ABI: Tech Trends That Won't Be in 2020

(Image credit: ABI)

Here are some tech trends you shouldn't be watching for in 2020, including the promise of 8K, which will be trumped by the reality of 4K. 

That is according to tech consultant ABI Research in a new white paper on "54 Tech Trends to Watch in 2020," which also includes a large handful of things that ABI predicts, despite their buzz, "won't happen in the year ahead." 

"The year 2020 will not be the year of 8K TV's, ABI predicts, but instead the year of the continued rollout of 4K. 

It said CES will certainly showcase a bunch of 8K sets and the price will go down. But while streamed coverage of the 2020 Olympics is a potential driver of 8K set sales, broadcast 8K will likely to be confined to Japan and, with still not much 8K content available generally, adoption of the technology will remain limited, ABI predicts, with price also a limiting factor given the current low end range of a couple thousand dollars for an 8K set. By contrast, 4K sets are now affordable "for most consumers" (a 50 inch Sumsung 4K set is $279 at Best Buy. 

Bottom line, says ABI, the transition from HD to ultra-HD (4K) will continue, but 8K will be limited, with a predicted less than 1 million sets shipped worldwide in 2020. 

“Announcements of 8K Television (TV) sets by major vendors earlier in 2019 attracted much attention and raised many of questions within the industry,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, Video & Cloud Services Analyst at ABI Research, in the report. “The fact is, 8K content is not available and the price of 8K TV sets are exorbitant." 

Among the other things it says won't be happening are consolidation of the IoT market, 5G wearables, a glide path to consumer 5G, and edge data services overtaking the cloud. 

Dan Shey, VP at ABI, said talk of consolidation in the IoT platform market is highly overrated. “The simple reason is that there are more than 100 companies that offer device-to-cloud IoT platform services and for every one that is acquired, there are always new ones that come to market," he said.

“While smartphones will dominate the 5G market in 2020, 5G wearables won’t arrive in 2020, or anytime soon,” said ABI analyst Stephanie Tomsett. “To bring 5G to wearables, specific 5G chipsets will need to be designed [and haven't been, said ABI] and components will need to be reconfigured to fit in the small form factor. That won’t begin to happen until 2024, at the earliest.”

On the 5G consumer front, it points to the high cost of "densifying" networks "without clear new revenue opportunities, because 5G is typically sold at the same price as 4G." But it does seen compromise technologies, particularly dynamic spectrum sharing, as being a bright spot since it allows 4G and 5G to run on the same frequency band, limiting the need to densify and thus lower build-out costs.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.