Once again we return with our winners and losers of the week just gone in the world of tech. For me personally, the last seven days felt a bit like a hangover from CES 2020, yet there were still some developments that caught my eye. There was good news for fans of high refresh rate displays, and bad news for the E3 trade event.
It's always a bit of a slow news week the week after a major trade show such as CES. Manufacturers tend to get out ahead of these big events in the tech calendar, rather than just behind them. Not a great week to bury bad news then, and that's where we start this week with a special mention for Windows 7. Microsoft officially ended support for the ultra-popular Windows 7 this week, meaning that the millions of PCs still running it could be vulnerable to security exploits and hacks. Microsft has been trying to get users to move to Windows 10 for years, and spent most of 2019 notifying Windows 7 users that this was coming. Still, we bid farewell to one of the most popular versions of Windows ever this week after 10 years of service, and that's worth a mention.
Winner of the week: lovers of high refresh rate displays
I have written pretty extensively on this website about my love for the 90Hz display technology we saw come to the smartphone market in the second half of 2019. After first appearing on the OnePlus 7 Pro seven months ago now, we've seen 90Hz displays on both the OnePlus 7T Pro and Google Pixel 4 phones since. I fell in love with 90Hz when testing the OnePlus 7T Pro and today still force my Pixel 4 to work only at this high refresh, despite it destroying my battery life.
The good news for fans of silky-smooth displays like me then is that we are about to see a wave of smartphones that offer not only 90Hz displays but also 120Hz. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has already confirmed that the brand's next smartphone, which we can assume is the OnePlus 8, will have a 120Hz display and that it will be "the best smartphone display in 2020." The company is using a custom MEMC (motion estimation/motion compensation) chip to pull this off.
If you’ve seen high-quality TVs, you’re no stranger to MEMC. We’ve created a custom MEMC chip that can push ordinary 30fps video up to 120, so any video gets the full advantage of our 120Hz Fluid Display. pic.twitter.com/YPD3fw5uOn— Pete Lau (@PeteLau) January 16, 2020
Samsung might have something to say about that "best display of 2020 boast" though, because all signs point towards the South Korean manufacturer bringing a 120Hz display to the Galaxy S20 line next month. In the case of Samsung, I am particularly excited to see what they can do. Samsung has built a justified reputation for making the best displays in the business, and the jump to 120Hz could really be something special.
How long will it be before Sony, LG, Xiaomi, OPPO and Apple join the 120Hz party? Hopefully not too long. The future is high refresh rate displays, and that's great news.
Loser of the week: that E3 sure ain't what it used to be
This week Sony announced that it was skipping E3 for the second year in a row. The news itself is not earth-shattering, but the continued snub of both Sony and Nintendo on what used to be one of the most important video game conferences of the year is indicative of a wider trend. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, to give it its full name, is becoming less and less of a showcase for the biggest and best gaming announcements.
Microsoft announced its new Xbox Series X console ahead of E3 at the Game Awards at the start of the year, and Nintendo has been doing its own pre-recorded presentations titled Nintendo Direct for a few years now. Microsoft will still be at E3 this year, and we can expect to hear more details about the Xbox Series X, but one thing is for sure, Sony will not be on stage to show off its upcoming PlayStation 5 console.
Our team is hard at work on E3, we look forward to sharing with all who love to play what's ahead for us. Our artform has consistently been propelled by the cross-section of creativity and technical progress. 2020 is a milestone year in that journey for Team Xbox. #XboxE3 #E32020— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 14, 2020
Sony will still have a presence at E3, of course, with game developers and publishers showing off PlayStation games at their own keynote events, but the biggest players in gaming are turning their backs on the hustle and bustle of E3 to create their own, more direct methods of marketing in a bid to increase engagement and stand out from the noise of the big shows.
Who were your winners and losers of the week just gone? Share your picks below the line.