My top 10 tech highlights of 2009

2009 was definitely not the best year of my blogging. But was a very happening year in the tech arena. I have compiled my favourite top 10 tech events/products which caught my attention. The top 10 is ranked based on how big a hit (or flop) the product was or how much attention it gathered.

10. Windows Mobile 6.5/ Windows MarketPlace
Microsoft released the stopgap, not in the roadmap, version of Windows Mobile, to arrest their landslide in the Mobile market. With Blackberry, Android, iPhone and Palm Pre raising the bars, this was more of an act of desperation.
Though it had some positives, the launch was damp as not all the mobiles received upgrades to the new OS.
Again coming to Windows Marketplace, the situation was more or less the same. Only WM6.5 phones could use the Marketplace, and it is still not supported in most of the countries.

Verdict: Sloppy launch and post-launch and mediocre product pulled it down.
Status: Flop

9. Internet Explorer 8
Another story plummeting market share. After 2 years in exile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer team released a much needed upgrade to Internet Explorer7. It boasted of standards compatibility, ease of use, tabs etc. Though it had a lot of positives and was the new generation browser, it was no match to the new breed of browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc. All it managed was captured a major chunk IE market share (market shared between previous versions of IE).

Verdict: Improved usability, compatibility and features. Sloppy handling of tabs and in general slower.
Status: Near flop.

8. iPhone 3GS
Apple fans got to see a few launches in 2009. Which included the new iPod Shuffle, Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3GS. Definitely iPhone launch was the biggest. Commercially the new iPhone was a success, with it selling over a million phones in a week. But, the phone was not a great overhaul for a tech enthusiast as it did not have major feature upgrades.

: The new upgrade was a nice crowd puller, but was not a major feature upgrade.
Status: Average.

7. Chrome/ Chrome OS
The first stable (non-beta) Chrome browser was launched on December 2008. But it soon became the 3rd most used browser just behind IE and Firefox. Google was not content though, and went on to announce the web based Chrome OS. The announcement was initially met with mixed opinions, but the mounting concern of privacy and Eric Schmidt's controversial take on it has weakened the prospects.

Still early to decide, but looks like a simple shell for basic users.
Status: Average

6. Ubuntu 9.10/9.04
As in the previous years, we saw two launches of Ubuntu in 2009, and each of them in entirely different scenarios. The first launch 9.04 received positive reviews. It was a major overhaul to the UI and driver compatibility. Ubuntu 9.04 equalled Windows in its ease of use and compatibility. Also, it had many takers as Vista was a pain in the arse for most of the Windows users.
But the latter version 9.10's launch was shadowed by the Windows7 and Snow Leopard. 9.10 did not have major features to offer, other than improvements to 9.04 and the Ubuntu Cloud.

Verdict: Ubuntu's credibility and market presence increased many folds in 2009 nearing to Linux is Ubuntu for Desktop users.
Status: Fair hit

5. Google Wave
One of the most hyped web application launches of 2009, and that too by Google. Launched after months of videos, tech presentations, blogs etc. The idea of Wave was welcomed by all and everybody was excited. But, the launch ended up damp. All that people had to say was, " I have 10 more invites, anybody want?"

Verdict: After the pre-launch hype, all Wave to create was a wave of unused invites.
Status: Flop

4. Palm Pre.
Mobile phones were definitely the major news makers in 2009, and it was Palm's all-in bet. And luckily for them Pre and WebOS met with positive reviews and opinions. It sold over 10000 unit over the weekend of launch. Better Multi-tasking, soothing UI and nice browser helped it gain market share.

Verdict: Palm and Sprint had their best run with the Pre's launch though the sales dipped in the 4th Quarter.
Status: Hit

3. Bing
Microsoft had a very good 2009. Bing was one of the reasons. After half a dozen companies trying to bring a search engine to push Google off the king's spot and failing, Microsoft was brave enough to give a fight. After the debacle the second attempt Bing took off. Bing has already captured around 10% with an year of launch. And already Bing's homepage wallpapers is a phenomenon.

Verdict: Bing cached on the innovative search engine and UI and people wanting to try something other than Google.
Status: Hit

2. Motorola Droid
Droid is to iPhone what Bing is to Google. Over a dozen of iPhone-killers have been announced since its launch but none caught on. Motorola had its last chance to revive itself with the Android phone. With some help from Google (exclusive Android 2.0 OS), some stunning hardware specs and AT&T poor show Droid became a runaway hit. Droid should have sold around a million handsets by now.
Verdict: Genuinely good phone with slick marketing helped Droid gather momentum and market share.

1. Windows 7
Though I listed my 9 major tech highlights of 2009, I will always remember 2009 as the year of Windows7. After the debacle of the decade, Windows Vista, Microsoft regrouped fast and brought out the best OS till date. It broke all the sales records, Amazon pre-orders surpassed Vista sales in 8 hours. Within days of launch it was sold out in many places. It even crossed the Snow Leopard market share in 2 weeks.
Apart from the sales statistics, the OS was genuinely fresh and friendly. In major benchmarks it beat Windows XP and Vista, and got mostly 9/10 in reviews. Microsoft worked more the stability and compatibility than on adding more and more features that does not work.
2009 will definitely be remembered as the year of Windows 7.

Verdict: One of the best desktop operating systems launched till date. Lived up to Microsoft's slogan for the OS "making your PC simple".
Status: Hit
And that is it. Again, this is the top 10 highlights which would come to my mind when I say 2009. If you have a different list, I would be happy to hear about it.


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