BANGALORE, INDIA: As is with every passing year, 2012, too, brought along its share of fortune and fiasco. The Indian world of technology was no exception, as it underwent chequered phases, alternating between good and bad times.
Throughout the eventful year, there were gadgets galore, new services being announced and trends that were passing clouds as well as a few, which are here to stay.
If we look back at the developments of 2012, it makes for an interesting study, replete with successes, flops and events that fall in between. An attempt by CIOL to compile a comprehensive set of developments threw up a mixed bag, which we list out below.
‘Apple’ of eyes
After a long wait, Indians could get their hands on to the latest devices from Apple – the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Upon launch, the smartphone price started from Rs. 45,500 and the tablet hit the store shelves with a tag of Rs. 21,900, which were something along the expected lines.
While some were disappointed over lack of any major innovation, the bigger screen size of iPhone 5 and that the smaller version of the iPad had as many features as its big cousin at a much lower price tag were reasons enough to bring about cheer.
“We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.” It is this unforgiving nature of the hacktivist group, Anonymous, that gave many a government, not the least Indian authorities, nightmares.
The group is not one to take the hundreds of curbs on Internet freedom and was always waiting to hit back, by launching DDoS attacks on public agency websites and even hacking and bringing down websites of the Congress party and that of Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal. It might only intensify in 2013.
Buoyed by BYOD
Though the concept has been in vogue in parts of Europe, U.S. and other developed countries for some time now, India warmed up to the idea of Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) in 2012.
Now, more companies in India have come forward inviting their employees to carry their personal devices, be it a laptop, notebook, ultrabook, tablet or other smart devices. Of course, there are still some concerns over security issues in letting staff members bringing their own devices and accessing an official network, but increasing adoption will reassure the pessimists.
The inherent power of social media was never before unearthed as much as in 2012. We don’t have to go beyond the recent horrifying gang-rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi and subsequent protests that ensued. The anti-government protests were almost entirely communicated, co-ordinated and successfully conducted through social media networks, including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
India, with a majority of its population being under-30, took to social media like a fish would to water, so much so even the powers-that-be in the government were not averse to it. From Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who issued a series of Twitter statements on the gang-rape, to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi – with a Google+ Hangout session to his credit – and adviser to the PM on Public Infrastructure, Information and Innovations, Sam Pitroda, all were on it and utilized its power to the fullest.
India’s cheap, ‘healthy’ tablet
The upgraded version of Aakash, India’s ambitious cheap tablet, was unveiled at a subsidized rate of around Rs. 1,130, making it an attractive deal.
However, the Wi-Fi enabled tablet, which works on Android operating system, would be utilized first to train teachers before it reaches the hands of students, the actual intended beneficiaries. Some critics also point out that it being only Wi-Fi enabled is a handicap.
Low battery life and lack of some great apps were also cited as a drawback.
A new Windows
Along with the launch of its much-awaited tablet, Surface, the unveiling of Windows 8 platform should rank as the biggest event for Microsoft in 2012.
As for its features, the tile format was hailed as innovative and exciting, but many developers felt that it could offer a great user experience only on touch-enabled devices and not traditional PCs and laptops.
It is also perceived that Microsoft is thinking ahead into the future, as smart devices are gaining traction in recent times. So, one has to wait and watch as to how Windows 8 would be adopted in future.
Act on IT!
If at all there was a major flop this year, it should be the arrests involving social media posts and messages, some of which were merely liked by users.
That the Indian government invoked the Article 66A of the Information Technology Act didn’t go down well with Internet freedom activists, who gathered under several names to protest against the rule and pressing for an amendment.
Not so ultra
Despite all the hype surrounding ultrabooks, it was not the year to be for the lighter version of notebooks. While they do have a better processor and longer power back-up, because of the upsurge in tablet sales put the brakes on ultrabook market.
And, since there are other alternatives, this segment is likely to get stagnated in the coming years as well.