Review of my 2019 predictions

Time to look back on the 2019 predictions from 12 months ago…. how many of the predictions came true?

1. Foldable/ rollable and other-able screens

Galaxy Fold
The Samsung Galaxy Fold. The only commercial folding screen currently available.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was released in the first half of 2019 and is currently (at the end of December) available for sale. For the SIM-free (unlocked) version, it’s only £2,110 including VAT.

For context, the iPhone 11 (64Gb) is currently available for £729 on the same website.

Despite its name, the Motorola Razr 2019 is due for release in Q1 2020.

As for rollable, LG have shown prototypes, but there’s nothing for consumer sale quite yet.

Verdict – 5/10. We only have one folding screen available for sale at the end of 2019, and it costs much more than my Microsoft Surface Pro.

2. Citizen Data Science

I predicted that we’ll find data applications that won’t require a degree in data science to make sense of all their data. Nothing obvious is available yet, although I find Google Maps is becoming ever more personalised with its routing and recommendations.

There’s a great opportunity to present data back to users in a digestible way, providing valuable recommendations.

Verdict – 1/10. Other than Google, nothing seems obvious yet.

3. Megaportables (or, hypoportables)

I predicted “By the end of 2019 we’ll be plugging in our smartphone into a docking station at work to run a browser on a large, external screen with a keyboard and mouse.”

This is the type of product I was explaining:

A warning though – not all the customers seem to be particularly happy with their purchase.

Verdict – 2/10. I really believe this is the future for laptops, but it didn’t happen more than a couple of early prototypes this year.

4. A Financial firm to buy a crowdfunding platform

I said, “Expect to see one of the stock markets launch their own crowdfunding platform, or even buy one of the established ones.”

Verdict – 2/10. Nothing of the sort has happened.

5. Social media – a closing down Western one or a new Eastern one?

I had two social media predictions at the start of the year. The first was the crash of a Western platform, and the second was the rise of an Asian platform. Neither has really happened.

On the first prediction, Flickr is definitely in trouble (“Flickr—the world’s most-beloved, money-losing business—needs your help.”), but still operational (for the record, I’m a paying, premium member).

The star of 2019 has been TikTok, the Chinese social media platform, which has added more than 500 million users so far this year (Source: The Verge).

Verdict – 7/10. Some Western platforms are underperforming but still around, and Chinese TikTok has had a great year.

6. Greetings 5G

All the UK mobile operators are now offering 5G, with limited coverage around the country (and mainly confined to cities).

Verdict – 1/10. With all the talk of 5G enabling new IoT devices, it seems these devices will start being sold next year.

7. Open Banking apps open banking

There are a few apps that use Open Banking. They are all quite similar – bringing multiple accounts from different banks into a central place. Some offer round ups (such as Moneybox, which I mentioned in the prediction), but most offer recommendation on savings and credit cards.

Verdict – 9/10. There are several apps available, but they are all quite simple, and we want something more innovative!

8. Advanced battery technology

I was at least a year early on this prediction. At the end of 2019, several companies such as IBM, Toyota and others all announced research breakthroughs in several areas from Wifi to sand.

Verdict – 2/10. It’s still early days to wean us off our dependency on Lithium-Ion. Keep your charger handy. Perhaps it’s good for the environment that companies are focusing more on reducing power consumption rather than bigger batteries.

9. Autonomous cars arrive

In December, an autonomous, commercial lorry drove 2,800 miles from the US west to east coast in 41 hours. The lorry could have taken less than 41 hours, but there are federal rules requiring driving breaks. There was a (human) lorry driver onboard, just in case of an incident, but they were only needed for refuelling. That must have been a fun trip for them…

Verdict – 9/10. Autonomous vehicles are here to stay. It’s much easier for them to be autonomous on motorways than side streets, where humans walk across the road. In the future it’s possible that motorways will become exclusively for autonomous vehicle use.

10. Ghost restaurants become normal

Note: During the year, ghost restaurants were known more commonly as “Dark kitchens” – probably because of the term dark warehouses which are robotically controlled. However, dark kitchens do have people in, so it’s a confusing term.

At the start of the year I predicted “By the end of 2019, ghost restaurants will be a common term, just like the term “online shop” became five years ago. And I’ll offer bonus points if some of the restaurant chains we use today, become ghost restaurants by the end of the year.

Starting with the bonus part first – McDonald’s opened its first UK ghost kitchen that only provides deliveries. Uber Eats has over 5,000 ghost restaurants globally.

The delivery market is now consolidating, with a bidding war between Naspers and for Just Eat.

Verdict – 10/10. Ghost restaurants became normal in 2019.

Summary of 2019 predictions

That’s a total score of 48 out of 100. Although that’s my worst result of all time, the predictions were more daring last year.

I’ll be announcing my 2020 predictions in the next few days.

I wish you, your friends and family, a very happy and healthy 2020.

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