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Year 2012: When gadgets got brains

Nandagopal Rajan     December 21, 2012
Nandagopal Rajan
Nandagopal Rajan
This was an amazing year for technology. Things became smaller, they became smarter and, of course, swifter. While the year was an inflection point for many technologies , one in which we abandoned many things we had become used to for long, it was also a year in which some products became synonymous with the companies that sold them.

Computing changed drastically, first with the introduction of the Ultrabook and Intel superfast processors and then with Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt to change the way the world's most popular operating system operates. But technology changed so fast that Ultrabooks were reinventing themselves to cope with the new touch-based Windows 8. So much so that we were looking at new form factors like hybrids and Ultrabook convertibles that twisted and turned to bring the screen closer to the user. This could have been the last year we saw non-touch laptops or optical drives in regular laptops.

The smartphone space was dominated by large screen phones that strived to do what tablet were doing by giving users more real estate to play with. This also meant there was a push for processors that had two or more cores which let them take on multiple tasks at the same time. The flagship phones across brands cost four times more than what you would pay for a regular handset. Towards the fag end of the year, there was clear move towards making phones cheaper with most companies coming up with smartphones that were affordable and still not underpowered.

Cameras, meanwhile, became smarter and more connected. With Android making inroads into the camera, these devices had to be connected to make full use of the new operating systems inside them. The possibilities of this synergy are endless, even if the first attempts lacked a lot of finesse.

Android, meanwhile, was powering more and more devices from televisions to personal video viewers. The television became smarter and larger. You can now watch anything that is on the Internet on the television, even as you filled it up with the same apps that you have on your smartphone. The television no longer deserves to be called the idiot box. And, in case you are still stuck with a dumber version of the TV, or cannot afford the smart ones, there is the option of getting some external brains in the form of smart boxes, again powered by Android.

If this was the year in which many devices got brains, the coming year promises to take convergence in devices and technologies to new levels. Hold on tight.

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