While most look to Silicon Valley for innovation, it's striking that there have been plenty of big tech developments out of the UK this year.
Probably the most high profile is the the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer, designed as a low-cost, portable board that kids could plug in and start coding wherever they were.
The team behind it thought they might sell 1,000 if they were lucky when the first devices rolled off the production line in 2012, but enthusiasm for the tiny board rocketed and just last month sales of Raspberry Pi hit two million – an unexpected British tech success story.
Retailing giant Tesco unveiled its own Android tablet, the Hudl, aimed at showcasing its own TV and online shopping services; a strategy successfully used by Amazon with its Kindle Fire tablet range. The retailer has now sold 300,000 of the £119 tablets with an updated model expected in the new year. And it's not the only retailer in the UK to test the waters with a tablet – Argus and budget retailer Aldi have also offered their own devices.
East London's tech startup scene, once known as Silicon Roundabout, has rebranded as Tech City and is gradually turning into entrepreneurial rival to Silicon Valley. This year a number of tech accelerators have set up in the area, which could see the numbers of tech startups based out of London increase greatly next year. As the capital's tech ecosystem develops, the chances of developing the next big thing in tech increases, while the government is keen to help turn small successes into giant companies: as such, 2014 could be a breakthrough year.
Another on-going story this year has been the rollout of 4G wireless networks across the country. Mobile operator EE got a headstart, hitting one million LTE subscribers back in September. EE's rivals have been scrambling to catch up, and next year will be racing to set up their own national networks. But probably the biggest problem for 4G in the UK right now is persuading consumers (and businesses) that the additional speed is really worth the cost of the upgrade.
But it's not all been uniformly good news this year. While wireless speeds continue to climb, there's still a big difference in fixed broadband speeds depending on whether you are in the middle of a city or out in the wilds (or even in a small town or village). Rural users could get one third of the bandwidth of their urban friends – something which is continuing to act as a drag on the internet economy. It's not the only problem though – the UK is suffering from a tech skills shortage which the next generation is unlikely to help with as they continue to shun tech A-levels.
Check out our list of must-read UK tech stories from 2013:
- Tesco takes on Kindle and iPad with Jelly Bean Android tablet Hudl
- 'Doing a startup is a very lonely thing': Google's Campus and what makes Tech City tick
- Smartphones, tablets create a nation of 'meshers and stackers' who won't just watch TV
- Can tomorrow's skills crisis be averted? Students continue to shun tech A-Levels
- EE hits one million 4G subscribers as rivals make early LTE efforts
- Flossie, James Bond's historic ICT computer, finds new home at National Museum of Computing
- UK government picks first open standards in bid to dodge vendor lock-in
- Squeezed out by cheap Android tablets and Apple's iPad, PC sales continue to plummet
- 21 new torrent sites added to UK banned list
- Major UK IT projects at risk of failure, warns government watchdog
- U.K. government 'complicit' in NSA's PRISM spy program
- UK porn filter protest #CensoredUK rages on