Cheddar Crystal Ball: Gadgets to Watch in 2019

December 13, 2018

By Chloe Aiello

2018 was a relatively quiet year for gadgets, but it brought us a few standouts ー and many teasers. This year produced the Instant Pot, the HomePod, and subsequently, the battle of the A.I.-powered home assistants. As 2018 draws to a close, we're keeping our eyes fixed firmly on the oh-so-shiny future.

CNET's Bridget Carey and Cheddar's Hope King gazed into Cheddar's Crystal Ball, and picked the top five gadget trends most likely to make an entrance in 2019.

Phones

The infamous notch became the scourge of the smartphone world in 2017 after the debut of the iPhone X made it popular for the wrong reasons. But manufacturers maintain the design is necessary for edge-to-edge screens ー so love it or hate it, expect to see more of the notch come 2019. The first foldable smartphones are also expected to debut next year ー Samsung's Galaxy version has been widely hyped. And Huawei is reportedly working on its own version. But don't hold your breath for 5G ー there will presumably be a lot of hype and not much substance. Some 5G phones will surface, but 5G network coverage will be limited to relatively few markets next year, CNBC reported, so it may not pay to be an early adopter.

Digital Assistants

Apple's ($APPL) Siri may have kicked off the A.I. assistant race, but it's bringing up the rear these days. And 2019 won't be much better for Siri. The battle between Amazon and Google is expected to heat up as smart assistant technology graduates from the speaker into televisions, microwaves, clocks, and more. Amazon began rolling out some of its new smart appliances, including its microwave, in 2018 ー and will continue into 2019.

Carey said the next expansion of the technology will be to other places in the home ー "without you having to buy extra little speakers everywhere."

Social Media

It's been a terrible year for Facebook ($FB) ー but 2019 might not be much better. Facebook is currently engaged in a charm offensive, trying to win its way back into users' hearts. In New York City's Bryant Park, it's even giving away hot chocolate and free hats.

"That's a sign of desperation of how things aren't going well," Carey said.

A recent poll by Axios, found that most Americans want tech regulation ー and many fear that when the government does intervene, it won't do nearly enough. Carey said she expects users will get more disgruntled in 2019, as they thirst for Facebook's replacement.

Google

In 2019, Google's going to do its best to avoid a similar fate to the one Facebook has suffered. Staying under the radar and out of the line of regulatory fire means being a little bit boring, focusing on gadgets, and following the rules ー no more skipping out on Congressional hearings. Carey said we will likely see some gadget innovations from Google ー like integrating its Google Home and Nest technologies.

Apple

New year, new Apple. In 2019, the technology giant is delving even more deeply into the health and wellness space. Patents, rumors, and teases have Apple enthusiasts psyched about a slew of new health tracking and biometric features ー like sleep tracking for the Apple Watch and AirPods. Carey said any AirPods updates likely won't come until 2020, as Apple "likes to take its time."

Read all the 2018 Cheddar Awards here.