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Top Tech Moments of 2011

From death and demise to guts and glory, this sure has been one action-packed year.

business Updated: Dec 17, 2011 18:18 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
Steve Jobs,Apple,BlackBerry

From death and demise to guts and glory, this sure has been one action-packed year.

Yes, it’s that time of the year. The top gadgets of the year, the biggest turkeys and the best of everything. And yet, 2011 will be remembered mostly for its tech moments. Rarely has a year seen more action and emotion than in the last twelve months. Moments that have changed the course of technology and our lives forever.

A permanent resignation

It took the world by storm; it shocked the fanboys and made most tech pundits salivate about what happens next. That was just the resignation of Steve Jobs. What was to follow was even more devastating. The world lost the greatest curator and tech visionary of iphoneall times permanently.

Effect: Steve Jobs was able to bring passion and perfection into the boring and mundane. Apple’s No. 1 position as a vision and device leader will be affected. Those who think it won’t aren’t giving the presence of Steve Jobs its due.

The Blackest mark
BlackBerry went down and with it went the hopes and dreams of the company. People across the world lost access to mails, BlackBerry Messenger and confidence in the company. The effect was brutal and the handling of the situation was terrible. This was just one in a long string of problems for the company. From lower phone sales, disappointing OS upgrades and the failure of the PlayBook Tablet, the dark black clouds became thicker over RIM.

Effect: BBX (the new OS) is coming but it may not be enough. Many predict that BlackBerry will eventually have to move to Android with BlackBerry push mail and Messenger intact.

Light my Fire
In a one horse race, it’s easy to lose sight of the winning line. But the iPad has been Tunnel Vision in its focus. So focused that it dominated the entire market. iPad-killer after iPad-killer came and went. Till the Amazon Kindle Fire. It’s priced beautifully; it has content and an ecosystem in place and it has Amazon’s magic touch behind it. It also had a large market share within days.

Effect: Amazon, Samsung, Asus and Apple: it’s a four-pronged race now with each throwing in a giant compelling reason to buy their product. 2012 may bring Apple down to about 50 per cent, which in itself is also amazing.

It’s big, it’s there, it’s not, yes it is... no it’s gone!
The best OS, the biggest hardware manufacturer, the buzz as big as Apple and a product that looked like a million bucks. The HP TouchPad came, made news and was killed – all in the blink of an eye. Some truly disastrous seat-of-the-pants decisions (a fire sale of the product and conflicting announcements) of the top HP brass led to the CEO getting the boot along with the TouchPad as well.

Effect: It could have been a five horse race but it’s not. HP could have taken Web OS to the top, but it won’t! HP, HP, HP – what have you done?

The World’s biggest and struggling
The world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer gets into bed with the world’s biggest software manufacturer.

At stake: literally the future of both companies. Nokia and Microsoft join hands to come out with the Lumia series. The devices are good, the marketing is top notch and the money being spent is astronomical. Now the future of both lies in your hands.

Effect: If the predictions are true, ‘Micro-kia’ will be number 3 in 2012. If this doesn’t work out, well, it’s Game Over for both.

TochpadTabletting the impossible

A Tablet that will cost a student just Rs1,000. The $35 Akash Tablet is the most controversial Tablet in the world. A wonder of out-sourcing, ingenuity, hard-nosed pricing and hype, the first Akash works but is underwhelming. It’s a great idea let down by some poor choices on hardware.

Effect: We are the only nation in the world to dream it and do it. By the time the much-improved Akash 2 hits the market (March 2012?), we may be the only country supplying Tablets to every nation in the world.

The Big G
Google dominated world headlines for all things good and bad. Google+ was the only competition to Facebook but seems to be losing momentum. Google bought out Motorola and made all other Android partners nervous. The first big OS threat to Windows was the Chrome OS. But it has petered out to a has-been already.

Effect: Google+ still has a big chance as it is doing most things right. The problem is that there is no real reason to leave Facebook. Motorola-Google will be the most aggressive mobile phone player of 2012.
The Chrome OS: can you say dodo?

We are on the A-list
It never felt good. To get a phone 11 months after it was released abroad. After all we have so many Apple fans and cults and iMafia members in the country. With the iPhone 4S, all of that has changed.

We went from Z-minus to A-plus on the country priority list. It is besides the point that the phone is priced worth its weight in gold and that Apple released very few handsets in India (so yes, it ‘sold out’). But hey, at least we are on the A-list now!

Many other momentous events took place that shook the tech world. Microsoft bought Skype and then did nothing more with it; the PlayStation Network got hacked and hacked and then hacked again and made Anonymous totally famous; Yahoo’s decline became more pronounced Android had big numbers, both good and bad (apps downloaded, share of market and amount of malware). It’s a long list of breathtaking stuff.

lumiaNext week, we’ll go into my prediction of big news in 2012: Bill Gates will come back as CEO of Microsoft, why Apple’s TV will be the best thing to happen to your living room and which big phone company will pack up its bags. 2012 will beat the pants off 2011!

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.

Follow Rajiv on Twitter at

From HT Brunch, December 18

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First Published: Dec 17, 2011 13:15 IST