While the world did not end as speculated, the year 2012 was marked by a series of events that are sure to shape the future of tech as we know it. We witnessed healthy rivalry amongst brands when it came to dishing out gadgets, a multitude of smartphones and tablets flooded the market and there was also a dash of drama as Apple and Samsung were embroiled in patent wars and continued public mudslinging. Another big launch this year came from software giant Microsoft, as it introduced the much anticipated Windows 8 with touch UI. This also ushered in a whole new wave of hybrids to make the most of it.
On the other hand, this year particularly was marked by rising voices and increasing concerns over piracy, as netizens across the countries rose to meet their respective governments. Amongst other things that made headlines included the Facebook IPO and its subsequent buyout of the uber popular photo editing and sharing app, Instagram. And finally, some good news for students, India’s ambitious low-cost tablet project seems to be heading in the right direction thanks to Aakash 2. We’ve listed the top 10 tech events that shaped the year 2012.
Windows 8, the changing face of computing
Windows 8 hybrids
Microsoft kept everyone on tenter hooks by unfolding its Windows 8 OS and related products one by one. Starting with the consumer previews of Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013 to launching the Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has been making headlines all through the year for rechristening Metro UI to Modern UI, Windows 8 apps to Windows 8 store and so on. The Mobile World Congress and IFA this year gave us a clear glimpse of what we can expect from Windows 8 devices; it clearly showed the hybrid designs as the next tech trend. There were several hybrids – laptop+tablet, ultrabook+tablet – trying to make optimum use of the touch UI and the traditional desktop UI. Soon enough, Windows Phone 8 was launched and the OS seemed quite fit with a slew of nifty features for high-end smartphones. Click here to get the complete buzz about Windows Phone 8. All in all, Microsoft made a lot of headlines with its latest Windows products.
Google Vs Apple... the battle intensifies
Apple's stunning Retina display
The mobile competition got fierce this year as Apple and Google unleashed their newest iterations of OS – iOS 6 and Jelly Bean respectively, which are now more powerful and feature-packed. We saw these newest flavours shine out through the iPhone 5 and Nexus 7 tablet. Soon after, the two horsed race got a third contender in the form of Windows Phone 8 and a slew of smartphones have started surfacing. In October, Apple entered the 7-inch tablet market with the iPad mini. The iPad mini is smaller than the usual iPad, but a tad larger than other 7-inch tablets available in the market, with a 7.9-inch multi-touch display. One highly anticipated feature that goes missing on the iPad mini is the Retina display. However, while updating its Mac lineup, the Macbook Pro was launched with the Retina display.
Facebook goes public with IPO
Facebook goes public
With billions of users around the world, Facebook has redefined the way we communicate and made its founder Mark Zuckerberg one of the youngest billionaires. While it’s nothing new for Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg to grab headlines, be it his hoodie or his pet dog, in May this year, Facebook created quite a stir as it held its IPO. While Facebook fended off buyout offers over the years, it accepted private investment and had to take the company public after having crossed the threshold of 500 shareholders. Needless to say, there was a lot of excitement around the IPO, with people wanting to be a part of the Facebook success story. However, what was hailed as one of the biggest IPO’s in tech history, soon got mired in controversy. To begin with, within the first few hours that it went live, a technical glitch with NASDAQ’s system meant that trades were wrongly placed. Facebook stock was believed to be overpriced and there were also talks of company insiders having alerted industry experts beforehand. It was reported that a few big investors stayed away from the IPO as they had inside information about the actual earnings of the company, while thousands of small-investors who rushed to buy stocks suffered. The IPO that was issued at $38 slipped within a few days and continued to spiral as it reached lower than $27.
Nokia Lumia makes a splash
Nokia Lumia 920 created quite a buzz
In what is considered a bold move, the Finnish mobile giant Nokia teamed-up with Microsoft instead of partnering with Google. In the war of OSes, Symbian was losing sheen, with iOS and more so, Android, taking the lead. Nokia was battling against the tide of Android-based devices flooding the markets from manufacturers like Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, amongst others. Trade pundits believed that if Nokia wanted to regain the lost ground, then it would naturally go with Android, but much to everyone’s surprise, it signed up with Microsoft. Since then, there has been curiosity to see what will be the result of the partnership. While Nokia announced its Windows-based Lumia series last year, the handsets made their presence felt this year. In September, it launched the highly anticipated Lumia phones based on the Windows Phone 8 OS. Of the two handsets, Nokia Lumia 920 succeeded in creating a lot of buzz and if reports are to be believed, then it has crossed over 2.5 million orders. The devices are expected to be launched in India early next year.
Aakash/Aakash 2 tablet
Failed Aakash, promising Aakash 2
Aakash has been the talk of the tech town right from the start of the year. From being the sensational, affordable device to getting entangled in controversies and still managing to bring out the next iteration, Aakash has seen it all. The original Aakash has been an outright failure as it was marred by bad performance and has also been slammed for its slacky shipment wherein many consumers haven't yet received the device. The maker of the Aakash, Datawind, was quite a sensational subject itself. Datawind fell out with its key partners – Quad Electronics, its assembler and IIT Rajasthan, who was testing the original Aakash. The rumours and speculations were rife early this year that the Aakash project will be scrapped. However, we were surprised once again as Datawind won the bid for the Aakash 2 and started building it with the help of IIT Bombay. Currently, IIT Bombay is testing about 14,000 units of the Aakash, which will be utilised for teachers and students training. Unlike the original Aakash, the Aakash 2 tablet comes with better features. Its commercial version – the Ubislate UCi – is already available to order. Click here to know where exactly the Aakash 2 project is heading.