Van Bryan here, Jeff Brown’s longtime managing editor. As Jeff has said, it’s been an incredible year for technology. 5G networks are going live across the country… Artificial intelligence is progressing faster than anybody predicted… And genetic editing technology is on the cusp of permanently curing thousands of diseases of genetic origin.
Recently, I took the opportunity to speak with Jeff about the biggest tech stories of 2019. I also wanted to learn what he sees coming down the road in 2020. Over the next five days, Jeff will share his biggest predictions for the new year.
I’ve worked with Jeff for years. And I can tell you that when Jeff makes a technology prediction, it pays to listen. So read on to see what you can expect from the world of bleeding-edge technology in 2020.
– Van Bryan
Van Bryan: Jeff, thanks for taking the time to recap the biggest stories of 2019 and to share your predictions for 2020.
Jeff Brown: Happy to do it.
Van: We’ll cover a few of our biggest themes over the next few days, but I think we have to start with 5G. When you look back at 2019, what 5G developments stand out to you?
Jeff: As a quick refresher, 5G is the next generation of wireless network technology. And as my longtime readers know, 5G will average speeds that are 100 times faster than 4G networks. 5G will also have incredibly low latency, or delay. And that makes it a game changer.
5G will enable much more than just fast download speeds on our mobile phones. Fleets of self-driving cars, robotic surgeons, even “commuting” via a hologram are all very possible with 5G networks.
I have been publishing research on 5G since all the way back in 2017. But 2019 was the first year where 5G began to get very “real” for a lot of people. That’s because as networks went live, users could witness 5G speeds for themselves.
In fact, our team had a chance to go on the ground and test an early 5G network. And we were able to confirm 5G speeds firsthand.
So that’s the first 5G development that stood out to me this year. We finally got to see 5G speeds for ourselves. The other big step for 5G was that we entered Phase Two of the network rollout.
Van: Could you remind readers what we mean by “Phase Two”?
Jeff: Wireless networks like 5G roll out in three phases. Phase One is infrastructure. That’s when the industry erects infrastructure needed to support the network. I’m talking about cell towers, routing equipment, and so on…
Phase Two is the devices phase. Once the infrastructure is in place, networks come online. And that’s when 5G-enabled devices begin going up for sale. We already have 10 5G devices available for purchase.
2019 marked the beginning of Phase Two, but 2020 is when it will kick into high gear. That brings me to my first 5G prediction for the new year.
Van: I’m sure the readers would be interested to hear it.
Jeff: My first 5G prediction for 2020 is that we will far exceed even the most optimistic projections for shipments of 5G devices. The current forecast is that there will be about 300 million 5G-enabled handsets sold. But that number is far too low. There will be a tidal wave of 5G phones sold. It will be the largest smartphone upgrade cycle in five years.
Van: What makes you so confident, Jeff?
Jeff: As I showed readers earlier this month, Apple reached out to its suppliers to increase its manufacturing numbers in preparation for the 5G-enabled iPhone launch, which we expect to come next September 2020.
Apple told suppliers that it now expects to ship more than 100 million 5G-enabled iPhones. That’s up from the company’s previous projection of 80 million 5G iPhones.
This tells us that demand for the 5G iPhone is exploding, even before the product is announced.
Many people think Apple dominates the smartphone space. But Apple’s smartphone market share is only 12–13% globally in any given quarter.
My point is that if Apple plans to sell 100 million 5G iPhones, how many 5G devices will Samsung, LG, Huawei, and the other big global manufacturers sell?
Mark my words. Sales of 5G phones will far surpass 300 million. There will be a tidal wave of 5G devices in 2020. I can’t wait to get my 5G-enabled phone…
Van: It will certainly be a big year for companies that produce 5G devices. But you said that was your first 5G prediction. Do you have others?
Jeff: I do.
In 2020, there will be a variety of 5G devices available. So consumers will be able to purchase high-end 5G devices from Apple or Samsung, but they’ll also have mid- to low-end devices that sell for $300 or $400. This is a great formula for widespread adoption.
And as more and more 5G networks come online, this will set the stage for Phase Three, the services phase. This is the phase of the network rollout when companies begin offering services that take advantage of 5G speeds. Think of things like virtual reality, self-driving taxi fleets, or holographic projection.
So that’s my next 5G prediction for 2020. We will enter Phase Three of the 5G rollout in 2020, most likely in Q4.
Van: Any idea what 5G services readers can look forward to first? We’ve covered augmented reality here in The Bleeding Edge. Will that be one of the first Phase 3 services?
Jeff: I do believe we will see at least one pair of 5G-powered augmented reality glasses before the next year is out. But I have a more interesting prediction.
In 2020, I believe we will see a company offer the world’s first virtual reality (VR) travel service.
Van: A virtual reality travel service? Could you break that down for us?
Jeff: I predict a company will allow consumers to put on a VR headset in the comfort of their own homes and be “teleported” into an autonomous vehicle on the other side of the world. The user will be immersed in a new environment. They will be able to explore and interact with their surroundings as if they were actually there.
So let’s imagine you’ve always wanted to explore the Australian Outback. But, of course, traveling there yourself can be expensive and time-consuming.
In this scenario, you put on a VR headset and are transported into a four-wheel ATV that’s outfitted with high-definition cameras. You’d take control of the vehicle and explore the Australian Outback from the comfort of your living room.
Or what if you wanted to tour the Roman Colosseum? You could be “teleported” into a drone and fly through the historic site yourself.
Or let’s use one more example. Let’s say you want to visit the Louvre in Paris. You put on a VR headset and are transported into a robot in the halls of the museum. You could explore all day without ever going to Paris.
And remember, this wouldn’t be like watching a tour of the Louvre on your television. Because it’s VR, it will be immersive. So you’ll turn your head left and the robot will look left. You look over your right shoulder to examine a painting, and the camera on the robotic device shows it to you as if you were really there.
I know this may seem like an “out there” prediction, but all the technology already exists. I suspect somebody will put the pieces together and offer this service before 2020 is over.
Van: Wow, we’ll certainly look for that next year. Thanks for sharing, Jeff.
Jeff: Of course, any time.
Van’s Note: Van here again. As Jeff said, 2020 will be the year that the 5G megatrend kicks into high gear. And the best way for investors to profit is by investing in companies that produce essential components for 5G devices. Jeff’s paid subscribers are already “locked and loaded” with the best-in-class Phase Two stocks. That includes Jeff’s No. 1 5G stock of 2020.
There’s still time to position yourself for the 5G boom. But don’t wait too long. As 5G devices hit the shelves in 2020, these stocks will move fast. Prepare yourself today with Jeff’s No. 1 5G stock of 2020. Details here.
And check your inbox tomorrow for our next installment in this series. Jeff will reveal his biggest predictions for artificial intelligence (AI) in the new year.
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