With just a few days to the end of the year, there have been so many changes in the world of technology that could as well pass as some of the most notable in history. 2012 was a big year especially for Android as it reinforced its position as the most preferred operating system for mobile phones and saw the introduction of some of the most powerful smartphones in the market – smartphones with high definition 1080p screens, those with quad-core processors, the popularity of 7 inch tablets and even the incorporation of Android in various systems such as airplane entertainment and space station gadgets. But of all these developments, which ones take the mantle as the biggest Android stories of the year?
5. The first year after the passing of Steve Jobs and Apple goes the Android route
Apple has been very rigid in how it develops its devices. However, for the first time since Apple got established as one of the most formidable companies in the technology field, Apple actually flexed the devices they make and for the first time came up with devices intended to take on Android devices in the market. Just the first year since Steve Jobs passed on as a result of cancer in 2011, Apple, under the new CEO Tim Cooks, released an iPhone 5 with a 4 inch screen, breaking the tradition of 3.5 inch screens.
Many geeks argue that Apple realized how the market is going for larger screens and in an effort to retain its market share, increased their screen sizes by 0.5 inches although the aspect ratio is ‘unconventional’. Apple also released a 7 inch iPad mini tablet which had been rumored to be in development for so long. The iPad mini was developed to take on the popularity of 7 inch Android tablets, a market share dominated by Google’s Nexus 7.
Apple’s iPhone 5’s performance may not have been that impressive, but we now know just what Apple can do to retain its market share – bending its business formations and coming up with more mainstream devices.
4. OUYA success proves there is a ready market for alternative Android gadgets
Google has tried severally to merge living room TV experience with Android operating system experience including the latest move to launch the Nexus Q media Orb which unfortunately did not find a comfortable place in the market. However, third party developers depending on pre-orders to develop devices have a chance especially with the success of the OUYA Gaming console which was a great success. It turned out to be one of the most hyped Android based video game player with TV capabilities and the team met their funding goal just a few days after the offer went live on Kickstarter.
The OUYA video game console and other oncoming Android based video games consoles are expected to surpass the most dominant video game consoles including Wii, PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox by 2017. This shows that Android is a big success, not only when it comes to smartphones and tablets but also other gadgets including video game consoles. Since the Android community is already a very vibrant and dynamic community, many developers are expected to embrace the development of games for these consoles. The OUYA video game console is on its advanced stages of development and is expected to start shipping in the first quarter of 2013.
3. Apple triumphs over Samsung in patent lawsuits as it goes on a suing rampage
In one of the most publicized court battles in the recent history, Apple triumphed over Samsung in a case dubbed ‘fight over a triangle with rounded corners’. The case of Apple against Samsung was a lot more than just the shape of a phone, it also had to do with icons and other Apple patents. The case would see some of Samsung’s products banned – at least for some time. In the end, Apple was awarded over $1 billion by Judge Lucy Koh in a California court.
There were a number of other high profile tech cases too over patents including the second trial of Apple Vs Samsung, Google vs Oracle over Java in a case that Google won and HTC Vs Apple which they ultimately decided to settle out of court. The Apple Vs Samsung case drew many reactions, most claiming that Apple’s decision to sue various companies including Motorola and Amazon among others in 2012 hindered advancement in the tech industry as manufacturers would always be in fear of being sued and suffering losses. Let us hope that we will see the end of malicious law suits in 2012 and 2013 to be a year of advancements and technological success.
2. Android emerges as a dominant player over iOS in the tablet and smartphone market
There is no doubt now as to which is the most dominant mobile operating system in the world. In the first quarter of 2012, Android had slightly over 40% of the smartphone market, but this has risen to over 75% in the global market. According to IDC, despite the popularity of iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets in the US, the majority of people now prefer Android. The bungled iPhone 5 and iPhone 5 maps also played a major role in poor performance of iOS in the smartphone market. By the end of 2012, iOS accounted for just 14.9% of all smartphone sales in 2012.
As more and more companies embrace Android and as further developments make Android an even better operating system, what will 2013 bring? Will Microsoft eventually do something to make the windows phone 8 the next most formidable mobile operating or will Apple do something to turn the fortunes of the next iOS version around and regain its position as the most preferred mobile operating system? Let’s wait and see.
1. Google’s first tablet and expands the Nexus lineup
At the start of 2012, the rumor that Google was working on a lineup of Nexus devices including tablets. This at first seemed farfetched, but it was realistic given that the company had succeeded in the development of smartphones including Nexus One and Nexus S in 2010 and the immense success of the Galaxy Nexus in the market in 2011. A year later, in June 2012, Google released the lowly priced yet very powerful nexus 7 tablet that featured a quad-core processor and 1 GB RAM for a price as low as $199 for the 8GB version. The tablet was an immense success – selling out within a few hours of its launch. Later in the year, Google partnered with LG to introduce the Nexus 4 smartphone, whose introduction was kind of bungled especially in Europe and Nexus 10, the company’s first 10 inch tablet.
Do you think our list is comprehensive or did we miss anything? What can you say about the Android development in the year 2012 and what do you expect in 2013?