The Best of Mobile 2012: Products, Lawsuits and Bump Offs

The year is almost at its end, and 2012 has been a big year for mobile.  We’ve seen some great products released on the market, some interesting developments in the BYOD space, and some amazing apps that have taken the world by storm.  As we prepare to ring in 2013, let’s take a look at the top News stories in the Mobile space from this year, broken down into segments so you don’t get too overwhelmed.

Top Product Releases

Apple: Introduced and released the “New iPad” or iPad 3 in March, followed by the release of the iOS 6, iPhone 5, 5th generation iPod Touch and the latest iPod nano in September, then the release of the iPad mini and the revamped iPad 3

Samsung: Unveiled the Galaxy Note 10.1 at the Mobile World Congress in February, followed by the Galaxy SIII in March, the Galaxy Note II in August, then later on launched a Galaxy SIII mini in October.

Google: In March, Google unveiled the rolled-into-one Android Market, Google Music, and Google eBookstore, now dubbed as Google Play. Unveiled the Nexus 7, Nexus Q, Project Glass or Google Glass and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at the Google I/O.

Though their big event in New York was postponed because of Hurricane Sandy, the search giant still managed to amaze everyone when they revealed the Nexus 4 –  a smartphone co-created by LG, the revamped Nexus 7 – a small tablet co-created by ASUS, and the Nexus 10 – a regular sized tablet co-created by Samsung.  In October they released a new version of Jelly Bean, Android 4.2.  They also recently released Google Maps apps for iOS to help people find their way.

Microsoft: Officially released Windows 8, WIndows Phone 8 and the Surface RT at the end of October.

Nokia: Unveiled the Nokia 808 PureView at the Mobile World Congress, the Lumia 920 in September though they got called for faking the video for the ad, two additions to their low-end Asha line the 308 and the 309 in September, and two more feature phones in November, the Asha 205 and the Nokia 206.  They’ve also infiltrated iOS devices with the launch of Nokia HERE – their answer to the Apple Maps kerfuffle.

HTC:  Unveiled two Windows Phone 8 devices in September,  the Windows Phone 8X and the Windows Phone 8S.

Amazon: Updated their Kindle line with two e-readers, the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Paperwhite 3G, and three HD Kindle Fire tablets –  theKindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9” and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G LTE Wireless.

Barnes & Noble: Not to be outdone by Amazon, B&N also released HD versions of their Nook tablets.  One falls in the 7-inch category, the other in the 9-inch category.

Research in Motion: At the BlackBerry World 2012, they unveiled the BlackBerry Music Gateway –  a gadget that allows music streaming via near field communication.

Facebook: Launched App Center – an app store for both iOS and Android devices that features both native and web apps integrated with Facebook.

Photo filters: Since Instagram deleted their Twitter cards that prevent Instagram users from directly sharing on Twitter, Twitter and Flickr updated their mobile apps to feature photo editing and photo filters to compete with Instagram – just in time for the holidays.

Top Patent Brawls & Deals

It was this year that LG joined the horde of Android lovers to sign a licensing deal with Microsoft.

But the World Series of patent brawls took center stage in April when Google and Oracle appeared in court over patents and technology used in the Android platform.  Google came out the victor with the jury stating that they did not infringe any of Oracle’s patents.

Motorola had their share of ups and downs in the courtroom this year as they won two German rulings against Apple but they lost their streak with case involving the use of mathematical sequences in mobile telecommunications.

Apple was quite busy with their numerous court appearances this year, with their revived case against Motorola which was then dismissed, their numerous cases against Samsung with one of them ending in a $1.05 billion verdict, being sued for the iPad trademark by Proview Technology, but surprisingly, Apple and HTC decided that lawsuits aren’t their thing so they entered a licensing agreement to put an end to their court battles.

Samsung of course was not about to let Apple walk off with a billion dollars, and is calling for jury misconduct, while added more devices to their lawsuit.

Nokia filed a lawsuit against HTC, RIM and Viewsonic for allegedly infringing 45 of their patents.

Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s e-book business and college texts which brought about a subsidiary dubbed as Newco.

Top Product Shutdowns

Then Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson killed 10 mobile apps as they shift focus to social TV and news.

In March, Dell discontinued production of two smartphones, the Venue and the Venue Pro, then just recently, announced that they will be abandoning their smartphone business altogether and they have no plans of re-entering it in the near future.

Nokia shuts down Nokia Money in India.

HTC shuts down Sao Paolo office and pulled out of Brazil altogether to concentrate on the Asian mobile market.

Motorola killed off unsuccessful Webtop, it was barely noticed.

After denying rumors and reassuring people that they’re here to stay, Color Labs finally called it quits and would end operations on December 31, 2012.

Sony to cut 2,000 jobs by the end of 2012 as their camera plant in Japan shuts down.

Top acquisitions

Nokia acquires Norwegian company Smarterphone that has an operating system for feature phones in January.

Facebook made a number of acquisitions to beef up their mobile offerings such as TagTile, Instagram, and Lightbox.

Samsung acquired mSpot, a leading cloud music service provider and launched iTunes’ rival, Music Hub.

The Google-Motorola Mobility acquisition received its final approval from China.
Motorola acquired image and gesture recognition company, Viewdle, to beef up their mobile offerings.

The big names of the tech industry were quite busy with product launches, acquisitions, court appearances and deadpooled products.  Wonder what they’ll be bringing in 2013?