For me 2019 was the year of more convenience, incremental improvements and more affordable technology.
Best Value Smartphone of 2019
Most of the Ausdroid team has nominated the Pixel 3a as their best value phone, my choice is the Samsung A70. I’ve bought it for several family members this year who needed a good new phone but didn’t want to spend $1000+.
Both are great smart phones released in the first few months of 2019. Their screen resolution is similar, they both have a Qualcomm 67x series processor and AMOLED screen.
However I think the A70 is much better value for money because it has a 4500mah battery (50% bigger than the Pixel 3a), 128GB storage onboard (double the Pixel 3a), an ultrawide camera and normal camera (Pixel 3a doesn’t have an Ultrawide camera) and fast 25W charging (7W more than Pixel 3a).
At time of writing the Samsung A70 was on sale at Harvey Norman for $488 and the Pixel 3a for $588. Even if there wasn’t any sale on and they were both the same price I’d still buy the A70 if I smashed my phone and needed a new one.
Best New Android TV Apps for 2019
My best new apps for 2019 are the SBS on Demand and ABC iView apps for Android TV. Our family uses them several times a week. Thanks to Sony who should get credit for strongly encouraging all the Australian Free to Air TV channels to launch decent Android TV apps.
Most Useful Android Phone App of 2019
I couldn’t have guessed at the beginning of 2019 that when I woke up every day from November onward I’d need an app to tell me whether the air outside my home was so full of ash and dangerous smoke particles that I shouldn’t open any doors or windows.
Thankfully the AirVisual app is free and great quality.
Tap & Pay Spreads, Say Hi To Scan and Go as Well…
This was the year when tap & pay continued to take over from cash as Australia’s preferred way to pay for things in person with the ability to pay for public transport fares with a wearable or phone enabled in NSW and Victoria. Next year it might be possible to pay for ever more forms of transport with a Digital NSW Opal card.
Scan and go also made an appearance albeit on a small scale with Woolworths testing it in several of their Sydney stores. Combined with the increased popularity of self checkouts at retailers this is not a great time for people employed as a retail staff member.
Most Useful Smart Device for 2019
Since I live in an apartment I can’t install a traditional security system to alert me to suspicious situations e.g. if my front door opens when no one should be at home.
Thanks to the Mirabella Genio Wi-Fi door and window sensor you can monitor as many doors and windows as you want to at a low cost of $25 per sensor.
Most Disappointing Tech of 2019
My award for most disappointing technology of 2019 is for 5G use in mobile phones.
5G phones have great hardware specs but 5G has been hyped up far too much. Ironically one of the main issues is that Australia’s 4G networks are so good that there’s little perceptible difference using 5G for everyday tasks.
No one needs 5G in a mobile phone at present and the coverage area is so tiny that even if you do need it you probably won’t be within range of a 5G mobile phone tower.
It’s hard to guess what will be a big technology smash hit in 2020 but I think it’s safe to say that mid-range phones will continue to dominate phone sales because they offer more than enough features for most people and flagship high-end phones cost far too much in an era when people are getting little to no pay rises.