1. It’s still a duopoly in the smartphone world
Android devices and the iPhone make up an overwhelming majority of all smartphones, Windows Phone did not get the traction it hoped for
2. Apple once again upped the game for display quality with the third-gen iPad
Apple upped the game for displays bringing a previously unthought of 2048x1536 pixel screen on the iPad 3
3. Android caught up in apps and got nearly all of iOS’s huge titles like Instagram and Flipboard
Android finally caught up in apps not just in numbers but in quality - the best apps are now launching almost simultaneously on iOS and Android, sometimes even first on Android. When it comes to tablet optimized titles, though, Apple still has the lead.
4. Cheap tablets became more of a reality
The Kindle Fire started in late 2011, the Samung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 picked it up in April, but the affordable tablet business will really take off in the second half with the arrival of the Nexus 7 tablet.
5. Big phones turned out to be a success
Big phones, phablets, call them whatever you want but the what Samsung started with the Galaxy Note was a huge success. The Note sold over 7 million, and while we still find it hard to use single-handedly, the device has grown on us and many users.
6. Flash is gone
Adobe Flash won’t be supported in Jelly Bean, it is not supported on the default Android Chrome browser and on mobile devices it’s dying even faster than we expected.
7. Patent wars raged on and we had the first casualties
The Galaxy Nexus was the first huge victim of the Apple’s legal battle with Samsung, and the big loser here were end users. So while patent law definitely makes sense in many cases, often times in these first six months we felt it was a huge deterrent to innovation.
8. Nope, no Ice Cream Sandwich for you yet!
The Android 4.0 update arrives painfully slow - it’s still on just 10% of existing Android devices. On the other hand, though, while not an excuse, it should be mentioned that there’s such a huge number of Android devices out there and so much variety, that it’s mostly carriers and phone makers fault, not Google’s.
9. The Samsung Galaxy S III is here
And it’s running on Ice Cream Sandwich, and it is pretty much everything we hoped it’d be - thin, powerful, with a gorgeous huge screen.
10. Nokia slumped catastrophically
For Nokia, the first Windows Phone devices didn’t bring enough sales, the company slumped worse than expected. All major credit rating agencies downgraded the Finns’ stock to junk, and it seems that only a PureView Windows Phone or some kind of a “Plan B” can save the company.
11. RIM’s co-CEO duo stepped down
The executive duo of RIM co-creator Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down and little known tech expert Thorsten Heins took over, but nothing seems to have changed and under the new executive sales continued sliding and BB10 was delayed.
12. Google Play is now just 50,000 apps short of beating the App Store selection
There are now 600,000 apps on Google Play, very close to the 650,000 apps on Apple’s App Store. Android’s market has grown tremendously by nearly 200,000 apps in four months, and we expect it to outgrow the App Store over the next couple of months.
13. Apple stepped up overseas employees oversight and regulation
While Apple can be criticized for a lot of things, and it should be as it’s now the world’s largest company, the company did make significant progress with the way it treats employees in China. Apple hired an independent overseer, raised wages, and put an end to unlawful lengthy overtime.
14. Nokia showed us the future of smartphone cameras
With its PureView technology on the Nokia 808 PureView, the Finnish company set the record straight as to who has the best cameraphone. Sadly, the 808 PureView runs on the now terribly dated Symbian, which makes it less of a smartphone and more of a camera.
15. Smaller platforms continued vanishing
It’s a duopoly for smartphones and the smaller operating system no longer stand a chance. webOS is going open source, MeeGo got the boot, bada is quietly slowing down and obviously put on the backseat for Samsung, Meltemi never even got official and odds are that other upcoming smaller platforms like the Firefox OS and Tizen don’t stand a huge chance of survival.
16. The first Intel-based smartphones are out
Intel’s Atom chip is now on smartphones and it’s relatively battery-efficient, but the first devices with it didn’t make a huge splash and it’s still largerly an ARM world.
17. Apple is even richer now
While everyone is struggling to squeeze out a profit out of smartphones, Apple is flourishing. The company in Cupertino has got $74 billion in overseas cash reserves and the highest market evaluation in the world.
18. Cloud storage becomes ubiquitous
In the first six months, more and more of our files flew into the cloud with all kinds of services. Since Android is so massive, the launch of Google Drive was the biggest news, but Apple is also successfully running its iCloud, Microsoft has the most storage with SkyDrive, and Dropbox is becoming the most popular platform-neutral option for storing your files.
19. Android finally started making it outside smartphones and tablets
Android’s open source nature finally starts showing up and with Google’s Project Glass and game consoles like the upcoming Ouya we got a taste of a future where computers will be embedded in our lives.
20. Motorola showed us that modern smartphones could last long with the RAZR MAXX
The RAZR MAXX showed us that you can cram in a huge battery in a smartphone and have it run for a full 24 hours without dying and that now seems like a huge deal as we get larger screens and phones struggle to last it through the day.
21. Shared data plans have finally arrived
Verizon Wireless, the US biggest carrier, finally got shared data plans at the end of June, but they are not all that much of a deal. While you can get 10 gigs of data on T-Mobile for $60 a month, on Verizon sharing 10GB will cost you $100.