of 2019. Disney boaststhe Star Wars and Marvel franchises (which Netflix will lose access to),decades worth of ABC TV programming and assets from its acquisition of 21stCentury Fox’s (FOXA) film and TV catalog – a vast content library it can useto take on Netflix.###2 of 10### More Alexa, More Google AssistantTech companies are determined to own the smart home. Amazon upended everythingby integrating Alexa – the company’s personal digital assistant – in the Echosmart speaker, countering the reach Apple’s and Google’s virtual assistantsgained via smartphones.Smart speakers enjoyed a blowout holiday-season quarter as Amazon and Googleboth slashed prices to simply stuff their gadgets into as many homes aspossible. Apple finally released its HomePod early in 2018, but cost isrelegating Siri to a bit role in this market.Google and Amazon are now pushing to integrate their digital assistants intoas many devices as possible, including third-party products. Amazon has goneso far as releasing its microwave oven with integrated Alexa voice control.Expect 2019 to see Alexa and Google Assistant baked into an even wider rangeof home products, from TVs to appliances, as the battle for smart homedominance escalates.###3 of 10### Smartphones With an Array of CamerasSmartphones have been blamed for all but killing off point-and-shoot cameras;consumers simply turn to their phones for casual photography because thecameras are pretty good and always on hand.But Apple started an arms war in 2017. Apple brought dual-camera systems intothe mainstream with the iPhone 7 Plus. It featured two primary cameras: onewide angle and one telephoto. That kicked off an arms race among smartphonemakers who realized many people would love to have their smartphone replace aDSLR, too, with multiple lenses allowing more professional-quality photos.Multiple cameras also make it easier for smartphone makers to offer enhancedphoto tricks such as “bokeh” and HDR.It’s about to get more extreme.In fall 2018, Samsung launched the Galaxy A9 with four cameras. China’s Huaweifollowed that up with the P20 Pro and its three rear cameras. Expect to seemore smartphones in 2019 with the back panels bristling with camera lenses.###4 of 10### ARM-Based ComputersWindows laptops powered by Qualcomm (QCOM) ARM chips instead of Intel (INTC)processors first hit the market at the end of 2017. They impressed withbattery life that could hit 20 hours and always-on LTE connectivity that meansthey’re perpetually online, even when Wi-Fi is not available. The problem?Performance has been unimpressive, in part because Qualcomm simply adapted oneof its existing smartphone chips for use in a laptop.That will change in 2019.Qualcomm announced the new Snapdragon 8cx at the start of December. This is anall-new processor designed from the ground-up for use in a laptop. It uses thenew 7nm chip process – technology that Intel still is working on – anddelivers impressive performance. Qualcomm demonstrated reference laptopsequipped with its new processor driving two 4K monitors simultaneously, andthe company says it is twice as fast as the Intel U-Series CPU.With battery life measured in days not hours, and the promise of highperformance in a compact package, Qualcomm could finally challenge Intel onthat company’s home turf of selling PC processors.###“5G technology” is a big tech buzz-term you will hear a lot about in 2019.The next generation of cellular communication actually has two components. 5Gcan transmit over low frequencies (existing cellular bands) for a 25% to 50%gain in speed over 4G LTE. The big win is in high-frequency bands using“millimeter wave” broadcasting to achieve speeds up to 20 times faster than4G.However, this requires cellular providers to greatly expand theirinfrastructure, so the faster 5G will take longer to be rolled out as amainstream service.5G smartphones are coming in 2019, but not from Apple. Qualcomm will have 5Gmodems in smartphones from Samsung and others, but since the iPhone no longeruses Qualcomm components, Apple fans will be forced to wait until 2020 forIntel to catch up. Limited 5G networks started to roll out across the U.S. in2018, but the service will really begin to expand this year, with nationalcoverage slated to come in 2020. Also expect to start hearing buzz about 5Gwireless replacing cable for home broadband internet services – something thatcould shake up the telecommunication industry.###The other wireless standard you can expect to hear a lot about in 2019 is Wi-Fi 6.The Wi-Fi Alliance – a group of companies responsible for overseeing Wi-Fitechnology – concluded that consumers find current Wi-Fi naming standardsconfusing. Do you know if 802.11ac is better than 802.11g? To solve thatissue, they are switching to a new naming convention. The current standard(802.11ac) becomes Wi-Fi 5. And in 2019, we’ll start to see equipment thatsupports Wi-Fi 6.Wi-Fi 6 promises faster speeds, increased capacity so wireless networks canmanage more connected devices, and better performance in dense environmentsincluding public spaces such as arenas and malls.Wi-Fi 6 also is tweaked specifically to lower the battery usage in connecteddevices, in a nod to the growing popularity of battery-powered smart homeproducts such as sensors, cameras and door locks.###7 of 10### Folding SmartphonesWill a folding display be the next notch, the must-have smartphone featurethat ends up being copied by everyone in the business?If Samsung and others have their way … yes.In November 2018, Samsung showed off its Flex Display technology, which thecompany says will be coming on a foldable smartphone sometime in the firsthalf of 2019. But it won’t be the first to market. Royole’s FlexPai smartphonewith a folding OLED display began shipping in the final days of 2018.The question is, will these first folding smartphones be the start of a bigtrend in 2019, or will consumers shrug and decide they don’t want to pay apremium for a device that combines a smartphone and tablet in one? Investorswill want to watch this trend to see if it results in real numbers, but onething is for certain: You’ll hear plenty about folding smartphones in thecoming months as manufacturers push you to upgrade.###8 of 10### Continued AI DevelopmentArtificial intelligence has been one of the most prominent tech trends inrecent years, and it accelerated in 2018. AI is a big part of what makesdigital assistants like Alexa and Siri smart, it powers the incredible newNight Sight mode on Google’s Pixel smartphone cameras and facial recognitionsystems being tested by law enforcement agencies, and it’s critical to thedevelopment of self-driving cars.Tech-sector companies invested heavily in AI in 2018, and expect investmentand development to continue in 2019.Google will use AI to make your search results better, Apple will work hard tomake Siri more competitive with Alexa and Google Assistant, Amazon willleverage artificial intelligence to recommend more products to you, and Tesla(TSLA) says its custom AI chip for autonomous driving is “coming to fruition.”###9 of 10### Streaming Video Game SystemsThe next generation of video game consoles – the successors to Microsoft’s(MSFT) Xbox One and the Sony (SNE) PlayStation 4 – aren’t expected until 2020.But 2019 will be far from quiet on the video-game front.Expect to hear a lot about new video-game streaming options. In October,Google announced Project Stream, a new service that makes high-end PC videogames playable on a basic PC using the company’s Chrome web browser. Theinitial test phase saw Assassin’s Creed Odyssey streaming in 1080p resolutionat 60 fps. Expect Project Stream to expand in 2019, offering gamers aninexpensive option for playing AAA games without having to invest in a consoleor gaming PC.Microsoft’s xCloud service also will start trials in 2019. This cloud-basedservice will stream Xbox games to multiple devices, including PCs andsmartphones.###10 of 10### Apple Watch Faces New CompetitionFinally, a look at one of tech’s big success stories for 2018: the AppleWatch.Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch industry, helping to drive 67%year-over-year smartwatch sales growth in the third quarter of 2018. The AppleWatch Series 4 added new, advanced health capabilities, including the abilityfor users to take an electrocardiogram test.The Apple Watch has had little real competition outside of Fitbit (FIT). Butthat may change in 2019.The combination of smartwatch sales growth, Apple’s ability to charge $399 andup for an Apple Watch, a growing interest from the health-care and health-insurance industries in health-tracking wearables, and a long-awaited newsmartwatch chip from Qualcomm open the doors for competition in 2019.Look for smartwatches equipped with Google’s Wear OS and Qualcomm’s SnapdragonWear 3100 processor to mount a challenge to the Apple Watch in 2019. Withsmartwatches moving from a novelty for the tech-obsessed to mainstream deviceswith the potential to tap into the lucrative health market, the stakes aresimply too high now to let Apple build an insurmountable lead.###

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