To say that the very first full week of 2021 was an eventful one would be an understatement. I am sure everyone by now is aware of what happened at the US Capitol. In plain-sight, while it might have not to do anything with NextPit’s area of expertise - tech - questions are already being raised and fingers being pointed at platforms like Twitter, Facebook and even Twitch for acting as enablers for the chain of the events that occurred there.
Anyway, as important as it is, discussing what happened there goes beyond the scope of what we usually do here at NextPit. But our French Editor Antoine did express his opinion in an article (French) here in case you are interested.
Talking of editors, it was a bittersweet week for us, the staff here at NextPit who bid farewell to Julia Froolyks, our German editor. At the same time, we were also excited to announce a new addition to the team in the form of Carsten Drees (Casi) - who joined as our new Editor for Germany.
With everyone back from their two-week-long vacation, things have started looking normal for us tech journalists. Suddenly there seems to be a lot more tech news to cover, and things are only going to get busier for us with CES kicking off next week. So, before we talk about the winners and losers of this week, here’s a brief roundup of what happened in the last seven days.
We start off with Samsung who officially sent out invites and teasers for possibly the most awaited launch of 2021 - the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Apart from a possible resurgence of Exynos, there is a lot in stake for Samsung with this launch. We will also possibly know the direction Samsung’s flagship lineup will take once we have complete details about the Galaxy S21 lineup next week.
It was a busy week for Xiaomi as well, which announced and subsequently launched multiple products across the globe. For Europe, this week saw the launch of the Redmi Note 9T and its little brother – the Redmi 9T. The former is Xiaomi’s first attempt at an affordable 5G smartphone for the western market. This week also saw Xiaomi launch another smartphone called the Mi 10i in India. In typical Redmi fashion, this is just a rebranded version of the Redmi Note 9 Pro 5G or the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite.
In a positive development of sorts, this week also saw Google silently comply with Apple’s requirements for the app store. OnePlus was also in the news with the company reportedly aiming to launch its smart band and smartwatch lineup in the not too distant future.
Winner of the week: Honor, who is in talks with Qualcomm
Chinese smartphone brand Honor is our Winner for this week because the company seems to have arrived at some sort of deal with chipmaker Qualcomm. The former Huawei sub-brand is aiming for a comeback now that it is out of the dreaded entity list. With the Trump administration on its way out in the next few weeks, things look rosy for the company.
Whether Honor does manage to reach its target of 100 million smartphone shipments in 2021 is something we will need to see to believe. But remember that we are talking about a Chinese smartphone brand here and with a population of 1.4 billion patriotic people, 100 million units is an achievable number. We won’t be surprised, therefore, if Honor does, indeed manage to ship 100 million smartphones this year.
Loser of the week: WhatsApp for going back on its promise
Our loser for this week has to be WhatsApp. The company recently updated the terms and conditions for all its users (save for the ones living in the EU). Per the new terms, WhatsApp will now share user data with its parent company, Facebook. For anyone living outside of the EU, there is no way to opt-out of this and continue using WhatsApp. Many users have already announced their plans to move to other platforms like Telegram and Signal.
What makes this decision even more appalling is the fact that this is in direct contrast to WhatsApp’s famous 2014 blog post wherein it reiterated how WhatsApp will remain autonomous and that it will operate independently of FaceBook
Well, that was more than half a decade ago, and this is perhaps the new normal.
Anyway, I hope you had a great start to 2021, and we hope to bring you more tidbits from the world of tech next week. Trust me; it’s going to be a busy one for us with both CES and the Galaxy S21 launch taking place.