Another year is behind us, and what a year in tech is it has been. As we take stock of 2019 and look forward to a new decade, we've been discussing our New Year's Resolutions in the NextPit office. Here are the pick of the resolutions we'll be making for 2020.
1. Resist the $1,000 smartphone
Wave after wave of new smartphones. That's been my general feeling towards the year just gone. The reasons for this, are clear. The smartphone market is saturated, people are holding onto devices for longer, and true innovation is becoming more difficult for manufacturers to achieve. We've dipped our toes into the future this year, with 5G and a new, foldable form factor, but the truth is 2019 has been the year of the $1,000+ flagship. And there's been plenty of them.
It is true that many readers comment under articles on this website that $1,000 is a crazy amount to spend on a new smartphone that will be out of date in six months, and out of updates in two to three years. I agree with you. The other side to this has been the growing improvement of the mid-range and entry-level devices this year. What you can now buy for $200 to $300 is remarkable.
Sure, those pricey flagships are fantastic devices but the truth is that the reason most people end up with one is because of flashy marketing. In 2020, it's time to break free from the 24-month carrier cycle. Break free from needing to have the latest version of that Samsung, Apple or OnePlus phone. Spend sensibly, or better don't spend at all and use the phone you own right now.
2. Take digital detoxing seriously
Last year was meant to be the year of Digital Wellbeing. Blighted by privacy scandals and growing studies on smartphone addiction, the manufacturers decided it was about time they gave us some tools to help us abstain from the very thing they designed to keep us hooked. Google has perhaps gone to the greatest lengths in this area. Some of its latest efforts include a Post Box feature that will deliver notifications about as regularly as the postman delivers your mail, as well as a printable, paper phone that you can use for a whole day in place of your regular one.
We've also seen the launch of additional tech devices designed to help us use our other tech devices less. I'm talking about the Palm phone - which I still want - and the Light Phone 2. Efforts like these are noble, but essentially fruitless. This idea that tech can help us abstain from using tech, feels a bit like the pub landlord offering you a large whiskey to cure your hangover.
The only true way to digitally detox is to put down your phone, turn off your tablet, and take a break from the internet for a while. Having dinner with friends and loved ones? Leave your phone in another room. And never take your phone to bed with you. Don't just pretend to do it this year, do it!
3. Be more climate-conscious
There are lots of ways you can do your bit to help the environment and the way we consume technology products is just one of them. Holding onto devices for longer and resisting the urge to upgrade if it is not necessary is one way, but also disposing of your old gadgets in a way that is environmentally friendly is also important. You can find out how to do that in the article below:
But being climate-conscious has to part of everything you do for it to work. Printing off another boarding pass? Why? Download the airline's app and use a QR code instead. Before you order that product on Amazon, think about the amount of waste packaging the company is going to use to send it to you. Is there a better way to acquire it? California is on fire, and Venice is underwater. There's no running away from this anymore.
4. Change your passwords
Depending on where you live in the world, February 1st in the official Change Your Password Day. It seems like such a simple piece of advice, but it's incredible how few actually regularly change their passwords and still use the same one for multiple accounts from banking to social media.
In 2020, it's time to make a change. With the number of data leaks and hacks we experienced in 2019, there really is no excuse for not changing your password regularly. It may be easier to remember a single password, but there are lots of ways you can offset the stress of having to remember several complex combinations of letters, numbers, and characters these days. Use Google's own password manager or download something like LastPass and start this new decade by protecting yourself better.
5. Be nicer to people on the Internet
Social media and online forums can be toxic places. This has never been more prevalent than today. It's not just politics that cause people to attack each other under the relative anonymity of online social spaces, but people are getting angsty about just about everything, including tech releases.
Start 2020 with a resolution to be nicer to people online. You can voice strong opinions, but do it in the right way. Personal attacks and insulting language are just not on anymore. Don't be a d**k under our articles, on Twitter, or on Facebook or any other social media platform. Work out the true source of your anger and seek help if you need to. Kindness is magic, and we could all use a little more of that in our worlds.
What are your New Year's Resolutions for 2020? Let us know in the comments section below - and be nice!