Today’s episode is on my favourite subject: hardware. There have been so, so many cool stories to come out of 2019, but I’ll narrow it down to just three. After all, brevity is the soul of wit.

First up, the chip war between Intel and AMD is on fire. 2019 saw Intel finally release its 10nm 10th-gen mobile processor, bringing with it a new core architecture and much-improved graphics. As everyone waited for Intel’s high-performance parts with bated breath, AMD dropped its 3rd-gen Ryzen and Threadripper processors featuring astonishing performance. While Intel is poised to dominate the mobile market, AMD’s desktop processors are earning glowing reviews and the favour of enthusiasts. With Intel set to ramp up 10nm chip production in 2020, expect even fiercer competition.

Next, Microsoft has released a Windows PC using an ARM system-on-chip, or SoC for short. The Surface Pro X – a tablet-like laptop with a detachable keyboard – uses the Microsoft SQ1 chip based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx processor. While they’re powerful and efficient, ARM processors are normally used for phones, not fully-fledged laptops. Although its integration is nowhere near perfect, Microsoft recommitting to ARM could spark a new breed of always-on devices with ultra-long battery life.

The last story is one that happened quite recently. Samsung became a supplier of 5G equipment in Canada. The South Korean technology company is one of the few end-to-end suppliers on the market and has worked extensively with Korea’s top telecom companies to deploy their 5G networks. Samsung’s first Canadian customer is Videotron, who will extend its service in Ottawa and Quebec. Samsung said it’s also open to working with anyone else who’s looking to expand their networks.

That’s it for today’s holiday episode of Hashtag Trending. Our special holiday episodes will run until January 1st, so come back tomorrow for more featured stores. Also, if you haven’t already, add us to your Alexa Flash briefings and your Google Home daily briefings. I’m Tom Li, thank you for listening.


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