Here is the round-up of major events in the world of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in 2011. Feel free to add more in the comments.
Apple iPhone 4S
This fifth generation of the iPhone was launched in the US in October. The device runs on iOS5 operating system with A5 dual core processor making it one of the fastest iPhone ever. Siri, the voice recognizing and talking assistant App is the most liked and talked about feature that comes with iPhone 4S. Its 8MP camera allows 1080p video recording.
Apple iPad 2
Apple unveiled this second generation of iPad in March. iPad 2 has become a rage and serves as a platform for web content, presentation, games, music, movies, periodicals and audio visual media books. Many famous magazines and newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal, the Economist and FT now offer iPad version of their editions.
World’s cheapest tablet device – Aakash
India again came up with another frugal innovation – this time a $35 tablet, called Aakash. It was launched for Indian students, but attracted attention at an international platform and became much bigger than expected. It was developed by DataWind, a London based IT firm in collaboration with the students of IIT Rajasthan. The device runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS, 366 MHz Atom processor, 256MB RAM and comes with many pre-installed Apps.
Samsung Galaxy Smartphone SII
Samsung launched Galaxy 2, the Android based, one of the slimmest and significantly improved smart phone in February. This smart phone single handedly brought Samsung from the 3rd position to the largest smart phone maker in the world surpassing Nokia and Apple. In October Samsung launched Samsung Galaxy Note, an Android based smart phone cum tablet computer. Samsung has already shipped 1 million Galaxy Notes worldwide!
Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich
Android 4.0, code named Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest Android OS, officially launched in October. This version has lot of new and improved features that will help further spread Android’s popularity in the coming year. Samsung's Galaxy Nexus is the first device to come with Ice Cream Sandwich.
Amazon’s tablet computer - Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire is a tablet computer version of Amazon's Kindle e-book reader launched in September 2011. It runs on Android OS. One of the interesting features of Kindle Fire is that users can order it with their Amazon account pre-configured. Few incidents were reported where the package was broken and transactions made on buyer’s Amazon account during shipment!
Google launched Chromebook
Chromebook is the notebook from Google running its Chrome OS. It was launched in June. Chromebooks are primarily designed to be used while connected to the Internet.
Activities in the Social Media space
Launch of Google Plus
After failing with Orkut and Buzz, Google made a strong entry in the social media market with its new offering Google Plus in June. Google plus introduced Circles and Huddles, which became widely popular. The Google +1 is also became ubiquitous in websites along with Facebook’s Like and Recommend buttons. It reached the mark of 25 million users within 2 months of its launch.
May be threatened by Google Plus’s launch and its instant popularity, Facebook has made quite some changes. Newsfeed has been redesigned. Privacy settings have been improved. Subscribe option has been introduced. Recently, it has introduced Timeline!
Twitter – Launch of tweet button and photo sharing service
Twitter has bounced back in 2011 with introduction of tweet button and photo sharing service. Now, one can directly follow a website or a person by just clicking the follow button, just like ‘like’ and ‘+1′ a content on web. Images can also be shared.
Tech acquisition and mergers
Microsoft bought Skype
Microsoft acquired Skype, the best VOIP service, for $8.56 billion. With Skype, MS wants to fight Google Voice and Apple’s Facetime.
iGate acquires Patni
This was one of the interesting acquisitions where a smaller company acquired a bigger one. [iGate’s 2010 revenue was $299 million whereas Patni’s was $772 million]
Twitter buys TweetDeck
TweetDeck brings some features like pre-posting Tweets, keeping track of recent hash-tags, and managing multiple social networking accounts, including Facebook, Foursquare, and, of course, Twitter which was not available on the extremely simple Twitter interface.
Death of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, the visionary leader of Apple and the icon of the technology world, died of cancer on 5th October. It’s to be seen how Apple fares under the new CEO, Tim Cook.
Death of Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie departed soon after Jobs’ demise. He is popular among IT and Computer Science graduates for the C programming language. Dennis is also the creator of UNIX operating system.
Apple – Samsung patent war
One can hardly keep track on the number of court cases going on in the Apple vs Samsung patent fights over smartphones and tablet computers.The battle surfaced on 18 April, 2011, which later extended to more than nine nations across the globe. Apple blamed Samsung of aping the design of its iPhone and iPad devices. European nations including Germany and Netherlands banned the sales of Samsung Galaxy Tab. Australia also banned the sales of Samsung Galaxy phones, which was later lifted. This could emerge as one of the biggest battles in the technology world.
Nokia’s fall and launch of Lumia
2011 was disastrous for Nokia. Emergence of Android phones dented Nokia’s market share severely. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop’s leaked mail to his employees, where he says Nokia was “standing on a burning platform” showed his concern for Nokia. Nokia partnered with Microsoft and recently came up with Lumia Windows phone. It’s to be seen how Nokia fights with the competitors in 2012, standing on the burning platform!
Launch of Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player
Cloud computing continued to gain ground with Amazon launching two Cloud based offering in March. Registered Amazon customers automatically got 5GB of Cloud Drive storage. Amazon Cloud Player allows the users to securely store entire digital music collection using Amazon Cloud Drive and play it on any Mac, PC, iPad, or Android device using Amazon Cloud Player.