By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Co.

To put it simply, 2020 was tough. More than ever, this year we turned to our personal technology to find peace of mind, stay healthy, and connect with the people we care about.

Video chat apps like Webex and Google Meet became important work tools. After fitness studios closed, virtual training apps like Peloton turned into indispensable products. Electric bikes and scooters, once a source of frustration, found their moment when people looked for alternatives to public transportation and drove hailstones.

Even so, there were many technologies that let us down.

Some of Amazon’s devices, like the ring security cameras, turned out to be rather scary than useful. Delivery apps with hidden markups have continued to drive takeaway order prices higher. A new type of smartphone with a foldable screen was a gimmick. At least for now, this was 5G, the next generation cellular technology that doesn’t live up to its hype of delivering incredibly fast speeds.

In the last couple of …



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