Year in Review: Best of Tech Broiler 2012

Year in Review: Best of Tech Broiler 2012

Summary: These were the articles from my column that inspired you the most this year. Surprise, surprise, it was all about Mobility and Tablets.


MEEEEEEEEERRRRRRY Christmas and Happy New Year, Tech Broiler readers! Have you all been good little boys and girls this year? No? Well, that's ok. Santa's been bad too.

In 2012, the most popular content on Tech Broiler was by far about mobile devices and operating systems. This didn't surprise me, as mobile was biggest topic of the year, sitewide.

The Exynos 5 System on a Chip (SoC) used in Google's Nexus 10 delivers unparalleled performance in Android tablets. What makes it special is that chip is 100 percent Samsung's design, is the first ARM Cortex-A15 chip to be used in mobile devices, and starting with the Nexus 10, Samsung will use it in completely vertically integrated tablet and smartphone hardware where literally all of the critical components are manufactured by the South Korean electronics giant.

We're going to see a lot more of the Exynos in 2013, on all types of tablets and smartphones, not just Android ones.

Let's just say when it came to Android in 2012, I got a bit... grinchy. I went from a Android platform evangelist to a disallusioned and disappointed user. A lot of this had to do with an extremely negative experience with my Verizon Galaxy Nexus which turned out to be a complete lemon of a phone and was the poster child for carrier interference and Android device fragmentation.

In all fairness, Google did step up its game at the end of the year by focusing more on a carrier-indpendent, vertically-integrated strategy with "unpoisonable" hardware running pure Google Experience Android builds in the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Hopefully, this trend will continue and the fragmentation issues will be mostly behind us in 2013.

Next to Android, Tech Broiler readers were jazzed about the new iPads. And boy did we have iPads in 2012, with the indroduction of the iPad 3, the iPad 4, and the iPad mini. And the new Lightning Connector first introduced on the iPhone 5 really shook things up as well.

While mobile got a lot of the attention this year, there's no question that the release of Windows 8 was one of the biggest stories of the industry in 2012 and has generated no lack of partisan opinion about the radical changes made in its overall design.

While I was skeptical about Windows 8 during the early beta phases in 2011, I grew to like the OS and now even prefer it to its predecessor. Even more surprising, I ended up going to work for Microsoft!

What were your favorite (or most hated) Tech Broiler stories in 2012? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Tablets, Android, Apple, Google, iOS, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Samsung, Smartphones


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • All in all, do you feel 2012 was a bad, mediocre, good or great tech year?

    I would definitely say it was a busy and exciting year.

    Apple introduced not one but THREE new iPads in 2012 while they revamped their entire lineup of computers and mobile devices while continuing to bring HiDPI (or, if one is more familiar with the term, Retina) displays mainstream. Although the Mac Pro received only a minimum refresh, Tim Cook promised a major update for that workstation model in 2013. Yes, their were Apple software mistakes along the way but even with them, the iPhone 5 was named by Time Magazine as it's Gadget of the Year. IMO, Apple had a great year. I suspect that if certain government factors did not exist (like the Fiscal Cliff issues) Apple's stock would have remained around it's 2012 year high point. (Apple stock closed around the $315 mark in 2011 - it is currently trading around $520 dollars - like I said, Apple had a great year.)

    Microsoft's year was dominated by Windows 8 and the Surface Tablets. I don't know too much about Microsoft to venture an opinion on whether 2012 was as good a year for the Softies as it was for their Cupertino friends. IMO, 2012 felt like a transitional year for Microsoft. I suspect 2013 will be a much better year for them as the general public gets use to Win 8 and dedicated Microsoft hardware products. The only issue for me which remains to be seen is how fast Microsoft will update the hardware on it's new Surface Tablets and how fast it's app ecosystem can grow.

    I can't judge how good a year Google had but I will offer this anecdotal bit of personal background info. For this Holiday season, I purchased a 7" Kindle Fire HD and a 7" Nexus tablet for my nephew and niece for their Christmas gifts. I didn't buy them any Apple products - which might be a first for me. And I did subscribe to Amazon's Prime service so I could take advantage of Amazon's Prime Video app on my iPad 3. (Nice service for the money)

    Linux had a FANTASTIC - EXTRAORDINARY - year. Just ask Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols! Very Big Grin.
  • *THIS* was your best blog article in 2012: Ubuntu 12.04

    "I hate Ubuntu, but my mother-in-law loves it

    Questions: Is your mother-in-law still using Ubuntu 12.04? If so are you administering it from Florida using sshd, vpn or both? Any problems that we should be aware of?

    Final Question: Now that you are a Microsoft employee, will you be migrating her to Windows 8?
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • MIL

      Her main device right now is a ARM-based Chromebook because she primarily uses Google apps. When she came to visit me in Florida this week she brought her Ubuntu laptop with her, which I installed Windows 8 on as well as the Chrome browser. Primarily, that laptop is used for printing and scanning and very little else, so as to which OS she uses really doesn't matter.

      While she didn't have any usability issues with Ubuntu, the remote support issue became a problem with Linux when I moved down here. I could have set up a more sophisticated system for remote support with Linux, using VPNs and some router tweaks and such but it was simpler just to put on GoToMyPC on a Windows system.
  • I hope you get a Windows Phone 8 to review

    Jason, I seem to have similar tastes to yours this year, which is why I'd love to hear your take on the Windows Phone 8.

    I had to get one for development and testing purposes, and I like my Windows 8 "dev" phone even better than my newly-acquired iPhone 5. The phone I got is the HTC 8X from Verizon Wireless, and it's a beauty. Not only is it a global phone, but when you get it through Verizon it includes wireless charging ability. (Mine is charging on a Nokia charging stand obtained through AT&T.)

    Maybe Microsoft will give you a credit for one or something, now that you're working for them?