2018 has ended, and we sure had a rollercoaster ride with all the news we covered here at YugaTech. We take a look at some of the biggest tech stories that made the headlines this year.
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An interesting year for the smartphone industry
Smartphones are slowly becoming boring, we admit, and we’ve seen quite a few numbers of unique designs and interesting features this year. We had phones that slide with a button (OPPO Find X), pop up as you need it (VIVO NEX) or just give you the freedom to slide as you please (Xiaomi Mi Mix 3). We have smartphones that are now focused for gaming (ASUS ROG Phone) or those that offer a good experience for a bang-for-the-buck SRP. There are also those that offer faster charging (OPPO’s VOOC, for instance, on the F9), more cameras at the back (Huawei P20 Pro, Samsung Galaxy A9 2018), and in-display fingerprint scanners (VIVO V11).
With that being said, smartphones are now becoming more powerful in the mid-range segment where the competition really is. We’ve seen new and old faces thrive this year — Xiaomi came back after years of hiatus and their presence is growing through a hybrid online-offline strategy, former OPPO sub-brand Realme arrives as an entry-level champion, and Pocophone became a hit with the masses with the F1.
We’re really excited to see what’s next with smartphones this year.
Transportation successes and fails
2018 is a whirlwind year for the transportation industry, especially for app-based TNVS services with its love-hate relationship with the LTFRB. Uber seemed to had enough and restructured its operations, so it decided to leave Southeast Asia by merging with its competition Grab. Angkas also got a fair share of the iron fist with the government agency as the latter seeks to stop the motorcycle hailing app’s operations, and even goes as far as reaching the Supreme Court.
Grab also had a very challenging year. Despite new features and services launched such as GrabTrike and GrabChat, it faced issues when rival taxi-hailing app MiCab accused them of organizing phantom bookings in June.
Several government agencies have sought to digitize some of its transactions in an effort to speed up its operations, including those from the LTO with online portals for plate checking, driver’s license and vehicle registration appointments, and even e-payment.
The country is also moving forward with Build, Build, Build programs launching one after the other: A Metro Manila subway is underway, Makati also gets their own by 2025, the MRT7 is due for completion in the next and the PNR is slowly being rehabilitated as its line gets extended in both directions. Private investments such as the BGC-Makati SkyTrain are closer to becoming a reality with the DOTr giving the nod.
Internet and Telecommunications
The telco industry is keeping its feet with a lot of surprises in order to keep its customers happy and retain the Social Media capital of the world moniker. There’s Converge who keeps on raising the standard for fiber optic connections, the announcement of Mislatel, the government-recognized third telco, and the existing Globe-Smart duopoly offering niche services such as Google Home and Air Fiber. This year is also the time where telcos race to offer 5G services, with PLDT-Smart activating theirs in Makati and Clark.
Other notable ISPs are the Velasco-led NOW Telecom who had launched its FTTA and 4G LTE services in the NCR. We hope that more competition will raise the quality of service and increase the 6.3Mbps average internet speed in the Philippines based on OpenSignal tests.
On the Internet side, it was a year for breaches — we saw what was Facebook’s biggest breach yet with over 750,000 users affected in the Philippines. Cathay Pacific and ABS-CBN’s online store were also not spared. We also saw big acquisitions such as FoxConn-Belkin, SmugMug-Flickr, Microsoft-Github, Razer-MOL Global, IBM-Red Hat, PhilStar-InterAksyon, and Apple-Shazam. YouTube was not spared as it went down for more than an hour, turning the world into a frenzy with the #YouTubeDown hashtag trending on social media sites.
New laws are also being introduced and existing policies are being reinforced in hopes to improve this sector. We saw the Senate OK the Lifetime Cellphone Bill, introduce a new Online Piracy bill, and the NTC just ordered the mandatory unlocking of devices after their lock-in period.
The mobile gaming master race is on
2018 is also a big year for gaming, with a few Esports titles getting the nod to be included in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Clark including Arena of Valor (AOV), Mobile Legends, and Tekken 7. Mobile games are the big winners with all the releases focusing to smartphones — PUBG, ROS, and even Ragnarok Mobile all had their share of successes in their own genres.
These are just some of the biggest stories we’ve covered this year, and we’re pretty sure that there are a lot more. What was this year’s biggest tech news for you? Drop your reactions in the comments section below.