Thursday, 15 December 2011

A quick look at 2011's big tech highlights

As we draw closer to the end of the year, let’s see what rocked the year 2011. This year paved way to newer innovations and even bid goodbye to many...
A quick look at 2011's big tech highlights
As we draw closer to the end of the year, let’s see what rocked 2011. This year paved the way to newer innovations and even bid goodbye to some old ones. From fierce mobile battles to legal limbos and a fight to sustain a position in the market, the year had it all, plenty of drama for everyone. Here's a quick flashback of the highlights that helped shape 2011.

Rise and fall of Google services
It has been an eventful year for Google who had the world watching them constantly through a series of makeovers that their products underwent. However, it seemed like on the whole, Google didn't have as good a year as they hoped to, since quite a few of their products bit the dust in 2011. Google decided on its spring cleaning and shut down more than 20 services, with a valid explanation for each, naturally. For instance, it shut down Google Friend Connect and Buzz due to the advent of Google+, while Google Gears was closed as people now show increasing preference to web apps. One of the main highlights from Google was the launch of its social networking site, Google+. But, is it really a Facebook-killer? We think Google should stick to what it does the best – Search engine optimization, e-mail and its mobile OS, but we can't hold it against them for trying new things, though.

Faster processing phones
Just when faster processors were meant for larger devices like netbooks and tablets, the mobile segment suddenly caught up the trend to incorporate these processors in powerful, pocketable smartphones. Though we’ve seen the Galaxy S and Nexus One clock at 1GHz last year, Nvidia and Qualcomm soon ensured that smartphones can reap the benefits of the dual-core processing power. The year started with the LG Optimus 2X, soon followed by hordes of others like theSamsung Galaxy S2, Motorola Droid X2, and the most recent HTC Sensation and the Galaxy Note. Smartphones also clocked passed the 1GHz mark to reach up to 1.4GHz, as seen in the most recent Nokia Lumia 800. Soon, this trend could change as most of the popular mobile OS' support multi-core CPUs. Nvidia and Qualcomm are said to be working on 2.5GHz quad-core mobile processors and Samsung on a 2GHz quad-core mobile processor. Though speculated to first reach tablets, one shouldn’t be surprised if the next year is all about quad-core phones.

Steve Jobs
Abrasive, yet a creative wit, no matter how you choose to describe the late Steve Jobs, he truly revolutionized technology with his stylish devices that possess a formidable fan following. This year, we lost the tech genius just two months after he stepped down as the CEO of Apple and a few days after the iPhone 4S was unveiled. Steve supposedly spent a lot of time over the iPhone 5, and we could never know what we will miss in the upcoming devices. This year, Apple had a different approach towards India, too. After the iPad made a year late entry into the Indian market, iPad 2, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S were quick enough to follow into the Indian market after their respective global launches. We just hope this trend continues; now this doesn’t mean we choose to pay a heavy sum for the devices (although some may disagree).
Tech innovations of 2011(Image Credit: getty Images)
Tech innovations of 2011(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Hack/Outage (PSN, BBM)
The year saw two major events, the BBM outrage and PSN Hack, that left customers grieving about their respective services. The year hasn’t been very good for BlackBerry. Amidst the struggle to keep up with its fierce competitors, the business phone maker’s popular messaging service also played foul. Its core switch and backup switch were to be blamed, but not before the damage was done. The Sony PlayStation Network was hacked and it drew ire from the gaming community. In fact, Sony faced a series of hacks which lasted over a month.

Tablets that came, went and stayed
The most talked about piece of technology this year is likely to be tablets. There were numerous tablets that marched into the market, be it from phone makers or PC makers, but the irony is that nothing really exceptional came by. After the iPad was conceived early last year and its iteration that come along this year, the time span saw numerous tablets inundate the markets. TheBlackBerry Playbook couldn’t keep up to its promise and neither did the HTC Flyer. The Motorola Xoom that was touted to be an iPad-killer did all the talking while making its way to the launch, but we didn’t really hear about it after that. Several players decided to tap on the Indian market’s price sensitive nerve, which was seen in the host of low end tablets that were launched from Reliance,Spice, Beetel and more. However, nothing could really bring in the ‘wow’ factor. All in all, one iPad could compete with an array of tablets, and this is going to hurt someone (read me), but Android tablets were simply a failure, this year.

HTML 5 (the beginning of the end of Flash)
Adobe and Flash may have seemed inseparable as the company stood defending the Flash player even after it was banned by Apple. Now, as Microsoft further decides not to support Flash for its Metro UI in Windows 8 and there has been a massive increase in the number of tablet shipments, Adobe finally disclosed that it will stop making flash technology for mobile devices. It quickly put to fore the new development tool - Adobe Edge. Using HTML 5, CSS3 and JavaScript, Edge ‘Eg’ does all that Flash professional can do. Without support for Apple and Microsoft devices, Adobe was approaching rarity, anyway. For instance – reportedly, iPad sales account to almost four times that of Android, and is expected to dominate until 2015, according to reports by Gartner. However, it’s too early to comment, as Windows 8 may just enter with a bang to prove it all wrong. So, Adobe is finally paying heed to Steve’s advice and prepping up HTML 5-based tools
Wider acceptance of 3D
The end of 2010 showed a promising future for the three dimensional technology. Keeping up with the promise, there was a wider acceptance of the 3D technology, this year. The mobile segment saw high-end 3D phones like the HTC Evo 3D and the LG Optimus 3D. Gradually, the low-end market started exploring the possibilities of a 3D phone like the Spice Popkorn. 3D, which was once an unimaginable home entertainment experience and only entitled to big theatre screens, has come to household living rooms. There has been a rise in 3D televisions from renowned manufacturers like SonyToshiba and Panasonic, among others. In fact, there has been implementation of 3D-glasses-free viewing experience.
Wider 3D acceptance, Smartphones ready to rule again? (Image Credit: Getty Images)
Wider 3D acceptance, Smartphones ready to rule again? (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Netbooks dead
Ever since tablets were introduced, the future of netbooks seemed bleak. It didnt take much time for this possibility to slowly turn into a reality. The first quarter reports of 2011 were enough to point towards the unsteady position of netbooks. There was an increase in the number of tablet sales which proved to be more portable then netbooks. 

Cheapest tablet
Taken up as an initiative to offer better education in schools and colleges, Datawind and Communications Minister, Kapil Sibal took up the task of dishing out world’s cheapest tablet -Aakash. The tablet was offered for students at an approx price of Rs.1,500 while the commercial version (still awaited at store shelves) priced at Rs. 3,000 has already received 3 lakh pre-orders. After the world’s cheapest tablet, Reliance Industries recently declared their cheap 4G tablets to be coming next year.

Nokia-Microsoft partnership
Nokia and BlackBerry would have been sailing in the same boat. However, Nokia’s move to join hands with Microsoft has saved it a great deal. Nokia’s Symbian phones couldn’t compete with Android penetrating in the low-end markets of Asia.  The billion dollar handshake has helped it bounce back in the mobile terrain. Nokia has introduced several Windows handsets with the Lumia series. 

Apple-Samsung tussle
This could be the longest legal battle in the tech world. Throughout the year, Apple and Samsunghave been engaged in a blame game and a desire to ban each other's devices. These giants have been putting their best foot forward to impress the masses and the competition just heated up when the iPhone 4S running on the new iOS 5 and Galaxy Nexus with the ICS upgrade were announced around the same time.

Online shopping on a rise
 One of the trends of 2011 was the increasing number of people flocking towards online shopping. e-commerce wasn't accepted so widely, earlier and the sales figures have shown a rise this year. People have shed off the fear of keying in their bank details for online shopping. Another aspect that we’ve learned to let go is the touch and feel of a product before buying a device. Disclosing its sales figures, Flipkart recently revealed that it's clocking sales of 2.5 crore on a daily basis. The recent Avendus Report shows the changing trend and how India goes digital.

Phew...What a tech imbued year it has been! Technology is constantly changing. Let's wait and watch what next year brings along.

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