With only a few days left to bid good bye to 2013, we take a look at the year in review. There were indeed notable jaw breaking innovations, unbelievable impact from mobile vendor’s as well earth-shattering announcement from the gaming community.
We all thought 2012 was incredible, but 2013 was simply enchanting, from Google Glass to Smart watches, water-proof and dust-proof mobile devices equally made the year memorable. How about Curved TV’s made possible by OLED’s?
Magical comebacks from Netflix and Nokia simply made 2013 one of a kind. While 2013 is almost gone, 2014 has already given us a glimpse of what to expect. – Bendable smartphones, 105-inch Ultra HDTVs and more Robot development from Google proves that the tech world isn’t taking a nap anytime soon.
So who where the Winners and who where the Losers in 2013? It wasn’t much of a hard decision to discern.
2013 Tech Winners
No one can ignore the numbers; NPD predicted that mobile users will overtake traditional PC users by 2016 while IDC reports that 220 million tablets were moved in 2013. That’s a staggering figure and one Microsoft would have dreamt of having a fair share. Unfortunately, that has never been the case, because the company has simply not found a way to get around with tablets without the keyboard.
With several failed attempts for close to a decade, Microsoft remains deluded with its stance on productivity while Apple and Samsung get closer to consumers with the philosophy of a tablet being an entertainment gadget.
One of the most notable quotes of 2013 is credited to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook in response to Microsoft criticism of Apple’s iWork.
“Our competition is different. They’re confused. They chased after netbooks, now they’re trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows that they’ll do next? I can’t answer that question, but I can tell you that we’re focused.” – Tim Cook.
There is no loss of joy after witnessing the 8th gaming generation in 2013, it was worth all the hype and anticipation. Microsoft and Sony completely delivered with the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.
Both companies said it sold more than one million consoles in 24 hours, while the PlayStation 4 became the fastest selling console in the United Kingdom, dethroning the PlayStation Vita.
When the original iPhone debuted in 2011, it marked the beginning of a revolution that completely changed the way we interact with mobile devices. Over the years, Apple and Samsung have engaged in various legal tussles regarding a plethora of patent issues. Despite that, the company continues to fly higher and the release of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C ensured that Apple relevance in the mobile world remained firm.
A report from Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley, revealed that Apple’s iPhone 5S had dethroned Samsung Galaxy S4 from top spot in sales chart in the United States. iPhone 5C performed well also, largely because of it cheap price and different color variant. Apple also wowed consumers when it made its Mavericks OS for Macs completely free and to crown it all, Apple overthrew Coca Cola as the world’s most valuable brand in 2013.
Prior to the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, they were a lot of twist and it got to a point where the general idea was that the deal was dead. However, revelation that Nokia was in the final stages of producing a Nokia smartphone powered by Android re-ignited the deal which has already been agreed by both parties.
Microsoft is reported to have paid a hefty $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia’s devices and services division which has a work force of nearly 33,000 employees worldwide, Nokia’s patent portfolio and the right to use Nokia name on Microsoft’s smartphones for several years.
In 2011, Nokia and Microsoft entered its first agreement to make Windows Phone OS its primary OS after a partnership with Intel to create a new mobile OS became a flop. Fast-forward to 2013 and lots of developers have started seeing reasons to bring their apps to the platform, Vine and Instagram have already made an impressive appearance with others to follow.
One of the most jaw-breaking moments of smartphones in 2013 was the announcement of Nokia Lumia 1020 with an incredible and unbelievable 41 MP Camera.
Yahoo! was gradually being submerged in a pool of its own as the company became a shadow of itself. The company which was once an envy of others suddenly found itself in a ditch. The brand was losing recognition faster than anticipated, it had already given the crown of the world’s largest email service to Google’s Gmail and lots of redundant services acquired by Yahoo! didn’t make the company any better.
Could there have been a better C.E.O in the name of Marissa Mayer to reposition Yahoo? I don’t think so. One of her first major decision in Yahoo was the acquisition of Tumblr for a staggering $1.1 billion which many analysts believe was simply overpriced. She has since shut-down twelve of Yahoo’s redundant services as well as acquired a good number of startups, most recently was the purchase of SkyPhrase, a natural language recognition startup.
Marissa Mayer worked as a long-time executive and key spokesperson for Google, she was equally ranked number 8 on the list of America’s most powerful businesswomen of 2013 by Fortune magazine.
2013 Losers In Tech
Smartwatches were overhyped as the next big thing, Samsung which has largely been successful with the Galaxy S range of smartphones decided to make watches smarter with the Samsung Galaxy Gear. One lesson was learned however, you can’t shove just about anything down the throat of consumers because a large chunk of money was earmarked to make a product have an incredible ad campaign.
Samsung Galaxy Gear was indeed an embarrassing flop as sales was ridiculous at best, confirming that no one was interested in smartwatches. Apple’s iWatch failed to hit the main-stream as well and there’s no doubt it would have toiled the same path of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. Do watches really need to be any smarter than providing accurate time and date? Only Samsung thought they do, but at an outrageous price of $299.
BlackBerry’s Top Executives
From the failure of BlackBerry Z10 to the embarrassing hurdles in porting BBM to iOS and Android, BlackBerry’s days were indeed numbered, but it was its top executives who where directly responsible for BlackBerry’s woes that paid the ultimate price as they were showed the exit door.
Few days after an agreement by Fairfax Financial Holdings to acquire the ailing company for $4.7 billion fell apart; BlackBerry announced that its chief operating officer Kristian Tear, chief financial officer Brian Bidulka and chief marketing officer Frank Boulben would be leaving the company. They were to follow former CEO Thorsten Heins through the exit door who has already been replaced by former Sybase chief John S. Chen.
“We will make BBM available as the premiere multiplatform messaging solution all around the globe, and even better, it’s free,” Ex-CEO of Blackberry Thorsten Heins declared at the conference held in Orlando, Florida. “This is such a great experience; it’s just too good to keep it only to ourselves.”
Those were the thoughts of BlackBerry’s ex-CEO, unfortunately a vast majority of people were either using Whatsapp or Kik messenger, mostly because it supports every type of smartphone in the market. It was really a bit late from RIM. Probably 3 years too late!
Symbian is dead, BlackBerry is a walking corpse and Windows Phone OS in on life support. Who would challenge the dominance of the two mobile OS Android and iOS? Mozilla had hyped Firefox OS but it not a potent threat and it’s more or less like the unfinished Ubuntu OS.
Also See: Samsung To Give Out $4 Million To The Creators Of The Best Tizen Apps
Again, Samsung who has gotten so much profit from the sales of its Galaxy S range of smartphones formed a partnership with Intel to create a mobile OS that will not only give Google and Android a run for their money, but will change the way we interact with our cars, televisions and fridges where the OS was expected to make an appearance in 2013.
Samsung wants to break Google’s monopoly by going beyond the hardware and exploring the software world with Tizen OS which will establish an ecosystem centered on Samsung products, the company promised to have a working smartphone running on Tizen available to consumers in 2013. That promise has largely been unachievable at the time of writing.
Is there any need to explain how much of an utter disaster the Facebook Home was? Its such a laughable flop that lot of geeks won’t remember it ever existed.
Steve Ballmer is no tech geek but believe me, he has got all it takes to be a successful businessman. He gave his all; everything to Microsoft! I have not seen any CEO so passionate about his job especially in a company he doesn’t own.
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Countless times have they called for Ballmer’s head, yet he remained firm to delivering his best for Microsoft. He had everything working except for the mobile world which continues to delude Microsoft. It would interest you to know that there are over one billion smartphones and more than 500 million tablets circulating across the world, the news Microsoft would have loved to conceal is that only less than 10% of such products has Microsoft’s Windows Operating System in them. In my opinion, that’s a devastating shame for a company that has held monopoly of personal computing for decades.