The Morning After: Our favorite gadgets of 2020

Google's Home Max is gone, Pornhub is different and there's a sliding phone concept you should see.

We’re approaching the end of the longest year (in my life), and the Engadget team has taken a look at the gadgets and tech that made their 2020.


This year introduced a lot of us to the concept of working from home all the time, so I’m not shocked to see keyboards and desks feature alongside the latest phones and next-gen consoles. By the way, when do we stop calling the new Xbox and PlayStation ‘next-gen’?

— Mat Smith

Google retired its Home Max smart speaker


Google Home Max

In 2017, Google launched the Home Max for $399, and while it was a fine speaker that plugged into the Assistant ecosystem, that price was enough to have many of us looking elsewhere. Now, it’s gone as Google has sold remaining units in its store for $180 and is no longer manufacturing the device. If you own one, you can expect support to continue just like it has for the original Google Home, but if you didn’t bite on a sale then something like the newer Nest Audio is an alternative.
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iOS 14.3 adds support for AirPods Max and Fitness+

The fitness service is now live.

Apple Fitness+

Apple has rolled out iOS 14.3 with support for Fitness+, AirPods Max, App Store privacy labels and much more. The Apple Watch-powered Fitness+ service (priced at $10/month) is now live in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the US. The update also adds support for the new AirPods Max headphones, announced last week.

Those might be the headline features but there are more less-glamorous features, too. Apple now requires developers to submit information on how they handle privacy along with each update or new app, and its new privacy labels are on iOS — if  apps have been updated in time. Live, too, is Apple’s ProRaw image format, and iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max owners can capture images in the new format and edit those in the Photos app.

On top of that, the Health app's menstrual cycle tracker offers the option for users to indicate pregnancy, contraceptive use or lactation, while Weather and Siri provide air quality health recommendations at certain levels in the US, UK, Germany, India and Mexico. Phew — it’s a lot for a minor update.
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Pornhub removes millions of unverified videos

Everything available on the site is now from a verified user or content partner.

So what happened after Mastercard and Visa cut off payments to Pornhub? Overnight, the former tube site removed all unverified videos from its platform — and, according to Vice, the site will start reviewing and verifying that videos meet its “trust and safety policy.”
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Oppo and Nendo's 'slide-phone' concept unfolds into three screen sizes

The future is… this?

Oppo / Nendo concept

According to Oppo, the trend towards larger smartphone screens is a growing concern for users, in part because it makes devices "difficult to hold and less convenient.” This slide-phone could prove to be a solid blend of functionality and convenience.

On opening the first segment, you see the clock and your notifications. Another segment, and you're in selfie mode. Unfold the device all the way, and it's suddenly a widescreen display that could be useful for gaming, watching movies or multitasking. There’s no indication (yet) that this will arrive as a real device, but stranger things have happened (we’re talking about the LG Wing).
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Apple Watch can warn if your cardio fitness isn’t great

You can check on your levels in the Health app.

Apple Watch

Apple briefly mentioned prompts for your heart health in September when it revealed the Apple Watch Series 6, but we haven’t heard much about it until now. With watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3, you can check on your cardio fitness level on your iPhone, while your Apple Watch will prod you if your fitness levels drop to a low level.

According to Apple, the Watch will use multiple sensors, such as the optical heart sensor, GPS and the accelerometer, to estimate lower levels of cardio fitness as users simply walk around.
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Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will collaborate to make gaming safer

This includes efforts to fight hate and harassment.

Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have outlined a set of common principles for safer gaming, particularly aimed at younger players.

The three companies have promised to offer prevention tools like customization, easy-to-use safety tools, codes of conduct and systems that prevent abuse before it happens. The companies also vowed to work with government, law enforcement and industry partners (such as ratings boards) to improve safety on its gaming platforms.

It’s a nice move to see, but there isn’t much mention of gambling, in-app purchases or loot boxes, which seems like a particularly notable blindspot.
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But wait, there’s more...

The 44mm Apple Watch SE reaches a new all-time low on Amazon

Google's Nest Hub Max now makes Zoom video calls

The new 'Mortal Kombat' movie reaches theaters and HBO Max on April 16th

Apple reportedly killed a TV+ show about Gawker after a Tim Cook email

CD Projekt Red addresses ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ problems on PS4 and Xbox One

Alexa can translate conversations in real-time on Echo devices

Gmail, YouTube and more went down in major Google outage on Monday morning

'Fortnite' performance mode brings 60 fps gameplay to more PCs

Ubisoft’s game subscription service is available through Google Stadia

Amazon's Zoox shows off its first autonomous robotaxi

'Outside the Wire' teaser shows Anthony Mackie as a cyborg soldier

Strange exoplanet discovery makes a case for the elusive 'Planet Nine'