Tech Industry

Tech shows canceled? Working from home? CNET's here to talk about it

As the coronavirus goes global, we're focused on bringing you the latest news and advice -- as always.

Normally, CNET would have have brought you news directly from the show floor of Mobile World Congress. But with the show canceled this year over coronavirus fears, we covered it a different way.
Adria Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

I've had many moments over two decades as a Silicon Valley-based reporter to marvel at all that technology lets us do, but there's one moment that stands out. 

Back in 2011, my husband and I were in the middle of Times Square in New York, watching as our son's California high school marching band played its way down the street in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. As I snapped photos and video snippets and shared them in near real time with family and friends across the country, my husband, connected via video chat on his iPhone to our daughter who was studying abroad, held his phone above the heads of the crowd so she could watch her brother march by. We, and everyone around us, could see her smiling and cheering him on from half a world away. 

Now playing: Watch this: Coronavirus and COVID-19: Everything you need to know

It was an amazing experience, made possible by smartphones, some free software and a healthy wireless connection. In the nine years since, the tech that lets us connect in real time, no matter where we are in the world, has only gotten better. And I'm not even talking about 5G.  

I'm reminded of that Times Square scene today as major events from Mobile World Congress to SXSW to E have been canceled, as Apple, Facebook, Google and others have decided to ditch their in-person developers conferences and move them online, and as companies from Apple to Salesforce to Twitter have told employees they should work from home and/or skip nonessential travel for the foreseeable future. 

As the spread of the coronavirus causes fear, confusion and economic problems -- not to mention shortages of everything from hand sanitizer to toilet paper to garlic (it's not a cure) -- this is a moment when technology can shine, as long as we stay calm and turn on our tech.

At CNET, we're focused on what we're always focused on: serving as a trusted source of advice and news for our readers, helping you understand what's going on and, when complicated topics need explaining, explaining them. To help make sure we're as helpful an information resource as possible, we're checking in with the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control, other health organizations and appropriate government agencies around the world working to provide meaningful updates about the virus. 

Our science editor Jackson Ryan in Australia, our health and wellness team, led by Sharon Profis and Sarah Mitroff in San Francisco, and our how-to editors and reporters across the world are pitching in to bring you the latest, fact-based information. You'll see stories focused on the pragmatic steps companies from Apple to Twitter are taking to contain the virus' spread and on the pragmatic advice we should all follow to protect ourselves. 

TL;DR worth repeating: Wash your handsDon't touch your face. Don't shake hands with others. (We recommend the Vulcan greeting instead.) Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Don't make your own hand sanitizer. Stay home if you're sick. Disinfect your devices. Watch out for coronavirus scams. And recognize to separate fact from some of the coronavirus myths that are being spread on social media. 

Our news and advice teams, led by Roger Cheng and Jason Hiner, respectively, are in contact with companies, executives, analysts and organizations so we can bring conversations from canceled events and shows to the fore and keep them going. 

MWC was canceled, but we covered and compiled the announcements about products and services that would have been made on the Barcelona show floor in February -- just as we always do. We spoke with industry leaders to get their take on tech to come, including our exclusive interview with new HTC CEO Yves Maitre, who spoke about the evolution of HTC's VR headsets. And we gave our readers scoops on products in the works, like this TCL phone with an extendable screen.

We'll do the same this month for the canceled SXSW 2020 conference and festivals. And we'll do it again in early May for Facebook's canceled F8 developers conference, which has been replaced by smaller local and live-streamed events, and in mid-May for Google's canceled I/O developers conference and for Apple's WWDC developers' conference in June.

And of course, we're reporting on news as it happens and offering special reports and deep dives into the topics we think are important to our readers. This month, ur culture team published a series of stories -- Welcome to Mars -- about our quest to colonize the Red Planet. Last week, we looked at passwords and why they may not be the best choice for your security. COVID-19 doesn't mean you don't want to know what's new in the world or that you don't want to distract yourself by making plans and setting tech priorities. We plan to help keep that conversation going.

As usual, we're staying in touch with each other -- and with the newsmakers we talk to -- in person and via the videoconferencing and online chat tools that already enable us to stay connected, whether we're working on laptops, tablets or smartphones. 

As we continue to cover the coronavirus and other situations that may arise, we'll be focused on what we're always focused on -- serving as a trusted source of advice and news for our readers, helping you understand what's going on and, when complicated topics need explaining, explaining them. 

Thanks for reading. Your ideas or suggestions are welcome. Stay healthy. And wash your hands, often.