2010: A good mobile year for Android and Apple

But BlackBerry played catch-up and Nokia aimed for a new direction
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

But BlackBerry played catch-up and Nokia aimed for a new direction

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2010, silicon.com takes a look back at the biggest mobile stories of the year.

2010 was another action-packed year in the mobile arena with the launch of a fresh iteration of Apple's iPhone smartphone grabbing more than its fair share of column inches.

"This changes everything. Again", proclaimed Apple's iPhone 4 PR ahead of the launch, and there were certainly some big differences with the iPhone 4, including the addition of videocalling and a whole new look for the device: Photos: Apple iPhone 4 in close-up.

But a change to antenna placement on the handset meant the launch did not go entirely to plan for Apple, with reception problems surfacing when users' hands came into contact with the metal band running around the outside of the iPhone 4 - a phenomenon soon known as Antennagate: iPhone 4's "really cool" antenna causing signal issues.

Antennagate resulted in free cases, a software update and advice to "avoid holding the phone that way" but the iPhone juggernaut showed no signs of slowing. No such thing as bad publicity? Apparently not if you're Apple.

It wasn't a dull year for Microsoft either. Redmond launched a new mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, which launched a crop of devices in the autumn: Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7 - six UK handsets on the way.

Meanwhile, Google ramped up its mobile ambitions, with CEO Eric Schmidt announcing the company's prioritisation of mobile app development ahead of other software: Google's new app strategy: Mobile comes first.

Google's Android mobile OS continued to gain market share over the year, prompting analyst house Gartner to predict that Android will beat Symbian to become the most popular mobile OS by 2014: Google Android set for glory in the smartphone OS wars?

The analyst believes that Android could even give RIM's BlackBerry OS a run for its money in the enterprise market as business users ditch BlackBerrys for shinier alternatives.

All the more reason, then, for the BlackBerry maker not to sit on its laurels in 2010 - the Canadian company finally put out a long-awaited update to its OS and native browser, launching BlackBerry OS 6: Photos: BlackBerry 6 - how the new OS looks.

Meanwhile Nokia continued its struggle to redefine itself in the post-iPhone world. The handset maker announced job cuts and a business realignment, as well as the departure of then-CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and the appointment of Nokia's first ever non-Finnish CEO, Stephen Elop. silicon.com examined the future for Nokia in: Nokia company profile: What's next for the world's biggest mobile firm?.

Nokia's OS strategy took several big turns over the course of the year, with an announcement early on that it was pooling some open source OS development effort with Intel, creating a new OS for high-end mobile devices called MeeGo: MeeGo: Cheat Sheet.

At the same time Nokia remained committed to Symbian, its long-standing mobile OS that was open-sourced in 2008. The Nokia N8, the first Symbian ^3 device, suffered a delayed launch and poor reviews and the year ended with Nokia announcing it was to take Symbian development back inhouse.

Elsewhere in mobile in 2010, silicon.com examined efforts to encourage the take-up of mobile wallet technology with a trial in the resort town of Sitges, near Barcelona. A number of Spanish shoppers have been given a mobile with wave-and-pay tech, allowing them to make payments for goods by swiping their handsets over readers in shops. Trial co-organiser Visa hopes the pilot will be the "start of something significant": Mobile wallets coming to UK in time for Olympics.

silicon.com also took a look at the rise of mobile apps, examining what kind of business opportunities they offer and which businesses should launch an app of their own in: Mobile apps: Does your business need one?

Editorial standards