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2012 in Review: Tech

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2012 has been a monumental year in technology. This year we’ve watched Facebook truly realize the complete “American Dream,” as it went through with an IPO that valued the social network at $90 billion in May,  lost 47 percent of its value in 94 days, and subsequently began a slow ascent back to respectability. The Internet rallied its voice and defeated major legislation across the globe, including SOPA and PIPA that attempted to regulate the Internet. Major gadgets were released, including the Nexus 7, iPad mini, Microsoft Surface and iPhone 5. Copyright and patent laws around the world were put to the test as Apple and Android OEMs embarked on a game of ‘who can file lawsuits against each other in the most countries,’ with Samsung arising as the first victim of the lawsuits to the tune of $1 billion, which of course is being appealed.

All in all, it was a very eventful year in tech. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights.

Apple

iPhone5,5

2012 in review: Apple

A great number of product refreshes took place in 2012, including the iPad 3 (but you aren’t supposed to call it that) and the iPad 4 (but now it’s ok to call it that?), new iMacs, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, Mac Minis, the iPhone 5, and a litany of new iPods. There were also some brand new products introduced, most notably, the iPad Mini, as well as the Retina MacBook Pro.

>>> Check this out: 2012 in Review: Apple <<<

Amazon

Jeff-Bezos-Kindle-Fire-HD

Amazon extended itself further into the tablet market with the release of the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. Not to be forgotten  their e-reader heritage stood strong again in 2012, as Amazon invented new technology to bring us the Kindle Paperwhite, by far the best digital reading device ever produced. With more and more Amazon warehouses being built around the United States, the online retailer began laying the groundwork for the inevitable clash with brick-and-mortar king Wal-Mart. Get ready — same-day shipping is on the horizon for Amazon.

Android

OneXHeroTop

2012 in review: Android

2012 was a big year for Android smartphones. Anyway you slice it, the market for Google powered phones grew by leaps and bounds, putting even more space between it and Apple’s iPhone. Microsoft’s Mango point release to Windows Phone failed to put a dent in Google’s march forward, and the once menacing Redmond software company found itself (again) rebooting its mobile operating system. RIM was… well, let’s not talk about RIM. Thorsten Heins has his work cut out for him.

>>> Check this out: 2012 in Review: Android <<<

Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  participates in an online "town hall"  at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California

The company that everyone loves to hate underperformed (to say the least) in 2012, with a few caveats. After reaching for the stars with its IPO and falling on its face, Facebook has shown early signs of a rebound. The social network now has over 1 billion users. Facebook’s purchase of Instagram will continue to be looked at as a smart move, and the fact they’ve made it this far into the year without pissing off 1 billion people is an accomplishment in itself.

Google

Image Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Image Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

2012 in review: Google

Google enjoyed what I would call a blockbuster year in 2012. They made a few major acquisitions, released a successful line of new Android products, bolstered their internet services, and introduced their vision for the future of computing. In 2012, Google cemented their position as an unstoppable internet behemoth, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

>>> Check this out: 2012 in Review: Google <<<

Internet Freedom

sopa__i_can__t_hear_you_by_chadrocco

The citizens of the Internet do not take it lightly when people try to censor them. On January 18th, the Internet shut down to stop SOPA and PIPA. Senators and Representatives across America dropped support for the bills to avoid the backlash. Anonymous went from a slight nuisance tot the Internet’s unofficial bouncer, attacking those who wish to censor or control it.  As The New York Times‘ David Carr wrote, “People who don’t understand the Web should not try to re-engineer it.”

Microsoft

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft’s 2012 has been filled with ups and downs. Less than four months after releasing their flagship Windows Phone 7 device, the Nokia Lumia 900, Microsoft (and Nokia) pushed its successor, the Lumia 920 as the future of the Windows Phone platform, killing a flagship device faster than any company not named HTC. Windows 8 was well-received, but despite its success, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky parted ways with the company. Microsoft got into the hardware business once again, releasing the Microsoft Surface, the first Windows 8 tablet, which was met with a collective “meh, it could have been better,” by just about everyone who reviewed it.  That sentiment fits Microsoft’s entire year.

Startups

Instagram-Facebook

When it comes to the more popular startups like Instagram, Yammer, Sparrow, and even Digg (yes, Digg still counts as popular) — the one trait they all have in common is they’ve been acquired this year. Yammer got picked up by Microsoft, Sparrow was purchased by Google, Digg was separated like kids during a divorce, and sold in parts to LinkedIn, The Washington Post, and Betaworks, and Instagram was acquired by Facebook, setting off a firestorm of hatred and vitriol toward its new parent company. But hey, if Facebook offered you $1 billion, would you say no?

Twitter

Twitter bird

Less than one year ago, Twitter was beloved by the press, developers, and consumers alike. It didn’t have the privacy issues that plagued Facebook, and it wasn’t covered in ads. Somehow, Twitter has managed to remove the goodwill it built up with developers, by dramatically constricting its API, resulting in fewer hooks into the service. Twitter is attempting to move users away from third-party clients, and back to their native apps, or better yet the desktop so we can view all of those lovely promoted tweets in our feeds. As much as people may dislike the changes, it seems pretty clear that Twitter will continue to grow as a vital tool of communication and information for its more than 200 million users.

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2 thoughts on “2012 in Review: Tech

  1. Pingback: 2012 Year In Review: Geek Alabama’s Top Geeky Stories | Geek Alabama

  2. Pingback: Netbooks Are Dead, Long Live Tablets | Current Editorials

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