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Foldable phones, Facebook takedowns, AI beating humans: Key dates in tech in 2019

This year, the tech world was all about 5G, dark mode, foldable phones, and on the more serious side, continuing issues on online disinformation and that big Huawei versus USA tussle. But just how exactly did 2019 roll out? Here we list the key dates from this year’s biggest headline makers, from consumer technology, social media, bugs, videogames, and everything in between:

JANUARY

6 – LG announces the Signature OLED TV R, a tv that rolls into a box, at CES 2019

19 – Cebuana Lhuillier data breach announced, affecting 900,000 subscribers

24 – Google's DeepMind AI beats pros in strategy game StarCraft II, a first. Later in April, AI achieves another first as OpenAIdefeats world champion team OG in Dota 2.

28 – Apple FaceTime bug discovered, which allowed callers to listen to the person being called even if they haven't answered yet

29 – Facebook discovered to be paying teens for access to phone activity with an app called "Facebook Research"

FEBRUARY

8 – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines' website goes down after a massive DDoS attacks, following a series of similar attacks on alternative media sites in December 2018. In March 2019, the targeted media groups file a civil case pertaining to the attacks.

18 – Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei speaks out for the first time since the arrest of her daughter in December 2018 and after US indictments on technology theft and trade sanctions violations in January. "There is no way the US can crush us," he said. The once-reclusive founder would regularly conduct interviews throughout the year.

19 – Elon Musk lands in hot water after a series of tweets that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deem to be a violation of trade rules.

20 – Samsung unveils its first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold. Samsung postponed its launch in April to fix screen issues, before releasing it later in the year.

24 – Huawei follows suit, revealing their own foldable, the Mate X on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2019. 5G phones star at the mobile event.

MARCH

10 – Philippine Dota 2 team, TNC Predator, wins their 2nd World Electronic Sport Games championship, netting them $500,000. It sparked the team's most lucrative year yet, winning more than $1.4 million in total.

10 – Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashes, the second Boeing 737 Max 8 plane to crash within 6 months. Investigators look at the plane's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, new automation technology that may have been partly to blame for the crashes.

13 – First beta of Android Q released. In August, Google reveals its official name, Android 10, ending the dessert-naming tradition for the mobile OS.

15 – The Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand happens; 50 die. The gunman tweets his hate manifesto on Twitter before the shooting, which he livestreams on Facebook. The videos are reshared online, and New Zealand questions the social platforms.

20 – Google is fined 1.5 billion euros for unfair advertising rules, one of the biggest fines for tech companies this year.

25 – ShadowHammer ASUS trojan reported. Kaspersky says than more than 57,000 users install the official ASUS update, which had been infected with the malware.

26 – Huawei P30 Pro unveiled, impresses with a super-zooming feature.

26 – EU reform in digital copyright law implemented. Under the reform, the platforms are now legally responsible for enforcing copyright amongst users.

29 – Lyft goes public, starting a string of IPOs in 2019 including Slack, Uber, and Pinterest

29 – Facebook takes down the fake account network of the Duterte campaign social media manager, Nic Gabunada, for "coordinated inauthentic behavior."

APRIL

4 – South Korea fires up its first commercial 5G network. The US follows a few hours later but both launch in limited capacity in their pursuit to be world's first.

4 – Jeff Bezos and then-wife Mackenzie reach the biggest divorce settlement ever, with Mackenzie receiving over $36 billion in shares.

9 – In Australia, the world's first drone delivery service is launched: Alphabet Wing. It was later launched in the US in October while consumers still wait for Amazon Prime Air to launch

23 – Oscar-giving body, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, rules in favor of Netflix: Netflix remains eligible for the awards, likely to the dismay of Steven Spielberg and the other anti-Netflix campaigners.

26 – The Innovative Startup Act is signed into law, which creates a Philippine Startup Development Program to help local startups and the startup ecosystem

MAY

20 – Google pulls out the Android license for Huawei after the US puts the Chinese company on a trade ban list. Other US companies trading with Huawei follow suit

21 - Sony scales down its phone business heavily, pulling out of many markets including the Philippines.

JUNE

10 – The Final Fantasy VII Remake steals the headlines at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 as it gets a release date: March 3, 2020

18 – Amid its data privacy controversies, Facebook announces its own cryptocurrency, Libra

20 – Globe launches its 1st 5G-powered service

27 – Apple announces departure of longtime design chief Jony Ive. Ive officially left later in November.

JULY

9 – WarnerMedia announces that Friends will be leaving Netflix for its own streaming service, HBO Max – unofficially signaling the start of the streaming wars as intellectual property owners set up their own video platforms including NBC, Warner, and Disney.

17 - EU launches antitrust probe on Amazon

24 – The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) slaps Facebook with $5B fine for privacy violations relating to a 2011 agreement between the company and the regulator

25 - Apple pays Intel $1B for its modem business in a bid to strengthen its phones' wireless technology capabilities

29 - Beauty retailer Sephora is hit by a data breach, affecting Filipino customers. Exposed were customers' first and last names, date of birth, gender, email address, encrypted password, and "data related to beauty preferences."

AUGUST

9 – Huawei announces the Harmony operating system. But Huawei insists it is not exactly an alternative to Android, and has said it would prefer to continue to use the Google OS.

19 – At Gamescom 2019, Minecraft RTX, a version of Minecraft rendered in today's most-hyped graphics technology, ray-tracing, gets rave reviews

SEPTEMBER

6 – The US FTC announces antitrust probe on Facebook, followed by a similar announcement for Google on the 9th

10 – Alibaba's Jack Ma officially steps down, a year after his announcement

11 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines signs controversial deal with Mislatel, which allows the telco to install equipment within military premises. Security concerns emerge as a Chinese telco is a key stakeholder at Mislatel.

11 – Apple launches the iPhone 11

16 -– WiFi 6 certification for devices begins

17 – Facebook reveals plans for Content Oversight Board. On December 12, they announce $130M funding for the board.

19 – Apple Arcade is launched

OCTOBER

1 – Call of Duty: Mobile is released, reaching a record 100 million downloads in its first week

2 – Singapore’s fake news law comes into effect but is criticized for its potential to be a tool that will stifle dissent

6 – 8-digit landline numbers take effect in the Philippines

8 – The next PlayStation, the PS5, gets a release window: holiday 2020. By then, it will be around 7 years since the PlayStation 4 came out – a very long period for consoles.

10 – A shooter kills 2 at synagogue in Germany. The shooting is livestreamed on videogame streaming platform Twitch for 35 minutes, and spread on other sites after.

14 – The virtual world of battle royale game Fortnite is sucked into a blackhole, in preparation for the game's next season. The event was the "most viewed gaming event on Twitter" says publisher Epic, with 42.8 million views and a peak of 1.4 million concurrent viewers.

17 – A fingerprint bug hits flagship Samsung phones that allows users to bypass fingerprint scanning by using certain silicone covers

24 – US senators call for probe of Chinese social video app TikTok for potential "national security risks," similar to allegations faced by other Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE

25 – Microsoft wins the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract over Amazon. It is worth $10 billion for 10 years with Microsoft tasked with setting up a system that allows all military branches to share information on an AI-assisted cloud platform.

NOVEMBER

1 – Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion but will reportedly be investigated by DOJ over antitrust concerns

14 – Paid YouTube subscription services, YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, arrive in the Philippines

18 – Grab Philippines is ordered to refund riders to the tune of P5 million

21 – Tesla's post-apocalyptic-looking, electric pick-up called the Cybertruck is announced

DECEMBER

3 – Sundar Pichai is named CEO at parent firm Alphabet, taking the helm from Google co-founder Larry Page

10 – The Philippines gets its 3rd and final gold from the inaugural esports competition at the SEA Games 2019. Caviar Acampado wins in StarCraft IIfollowing the country's earlier gold medal finishes in Dota 2 and Mobile Legends.

10 – Prior to their concert, U2's Bono announces blood delivery by drone service to launch in the Philippines in 2020

12 – Microsoft announces their next console, the Xbox Series X, about 2 months after the announcement of the PS5

– Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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