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The rise of the mini-tablets: Google, Amazon, Apple battle it out
Google and Amazon kicked off the movement into the 7-inch tablet space with their Nexus and Kindle Fire devices. Apple was a step behind. Apple was late to join the group as the iPad mini came along later than expected.
TheiPad mini rolled out in September, but sales have yet to match the domination of its older sibling, the iPad. Apple sold three million new iPads (with Retina display) and iPad mini tablets in the first sales weekend; the company did not break down the numbers further. However, Apple side-stepped the alleged 'death blow' to the wider mini-tablet industry by failing to compete on the sub-$200 price tag.
While many have flocked to the mini-tablet space, many are content with their full-size devices. Exactly how the mini-tablet -- devices that are between 5-inches and 8-inches in size -- has yet to be seen. We will likely see more use-case scenarios in 2013.
SOPA, PIPA defeated by netizen power; fight far from over
The Stop Online Piracy Act, the 'Internet killing' law that was making its way through Congress, had the power to block access to Web sites as powerful as Google, YouTube, Reddit, or any other site that cries wolf over copyright infringement claims. The Web took to a day of online protest action while hundreds of major Web sites -- including Google, Wikipedia, and Imgur -- blacked out their pages or went offline to 'simulate' what could happen if SOPA was passed by Congress.
Similarly, the PROTECT-IP Act (or "PIPA") and CISPA were also shelved earlier this year after Web users from all over the world threatened days of action to protest the laws that would have had a potentially devastating effect on the way the Internet works and operates.
Later in the year, a United Nations group met to discuss regulating the Internet even further. Some countries even banded together in order to redefine the Internet as 'government-controlled." Eventually, the conference concluded without forming any definitive agreement on proposals, and Web users around the world breathed a collective sign of relief once more.
Memes rocket, becomes cultural statement of the decade so far
During 2012, Reddit took back the crown as the world's favorite destination for popular Web content. Home of the memes, Digg crumbled and revamped itself as Digg 2.0, but will face an almost impossible task to get to the level Reddit currently stands at.
Of all things, while Reddit is a news-sharing site by principle, the network has been home to the creation of many memes -- cultural references modified for humorous purposes or to make a point -- such as Bear Grylls drinking his own urine, political and religions references, Neil deGrasse Tyson's "badass over there" adaptation, and -- of course -- the world-famous 'trollface' meme.
These 'memes' have sparked a whole new cultural medium over 2012 and their creators have rocketed to record creative levels.