This year’s most innovative consumer electronics companies might not be the ones you expect. While major tech brands such as Apple and Samsung dutifully churned out new versions of their popular phones, earbuds, smartwatches, and computers, the largest leaps happened on a smaller scale—or, in some cases, helped clean up bigger companies’ messes.
Companies such as Back Market and the Swap Club, for instance, focused on reducing e-waste in consumer electronics by lowering the barriers to buying refurbished gear, while Framework reimagined the laptop with easy repairs and upgrades as core principles. Their efforts stand in contrast to tech companies that preach sustainability even as they oppose right-to-repair laws and aggressively market annual hardware upgrades.
Other innovative companies found new ways of adapting to our pandemic reality, whether through more seamless work-from-home solutions, as we saw from Logitech, with its Logi Dock work station, or in new ways to exercise, as seen in smart fitness startup Tonal’s live weight training classes.