What started out as a long list quickly shortened for me as I came to the conclusion that this year was more about refinement and patent struggle than any actual breakthroughs.
So what was the best thing that happened to us in the year 2012 as far as technology goes?
For the first time in ages, we finally saw the juggernaut companies of the last several years be challenged in their respective areas. Apple‘s phone is no longer considered trendy, and the ipad now has several competitors breathing down its mechanical neck. Facebook went public and it was quickly realized that the stock market was not as friendly as grandma and her bridge group using it to organize party dates. New video game consoles were finally announced, and the Wii U came out to a very ho-hum reception. Windows 8 was finally realeased, and while the jury is still out as to the success of the operating system, at least Microsoft is trying something new, and that’s all we can really ask for. The last several years had been a period of stagnation and complacency both among consumers and developers alike, and I for one am glad that trend seems to be ending.
In the world of gaming, it seems that there is a bit of a change in the way companies can charge for MMO’s, as several games went free to play this year, and a couple that were already free to play were sent off into the sunset. We’ve seen the PC once again take the forefront as the preferred platform for most gamers due to the aging technology contained within the Xbox 360 and PS3, all the while STEAM is gaining more and more concurrent users every month. Publishers like Ubisoft are finally realizing the error of their ways with restrictive DRM, while websites like GOG (Good Old Gamers) are starting to thrive on DRM free content.
Apple is no longer the darling of hipsters everywhere, as Samsung, LG, Nokia, Google, and even Sony have released phones that not only meet the standards set by the Iphone but exceed it in terms of content and accessibility. The Iphone 5 released earlier this year seemed more like a catch up than anything innovative, and even it’s dominance of the tablet market is starting to be challenged by the Nexus line as well as the Microsoft Surface (cue joke here). In addition, the company seems to be holding onto its rather vague patents for dear life, and next year the courts will in all likelihood play a bigger role in determining exactly what a company can or can not patent for their product.
Facebook finally seemed to show a dent in its armor this year as the decision to go public with the stock market was… shaky at best. I actually like Facebook but at the same time Google + is not out of the competition yet, and if it keeps trying to find cheap ways to monetize the service, then you might find the social media landscape quite different in the next few years. I don’t think Mr. Zuckerberg is losing any sleep at night, but at the same time, six years ago we thought Myspace was never going to implode, and look where we are now.
So who benefits from change the most when it comes to technology? We do. As companies try to pinch us for every dollar through new breakthroughs and products, we are ultimately the judge, jury, and executioner as we browse the marketplace for the best and brightest devices and services. The 2000′s were about establishing the status quo. This decade seems to be about breaking the mold and thinking outside the box. Who knows, maybe we’ll see why 2013 won’t be like…2013.
Tags: Apple, Best of 2012, Facebook, Google, iPad, LG, Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, MMO, Nexus, Nokia, PS3, Samsung, Sony, STEAM, Surface Pro, Surface RT, Ubisoft, Wii U, Windows 8, World of Technology, Xbox 360