Updated: 03/06/2020 by Computer Hope
Computer and technology-related events in 2020
On January 1, U.S. retailers, including Walmart, added a “do not sell my info” option to online customers, complying with the CCPA, a new consumer protection law in California. The law grants consumers the right to opt out of the sale of their private information by companies with whom they conduct online transactions.
On January 6, Amazon announced that its Fire TV video streaming devices exceeded 40 million global active users.
On January 14, Windows 7 reached EOL (end-of-life). On this date, Microsoft ceased providing any support or security updates for Windows 7, and strongly advised users to upgrade to Windows 10.
On January 14, Microsoft issued an urgent security update for Windows 8 and Windows 10 operating systems, patching a severe security vulnerability discovered by the NSA. The vulnerability allowed third parties to forge digital certificates, and improperly validate malicious software on a Windows computer.
On January 16, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, joined the “four-comma club,” achieving a market valuation over $1 trillion. The other two members of the club at the time were Apple ($1.3 trillion) and Microsoft ($1.2 trillion). The next closest company, Amazon ($930 billion), briefly joined the club in 2018.
On January 21, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, revealed that his personal smartphone was hacked. The revelation spotlighted the severity of security vulnerabilities in mobile devices.
On January 29, Facebook agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois regarding facial recognition data collected from users without their consent.
On January 29, 2020, WireGuard was accepted by Linus Torvalds for inclusion in the Linux kernel, marking an important milestone for the software.
In early February, the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in China caused significant disruption to the worldwide technology industry. Google announced the temporary closure of all offices in mainland China, and all Apple stores in China were closed indefinitely. Companies including Qualcomm, Nintendo, and Facebook Oculus announced major losses in production from their factories located in China. The Chinese government reported a 50% decrease in smartphone sales.
On February 3, an app commissioned by the U.S. Democratic party failed to properly report votes in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. The backup system of two dozen telephone volunteers was massively overwhelmed, and the results of the voting were not made official for several days. The failure of the app drew widespread criticism, and renewed doubts about the reliability of digital voting machines in public elections.
On February 4, Twitter announced a commitment to detect and label deepfakes, and other deceptive media, on its social media platform.
On February 7, a major Android vulnerability was announced (CVE-2020-0022). The flaw allows a nearby attacker to completely take over any mobile device running Android versions 8 or 9 with Bluetooth enabled. Although Android 10 is not affected by this vulnerability, versions 7 and below may be susceptible.
On March 3, UC Berkeley announced the indefinite hiatus of the [email protected] project, which used volunteer computing to search for extraterrestrial life. However, data continues to be processed on the university’s computers.
New computer products and services introduced in 2020
On January 5, Samsung announced the Q950TS, a bezel-free 8K QLED Smart TV, at CES.
On January 6, Lenovo announced the Yoga 5G, a 5G-capable laptop, at CES.
On January 8, AMD announced the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X CPU, featuring 64 cores (or 128 logical cores with hyper-threading enabled) for $3990, at CES.
On January 8, founders Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg announced video streaming service Quibi (pronounced “KWIH-bee,” short for “quick bites”), at CES. Planned for launch on April 6, it offers short-form scripted content that “fits into any moment of your day,” created specifically to be viewed on smartphones. The subscription service costs $4.99/month with advertisements, or $7.99/month without ads.
On February 11, Samsung unveiled three new smartphones at the Unpacked keynote. The Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra were entries in the Galaxy S series, following the release of the Galaxy S10 in 2019. Also, a foldable phone called the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip was introduced. The Z Flip features a horizontal hinge behind a folding glass screen, allowing the full-sized phone to fold to half its size. The design represents the next iteration of Samsung’s foldable screen designs, following 2019’s Galaxy Fold.
Computer pioneer deaths in 2020
Larry Tesler passed away on February 16, 2020 (Age: 74).