iTech Winners and Losers of 2009


We take a look back at the news that broke in 2009 and bring you the year’s biggest successes and failures

Winner: Sony

Meanwhile, Sony on the other hand enjoyed a much better year. Thanks to a crash diet and a price-drop the PS3 became the console it should always have been. Similarly Sony’s X-series Walkman enjoyed a return to form with a crisp OLED screen and built-in noise cancelling tech

Winner: Project Natal

Project Natal debuted at E3 in summer to the sound of everyone’s jaws hitting the ground. Nintendo and PlayStation both took notice, and are bringing out new motion controllers in the New Year. Even so, Microsoft’s motion-sensing witchcraft is far and away the most promising gaming innovation in recent years.

Winner: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Before its release in November, the game’s hype scared games’ publishers into delaying all their releases until next year, and by all accounts it was the right decision. Modern Warfare 2 not only decimated every video games record, but it went on to become the most successful entertainment product launch in history. In the meantime, it’s been unmovable at the top of the Christmas charts and it’s poised to take the Christmas number one.

Winner: HTC

In 2008 HTC was an uninspiring smartphone stalwart that produced handsets carrying the equally lacklustre Windows Mobile. But in 2009, with Android taking off, HTC was transformed and it produced a stable of exciting handsets, culminating in the HTC Hero. The Hero was the first handset to truly demonstrate what the Android OS was capable of. The company ended the year on a high winning a string of awards and prizes from across the industry, including T3’s Gadget of the Year Award.

 

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Winner: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Before its release in November, the game’s hype scared games’ publishers into delaying all their releases until next year, and by all accounts it was the right decision. Modern Warfare 2 not only decimated every video games record, but it went on to become the most successful entertainment product launch in history. In the meantime, it’s been unmovable at the top of the Christmas charts and it’s poised to take the Christmas number one.

Winner: HTC

In 2008 HTC was an uninspiring smartphone stalwart that produced handsets carrying the equally lacklustre Windows Mobile. But in 2009, with Android taking off, HTC was transformed and it produced a stable of exciting handsets, culminating in the HTC Hero. The Hero was the first handset to truly demonstrate what the Android OS was capable of. The company ended the year on a high winning a string of awards and prizes from across the industry, including T3’s Gadget of the Year Award.

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Loser: Andy Murray

Everyone’s been there at one time or another; you’re locked in to a two-hour session of Modern Warfare making an adolescent American weep as you kick his ass all over the battlefield when you’re girlfriend walks in and demands you spend some “quality time” with her. It seems the life of a tennis star is no different. Andy Murray was dumped in November after his seven-hours-a-day gaming addiction got in the way of his relationship with Kim Sears. Let’s just hope he wasn’t stuck trying to get past the semi-finals in Virtua Tennis

 

Loser: Nokia

The world’s biggest handset manufacturer has endured one of its toughest years to date. In the last 12 months the Finnish company has been sued, seen its flagship stores closed, killed off the N-Gage platform and witnessed Apple nibble away at its market. All is not lost for Nokia however, as the N900 – out later this month – is one of their best offerings in recent years, and their 3G Booklet is set to launch next year.

Loser: Japanese man marries a DS character

At the beginning of December, a Japanese man married his Nintendo DS. Apologies, we should be more accurate. He actually legally married a character from a DS game called Love Plus in a ceremony broadcast to thousands over the internet. The digital Casanova – who refers to himself as SAL9000 – decided to tie the knot after a string of failed relationships with other DS characters. The bride and groom are now enjoying their honeymoon in Guam, that is unless he forgot the DS charger.

 

Loser: Erik Estavillo

In a stranger-than-fiction lawsuit, Erik Estavillo sued World of Warcraft creators Blizzard and invited Depeche Mode’s Lee Gore and Winona Ryder to testify in court. He claimed that WOW had conspired to make him a loner, and that Winona Ryder would be the ideal witness. But wait, this wasn’t Estavillo’s first lawsuit of the year. He also sued Sony for banning him from the PSN after abusing fellow players online. Oh, and he tried to take on Nintendo for getting in the way of his “pursuit of happiness” after they banned him for playing pirated games. We should point out that unsurprisingly none of his lawsuits were successful.

Loser: Battery Fires

In 2009, that innocuous laptop sitting on your desk, became a time-bomb just waiting for an opportunity to spontaneously burst into flames when you weren’t looking. Packard Bell, HP and Fujitsu were all offenders, recalling laptop batteries that were potential incendiary devices. So if you’re short on money this Christmas, our top tech tip is to use your laptop as an alternative source of heat during the cold winter months.

Loser: Bing

Try as they might, Microsoft has never been able to threaten Google’s search engine supremacy. This year, sadly, was no different. Bing launched as a beta to deafening indifference, as Microsoft’s search engine had a number of hiccoughs. Nevertheless, Microsoft hasn’t given up, and with Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, stating in a live interview that people using Google shouldn’t have anything to hide, people might just start switching sides.

Loser: Nintendo

For the last two years, Nintendo has blown its competition away with record-breaking console sales. Although the Nintendo Wii became the fastest-selling home console in history, and the DS passed the 10 million sales mark, it didn’t hide the fact that Nintendo’s sales were stalling. Both consoles seem to have saturated the market, with sales slowing massively in the last year. With Natal around the corner, and PlayStation’s motion controller close behind, Nintendo won’t be the only one with arm-flailing fun in 2010 either.

Loser: T- Mobile

Last month the BBC revealed that T-mobile employees had sold millions of customers’ personal information to rival phone companies. That very same week, we started to receive strangely personal calls from 3 Mobile letting us know that our T-mobile contracts were coming to an end. The German telecoms company has failed to secure a number of high profile handsets this year, but rumour has it the Nexus One phone is landing on T-mobile in January.

Loser: Sony Ericsson

2009 was a rollercoaster ride of a year at Sony Ericsson. The handset developer already offered great camera phones and music phones, but so far it had failed to put out a solid smartphone. Sony Ericsson tried and failed to remedy this with the persistently-delayed Xperia series, which when it was eventually released in September already felt dated. Even on safer ground – the camera/music phone market – Sony Ericsson looked uneasy with both the Aino and Satio plagued by screen troubles.

Winner: Apple

This year has seen an onslaught of smartphone hopefuls try to contend with Apple’s dominance, but the Cupertino-based company has seen off its rivals and remained on top of the game. While Android proved to be its strongest opposition, Apple’s App Store is still untouchable and with Orange, Tesco and Vodafone now selling the iPhone, more people than ever before will be wielding Apple’s sleek handset. Stay tuned for the Apple Tablet in 2010.

 

Winner: Android

Android first entered our lives in 2008 with the G1 phone, but in 2009 Google’s OS became a mobile institution as handset manufacturers rushed to bring out phones running Android. This year, Android’s App Market has been the only real contender to Apple’s App store while the Android-toting HTC Hero has proved itself just as capable as any iPhone. If rumours are to be believed, then the second-coming of the Google phone, the Nexus One, is not far away, and could be the android masterpiece to topple Apple from its throne.

Winner: Tesco

Until now supermarkets stacked their shelves with “iTVs” and “super-hi-fi-radio docks” that disintegrated within minutes. This year Tesco confirmed themselves as a tech superpower by securing a deal with O2 that would allow them to sell the iPhone. Tesco Extra stores are now packed with hi-end gadgetry complemented by their own tech support staff, giving you yet another reason to never even look at another shop again.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify conquered Europe this year. Record labels and fans alike adopted the music-with-ads model without so much as a blink, and offices and homes alike rang out free streaming music. In fact, the service was so popular it even spawned a mini hate campaign against one of its much-maligned spokespersons, Jonathan, who always managed to start bleating on about h


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