2012: ZDNet's definitive guide to the year in tech

2012: ZDNet's definitive guide to the year in tech

Summary: A look back at the hot topics, major discoveries, and technological breakthroughs of 2012: from privacy to surveillance, major product launches, successes and catastrophes.


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  • "Don't use Huawei, ZTE," says U.S. House committee

    That was the simple message by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee after the two Chinese telecommunications equipment makers were not proven of any wrongdoing, but enough suspicion fell on the firms to err U.S. businesses on the side of caution. The firm even said -- albeit in a self-commissioned report -- that it was not engaging in espionage in any country it operates in, and isn't under the thumb of the Chinese ruling party. 

    Despite the problems stateside, British Prime Minister David Cameron still welcomed Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei into Downing Street after Huawei pledged to invest $2 billion into the U.K. economy. Some weeks later, a U.K. parliamentary committee said it would launch its own probe into the Chinese technology giant's relationship with the U.K.'s largest telecoms provider, British Telecom (BT).

    Only months after the U.S. House gave its verdict, a Huawei-shaped hole appeared in the U.S. telecoms market, and Helsinki, Finland-based Nokia Siemens Network -- with its own money troubles -- was ready to fill that gap as a safe bet for U.S. companies.

  • Hurricane Sandy devastates East Coast; wreaks havoc on infrastructure

    The worst storm to hit the East Coast in years, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey the hardest. Infrastructure was hit badly and many low-lying data centers were damaged by the flooding. Web sites suffered massive outages and cell networks struggled to continue transmitting. Power outages hit many for weeks. For three long days, Manhattan was practically in the Dark Ages.

    It took the cell networks -- including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile -- more than a week to get cell service up and running again. The storm caused 25 percent of the country's cell masts to collapse or stop working in the affected states. Ultimately quarterly earning reports were dinged.

    That said, some glimmer of hope arrived when AT&T and T-Mobile joined forces to alleviate some of the pressures on consumers and businesses by allowing their subscribers to share each others' network while cutting the roaming costs.

  • Apple launches iPhone 5

    Apple was expected to launch the iPhone 5 in one of the most anticipated events of 2011, but eventually  didn't happened until 2012. Many thought that the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant would release the media-dubbed 'iPhone 5' last year, but instead released a the iPhone 4S which was built with minor revisions from the most recent model, the iPhone 4. How was Apple going to maintain its edge in the smartphone market?

    With a 4-inch smartphone offering next-generation 4G LTE speeds. But, after the event, many media members and company analysts were left disappointed. Many consumers took to social media networks to air their frustration, and complain that innovation was plummeting in the company.

    Apple ultimately suffered a loss during its fourth quarter earnings report. However, with 15 percent of the company's revenue in China, Apple launched the iPhone 5 in the world's most populated country in December.

Topics: Presentations, 4G, United Kingdom, Security, Privacy, Microsoft, iPhone, Government, Google, Apple, Windows 8

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  • And here is one of the story that ZDNet missed

    Why did ZDNet miss it? Because it shows apple for the company that they really are.

    Here is the order of events:
    1. apple EMBRACES html.

    2. apple EXTENDS html with a proprietary extension called Touch Events.

    3. Mobile websites everywhere start using this extended proprietary API because 95% of all mobile web traffic is done with webkit browsers (is this beginning to sound familiar?).

    4. W3C drafts a standard based on Touch Events so that ALL browsers, even those that dare to not have a huge majority, can work with all mobile web sites (is this beginning to sound familiar?).

    5. apple EXTINGUISHES the html standard by forcing the W3C to abandon the standard after apple refuses to commit to offering royalty free access to apple patents involved in implementing the standard. apple doesn't want an html standard, they want a webkit "standard" defined by whatever apple feels like including in webkit and suing the authors of all competing browser engines who attempt to be compatible with the non standard proprietary apple extensions that web developers are using because apple has such a huge monopoly on the mobile web browser engine market. This FORCES every other browser to either implement webkit or die.

    6. Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Opera, jQuery, and a few other big players contribute to a new W3C standard called Pointer Events: "Microsoft, unlike Apple, is participating in W3C's standardization process and has made the intellectual property commitments that W3C demands"

    7. Microsoft implements Pointer Events in webkit and submits it.

    8. apple refuses to accept Microsoft's patch because: "Pointer Events spec had (unspecified) problems and that there was no point in supporting Pointer Events until real Web content used it." No point in supporting a standard until real web content used it? Huh. Back when every web developer was supporting MS "standards" apple certainly didn't have that attitude.

    9. apple is given every opportunity to join in the design process but they refuse: "Another Google developer invited Apple to join the Pointer Events Working Group to help improve the specification and address those unspecified problems, but thus far Apple appears to be unwilling to participate."

    Now, before you guys freak out and respond with "but MS did this" remember that this is the point. MS did this. They got in trouble for doing it. They got slammed for doing it. So slam apple now for their Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish tactic on web standards. We were promised that apple would be nicer. We were lied to.
    • Re: And here is one of the story that ZDNet missed

      Watch out, guys, Apple is the new badass over here...
  • What about Windows Phone 8?

    It is for me one of the most worthy hardware/software release of the year...
    • Naw

      It's just you.
    • Re; What about Windows Phone 8?

      You have to be joking. This phone is a huge flop. The phone are going to have try harrder to catch Apple or Android.
      Ian Norris
  • Speaking of technological breakthroughs

    I nominate ZDNet for upgrading its comment systems to include an advanced feature set once only enjoyed by early USENET users.
    none none