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Datacentres, Windows 7, mini laptops and must-have mobiles

Photos of the year: Part one
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By Jo Best on
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1 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Photos of the year: Part one

From futuristic mobiles and smart datacentres to the latest operating systems and the hottest new kit, we take a look back at some of silicon.com's most popular photo stories from this year.

We kick off with a trawl through how your mobile could look years from now, with five different types of futuristic mobiles.

Shown here is a wearable concept phone, called Morph. The device comes from the imagination of Nokia and can fold down from a slender tablet into a traditional candybar and even a bangle-style wristwatch.

See more of the futuristic designs in the full photo story here.

Image credit: CBS Interactive/Nokia

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2 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

2009 also saw Barclays open a futuristic branch showcasing the latest in high-tech banking.

The emphasis at the new branch in London's Piccadilly Circus, which opened in late December last year, is on self service and interactivity, supported by a slew of technology.

Explore the technology in use at the Barclays techiest branch here.

Photo credit: Julian Goldsmith/silicon.com

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3 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Mobile apps shops have become all the rage among mobile operators and handset manufacturers alike.

The daddy of them all is Apple's own App Stores, with thousands of apps for both business and consumers including the LinkedIn app shown above.

To find out which iPhone apps are essential for businesses, click here.

Image credit: Apple

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4 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

If you prefer Android to iPhone, here is silicon.com's pick of the 10 most useful apps available for the Google OS.

Pictured above is the Wikitude app, which allows you to identify prominent landmarks via your phone. It works by making use of GPS and the G1's embedded compass to pinpoint landmarks as you view them via the device's camera, then mashing the location data up with info from Panoramio, Qype and Wikipedia to correctly identify them and provide additional details.

For more useful apps, see the full round-up of Android apps here.

Photo credit: Mobilizy/Wikitude

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5 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

We don't like to leave an OS behind, so let us present you with 10 of the handiest apps for your BlackBerry.

If you can't live without Twitter for a minute then consider checking out Twitterberry - pictured above - for mobile tweeting.

And that's just the start - you can see nine other ways to pimp your BlackBerry here.

Image credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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6 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Sticking with the mobile software theme, silicon.com also named the top five mobile browsers, including Mozilla Fennec, pictured above.

To see the rest of our top five mobile browsers, click here.

Screenshot: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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7 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

If you're looking for a brand spanking new device to put your new apps and browser on, we've put together a list of 10 worthy of your consideration.

Here's the HTC Hero, the third Android device on offer from HTC but the first that also uses its own UI - called Sense.

See what else made our top 10 smartphones list here.

Photo credit: HTC

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8 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

If you're looking for something along the open source line, there's a story for that too.

Pictured here is the T-Mobile G1, one of the first devices to launch in the UK running Android.

The rest of silicon.com's top 10 recommendations for open source mobiles can be found here.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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9 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

The mobile industry's annual shindig, Mobile World Congress (MWC), takes place every year in Barcelona and 2009 saw silicon.com reporter Natasha Lomas on hand to check out the gadgets launched at the event.

One of the devices to debut at MWC was this device, the E75 - an addition to Nokia's fleet of business handsets known as the Eseries.

More of the handsets announced at the event can be found here.

Image credit: Nokia

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10 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

If PC hardware is more your thing, check out silicon.com's round-up of 10 of the best mini laptops.

Pictured above is the Asus Eee PC 1008HA, also known as the Seashell, which comes with a 10.1-inch display, packs an Intel Atom N280 processor, 802.11n wi-fi and up to six hours of battery life on a single charge.

See the rest of silicon.com's pick of the mini-laptop crop here.

Photo credit: Asus

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11 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Of course, the origins of today's superfast, super sleek netbook stretch back for decades.

The history of the PC was explored this year in an exhibition at the National Museum of Computing, tracing the development of personal computing.

One of the landmark machines, the Acorn BBC Micro, is shown above.

See more of the hardware on show at the museum with the full story here.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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12 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Arguably one of the biggest developments for the humble home or business PC this year was the launch of Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7.

Ahead of its October debut, silicon.com took a look at the Windows 7 release candidate including features such as the expanded start menu, shown here.

For a more in-depth look at the Windows 7 release candidate, go here.

Photo credit: Renai LeMay/ZDNet.com.au

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13 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Come August and Microsoft was ready to show how the final release candidate would look on the average desktop.

Here's the final version of the task bar showing off its pinning feature. You can drag and drop onto the taskbar to pin, or you can right-click on just about any icon to reveal a context menu that includes pinning as an option.

To browse through how Windows 7 will look on your desktop, click here.

Image credit: Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

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From desktops to servers, with a look around Microsoft's newly opened Chicago datacentre.

In its first phase, the ground floor of the facility is designed to hold up to 56 containers, each filled with somewhere between 1,800 to 2,500 servers.

To take a complete tour of Microsoft's datacentre, click here.

Photo credit: Microsoft

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15 of 15 Jo Best/ZDNet

Other datacentres on show this year included this facility, billed as one of the most efficient in the world by its creator Keysource.

Shown here is the datacentre's external cooling system, which should only be used for around 83 hours per year to provide additional cooling during hot weather.

To explore this green datacentre further, click here.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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