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15 December, 2011
The 10 biggest events for 2011, from the perspective of a mobile developer
Top news this year from a very exciting, fast-paced industry

After such an eventful year, chances are that if you skipped reading the news for even a day, you could be left in technology’s past. Yup, it was pretty much like in a Monthy Python sketch: there is no iPhone 5, but here’s this 4S. And now for something completely different: Microsoft buys Skype for billions and Nokia ditches Symbian for fledgling Windows Phone 7. There’s more, too. Read on.

Feb 11 - Nokia embraces Windows Phone as its primary mobile OS

Nokia and Microsoft dropped a bomb announcing they will be joining forces for an extensive collaboration. Windows Phone 7 becomes the primary smartphone OS for Nokia, however Symbian and MeeGo still remain in the picture. As a result, in October the first Windows Phone-ran Nokia devices were announced: the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800.
Further reading (outside source)

Mar - Android Market hit by data-stealing malware

More than 50 applications containing malware were discovered in Google's application market back in March when a hacker group stole apps, infused them with a Trojan virus and then republished the applications in the Market under different names. The Trojan steals infected phones’ sensitive data and downloads malicious code to them from remote servers. In just four days, the hijacked apps were downloaded between 50, 000 & 200, 000 times. To remotely delete the infected Android apps, Google threw a kill switch feature to the user phones. More Trojan-infused apps were discovered in August. This time they were used to record your phone calls.
Further reading (outside source)

Apr 22 - Sony admits: PlayStation Network hacked

After four days of disruption in April, Sony stated that hackers were responsible for the major PlayStation Network outage, which affected its user base of 70 million gamers worldwide. Also hacked were the Sony Online Entertainment servers and the data breached included personal data and credit card information. Another major hit followed in October when Sony suspended about 93,000 user accounts while it figured out how to protect itself. The company said it had “detected a large amount of unauthorized sign-in attempts.”
Further reading (outside source)

May 10 - Microsoft buy Skype for $8.5 billion, raise eyebrows

Microsoft offered a compelling $8.5 billion to Skype this May and now they call it their own. The closing came five months after Microsoft announced the deal. Microsoft is counting on Skype to help it catch up in some of the hottest markets in technology and media. Those areas include online socializing, mobile phones and digital video. Microsoft said Skype will operate as a division within the company and will be run by Skype CEO Tony Bates, who will report to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Further reading (outside source)

28 Jun - Microsoft head into the clouds

In October 2010, Microsoft unveiled a limited beta version of its Office 365 cloud service - the company's answer to Google Apps. It brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service in exchange for a monthly subscription. Launched publically in 40 markets in July 2011, the service is designed to help the company use its dominant position in business applications and carve out a similar role in the market for smartphone and tablet apps.
Further reading (outside source)

Aug 15 - Google announce they are acquiring Motorola Mobility

Back in August Google announced the acquisition of the cell-phone maker Motorola Mobility for a total of approximately $12.5 billion in one of the biggest deals in the tech world. With Motorola, Google gained a portfolio of 17,000 patents and another 7,000 patents pending globally. This is important because a month earlier, Google lost to Apple, Microsoft, et al a bid to acquire 6,000 wireless technology patents held by Nortel. For those who think it’s not just about the patents, with this move Google also entered the rows of the smartphone manufacturers, claiming more control over its ecosystem. The deal is still up for approval by the European Commission, which suspended their investigation in Dec until further feedback on the deal was provided.
Further reading (outside source)

Sep 20 - Google Wallet mobile payment system made available to the public

Google officially announced its NFC-based mobile payment system Google Wallet back in May. It is Google’s alternative to money and plastic cards, meant to change how we pay for merchandise and services. In Sept., Google Checkout completely transitioned to Google Wallet, which launched for the ‘public’ to use. Currently, Google Wallet allows users to make digital payments with their Citi Mastercard or Google Prepaid Card on their Sprint Nexus smartphone. Already some concerns have been raised about how securely the app stores credit cards data. A recent report by ViaForensics stated that while it did a decent job securing full credit cards numbers “the amount of data that Google Wallet stores unencrypted on the device is significant (pretty much everything except the first 12 digits of your credit card)."
Further reading (outside source)

Oct 5 - Steve Jobs Dies

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who changed the daily habits of millions by reinventing computing, the digital music store and the smart phone, died on Oct. 5 at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jobs was one of the world’s great entrepreneurs who gave the world the i-gadgets (iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad) and turned Apple into the most valuable company in the world. He resigned as Apple’s CEO in August and handed over the reins to the current chief executive Tim Cook. His death is considered a major loss for the tech industry.
Further reading (outside source)

Oct 10 - RIM pulls off Blackberry outage, lawsuits aplenty

Blackberry customers in the US and Canada filed class action suits against RIM over the four-day outage which started on Oct. 10. The outage left millions of users without instant messaging, email and net access. The lawsuits seek damages for breach of contract and negligence. Caused by a system failure and compounded by the failure of its back-up system the outage affected millions of users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. A few days after the incident, RIM offered some BlackBerry users a free month of technical support and $100-worth apps downloadable for free. In the following months, RIM continued to be ailed by other major setbacks, such as being sued for the trademark and having to change the name of its upcoming OS from BBX to BlackBerry 10.
Further reading (outside source)

Oct 14 - Apple releases iPhone 4S

Apple announced the launch of its new iPhone 4S on October 4 and released it on Oct. 14. While it was not the much-awaited iPhone 5 which disappointed millions of Apple fans across the world, the 4S still had more than 1 million preorders in the first 24 post-announcement hours. This jumped to four million iPhone 4S handsets sold over its first weekend. One of the most delightful things about the 4S was the introduction of the intelligent voice system Siri, aka “your personal assistant” plus an updated version of the iOS software, iOS5 which spread like fire.  
Further reading (outside source)