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WEB MASTER TUCKER HOTTES Looks Back at 2012 Tech News

This year offered a few pleasant surprises
It would seem the apocalypse is a sliding target, and fortunately the Myans’ lack of space on a stone tablet spared us this time around. I figure by New Year’s Day we’d run out of adjustments and corrections to that whole Dec. 22 nonsense. I’m sure it won’t be long before we run up against some other crackpot theory — at least they’ll continue to give us excuses to have “end of the world” parties.
With 2012 behind us, I snuck a quick look back to my beginning-of-the-year column outlining what I expected out of the tech world in the then-newborn year. I thought we’d start hearing a lot more about the ultra-high-def 4K (4096×2304) standard, but aside from some pretty setups at the Consumer Electronics Show, the market wisely decided it was more important to keep pushing cheaper and more web-connected regular HD sets. I’m still quite a while away from buying a new TV, so the relative stagnation in the market is fine by me.
In 2011, I wrote a column bemoaning the lull in the smartphone market, and early in ’12 I predicted it would be a much more exciting year for mobile devices. That turned out to be something of an understatement (unless you’re an Apple fan, I guess). We saw the release of some of the best, fastest Android devices to date, and Google and the phone manufacturers really put effort into bringing most modern devices on 4.0 or higher versions of the OS. I ditched my venerable Droid X for a Samsung Galaxy S3, and couldn’t be happier with it (other than the huge cracks that appeared after a fall from a minivan cab to the cold NYC pavement — oops).
What I definitely didn’t see coming was the absolute explosion of the tablet market. The iPad really kicked things off and got the market swirling, but the rise of the smaller tablets in a 7-inch configuration really made a splash by the end of the second quarter. Even Apple saw the writing on the wall, and released the “iPad Mini” in the fall, going squarely against Steve “screw you, we’ll never make a smaller iPad” Jobs. It would appear Steve Jobs’ spiritual forces are no match for market forces, though.
Hollywood, for the most part, really came through in 2012, and it seems like studios are starting to pay more attention to things like plot and character (even in action/comic movies) rather than simply putting together a loud, colorful 90-minute merchandising vehicle. Oh, we still had plenty of those, but I was generally pleased with the quality of what hit the theaters this year. It was also a record-breaking year for movies, so all that complaining Hollywood has been doing about declining revenue will hopefully end.
Overall, there were a few pleasant surprises in 2012 and nothing particularly fell flat in the world of tech and entertainment. I’ll be checking in soon with an outlook for the year ahead, but my preliminary prediction is that it looks like we’ll be in for more of an incremental year in tech. We might hear some big video game news, but the mobile arena appears to be somewhat stable for the moment and Hollywood’s slate is already mostly revealed. Whatever happens, though, rest assured I’ll be there to deconstruct and occasionally (OK, usually) make fun of all the big tech news.
Happy New Year!