Computer history - 2020

Updated: 04/09/2024 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 2020

Coronavirus in China

In early February 2020, 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 from their factories in China. The Chinese government reported a 50% decrease in smartphone sales. The outbreak also demonstrated the digital divide around the world for students and workers who were unable to work remotely.

AMD announced it would buy Xilinx for $35 billion on October 27, 2020.

2020 computer and technology top terms

The following are some top computer and technology-related terms in alphabetical order that were introduced or popularized in 2020.

New computer products and services introduced in 2020

Samsung logo

On January 5, 2020, Samsung announced the Q950TS, a bezel-free 8K QLED (Quantum-dot Light Emitting Diode) Smart TV, at CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

On January 6, 2020, Lenovo announced the Yoga 5G, a 5G-capable laptop, at CES.

Ryzen Threadripper logo

On January 8, 2020, AMD announced the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X CPU (Central Processing Unit), featuring 64 cores (or 128 logical cores with hyper-threading enabled) for $3990 at CES.

On January 8, 2020, founders Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg announced the 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.

Galaxy Z Flip

On February 11, 2020, 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 Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra were also released in 2020.

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.

The cryptocurrency Solana was released in March 2020.

HBO introduced the HBO Max streaming service in May 2020.

In June 2020, Twitter introduced Twitter Spaces.

DDR5, the fifth generation of DDR (Double Data Rate) memory, was released on July 14, 2020.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in August 2020.

Google released the Pixel 4a on August 20, 2020.

Android version 11 was released on September 8, 2020.

Ubisoft announced the rebranding of its Uplay client and service as Ubisoft Connect in October 2020.

Google released the Pixel 5 on October 15, 2020.

Apple released the iPhone 12 on October 23, 2020.

RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claim on October 23, 2020, arguing that YouTube-dl was only used for piracy and forcing GitHub to disable all YouTube-dl repositories. GitHub reinstated YouTube-dl on November 16.

Zen 3 was released on November 5, 2020.

On November 10, 2020, Apple launched the M1, an ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) SoC (System on a Chip) to be the CPU in its next-generation computers. The first computers to use the M1 were the 2020 MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and 13-inch MacBook Pro models. The development marked Apple's departure from Intel CPUs, which had been used in Apple computers since January 2006.

The Xbox Series was released on November 10, 2020. Much like the Xbox One, the Xbox Series also came in two variants, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.

Apple macOS 11, code-named Big Sur, was released on November 12, 2020.

The OnePlus Nord, OnePlus 8, 8 Pro, and 8T smartphones were released in 2020.

Dell released the XPS 8940 in 2020.

The cryptocurrency Solana was released in 2020 by the Solana Labs project.

Computer and technology-related events in 2020

Amazon Fire TV

On January 1, 2020, 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 selling their private information to companies they conduct online transactions.

On January 6, 2020, Amazon announced that its Fire TV video streaming devices exceeded 40 million users globally.

On January 14, 2020, Windows 7 reached EOL (End-Of-Life). On this date, Microsoft stopped providing any support or security updates for Windows 7 and strongly advised users to upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft logo

On January 14, 2020, Microsoft issued an urgent security update for Windows 8 and Windows 10 operating systems, patching a severe security vulnerability discovered by the NSA (National Security Agency). The vulnerability allowed third parties to forge digital certificates and improperly validate malicious software on a Windows computer.

Google logo

On January 16, 2020, Alphabet, Google's parent company, joined the "four-comma club," achieving a market valuation of over $1 trillion. The other two club members 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, 2020, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, revealed that his smartphone was hacked. The revelation spotlighted the severity of security vulnerabilities in mobile devices.

On January 22, 2020, the Microsoft Internet Games service ended for Windows 7.

On January 29, 2020, 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.

Microsoft released a new version of the Microsoft Edge browser in January 2020. The new version was based on Chromium, which is more lightweight than the original Microsoft Edge browser and similar to Google Chrome.

On February 3, 2020, an app commissioned by the U.S. Democratic party failed to report votes in the Iowa Democratic caucuses properly. The backup system of two dozen telephone volunteers was massively overwhelmed, and the voting results were not made official for several days. The app's failure drew widespread criticism and renewed doubts about the reliability of digital voting machines in public elections.

Twitter bird logo

On February 4, 2020, Twitter announced a commitment to detect and label deepfakes and other deceptive media on its social media platform.

On February 7, 2020, a major Android vulnerability was announced (CVE-2020-0022). The flaw allowed a nearby attacker to completely take over any mobile device running Android versions 8 or 9 with Bluetooth enabled. Although Android 10 was not affected by this vulnerability, versions 7 and below may be susceptible.

On March 3, 2020, UC Berkeley announced the indefinite hiatus of the SETI@home project, which used volunteer computing to search for extraterrestrial life. However, data continues to be processed on the university's computers.

On March 12, 2020, Twitter announced that all of its employees working remotely from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be allowed to do so indefinitely.

On April 24, 2020, Apple released a revamped version of the original iPhone SE. It features an A13 Bionic processor, a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, and Touch ID. In contrast to the dual or triple cameras on previous iPhone models, it had a single, 12-megapixel camera.

Americas Food Fund started a GoFundMe in April 2020 to help ensure everyone had reliable access to food. The fundraiser raised $45,155,500, the largest fundraiser in GoFundMe's history.

On June 26, 2020, the India Government banned TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat, and other Chinese apps.

On July 15, 2020, a hacker used social engineering to access a Twitter employee account that gave them access to all accounts where they interacted with 130 accounts. For 45 accounts, the hacker sent a tweet promoting a cryptocurrency scam. Some people and companies on Twitter affected include Apple, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, and Uber.

The iOS and Android clients of Fortnite Battle Royale were removed from the app stores on August 13, 2020, after Epic changed how V-bucks were purchased.

Sony introduced the PlayStation 5 on November 12, 2020.

Computer company events in 2020

Enghouse Systems announced on January 2, 2020, that it purchased Dialogic's software business for approximately $52.0 billion.

Essential Products went out of business on February 12, 2020.

On February 26, 2020, the startup Clearview AI (Artificial Intelligence) announced that the 3 billion pictures of people it copied from the Internet had been stolen in a data breach.

The social audio platform Clubhouse was launched in March 2020.

In March 2020, iXsystems announced they were combining the FreeNAS and TrueNAS operating systems.

T-Mobile completed the $26.5 billion merger with Sprint on April 1, 2020.

In April 2020, NVIDIA acquired Mellanox.

In May 2020, Giphy was purchased by Facebook.

Private equity firm Blackstone announced it would acquire a majority stake in Ancestry, an online family history business, for $4.7 billion.

In August 2020, Dasan Zhone Solutions rebranded as DZS.

Announced on September 21, 2020, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media and its game publisher Bethesda Softworks.

Newegg relaunched its ABS brand on October 1, 2020, to focus on gaming hardware.

Red Ventures officially acquired CNET Media Group and GameSpot on October 30, 2020.

SingleStore renamed its MemSQL product to SingleStore in October 2020.

On December 1, 2020, Salesforce signed an agreement to acquire Slack for approximately $27.7 billion.

NortonLifeLock purchased Avira for $180 million in December 2020.

Quanmax consolidated into Kontron in 2020.

Redpine Signals connectivity department, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth products, its development center in Hyderabad, and its patent portfolio, was acquired by Silicon Labs in 2020.

Venmo added an option to create a business profile linked to your account.

Security breaches and leaks in 2020

On December 8, 2020, FireEye disclosed that hackers had breached its secure systems. The security breach was traced to the network infrastructure software Orion, developed by SolarWinds. Approximately 500 companies and government organizations were compromised in the attack, which was believed to have been launched by Russian intelligence.

Computer-related TV shows and movies released in 2020

The Feels Good Man documentary, released in 2020, documents Matt Furie's attempts to regain control over Pepe the Frog.

The Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchains and the Future of the Internet documentary was released in 2020, where Torsten Hoffmann revisits the bitcoin and blockchain industry and its new promise.

Discontinued products and services in 2020

The virus protection software for Windows 7 and Windows 8 known as MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) was discontinued on January 14, 2020, and replaced by Microsoft Defender in Windows 8.

On February 14, 2020, the HQ mobile app company sent a memo to staff indicating the company would cease operations.

NEC sold 66% of its shares to Sharp to become a joint venture on March 25, 2020. terminated its service on April 28, 2020.

On June 22, 2020, Microsoft announced that the Mixer service would be shut down and that it would be merged into Facebook Gaming.

BitMinter halted mining on July 1, 2020.

In September 2020, Google shut down Google Play Music, as its features and content were moved to YouTube Music.

On October 21, 2020, six months after its introduction, Quibi announced it would end the service.

Adobe ended its support for Adobe Flash on December 31, 2020.

Google ended its support of its Google Cloud Print service (a cloud printing solution) on December 31, 2020.

Computer pioneer deaths in 2020

Lawrence (Larry) Gordon Tesler

Larry Tesler passed away on February 16, 2020 (Age: 74).

John Conway passed away on April 11, 2020 (Age: 82).

William English passed away on July 26, 2020 (Age: 91).

Frances Allen passed away on August 4, 2020 (Age: 88).

Tony Hsieh passed away on November 27, 2020 (Age: 46)

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