2009: A year in review, February
In February 2009, it snowed. With even London covered in winter, it should have come as no surprise that this would be the darkest month of the global recession. While children and adults alike played on days off work, little did knew that they wouldn't have any jobs to go back to at all.
Results were down at Dell, and Pionneer announced they'd be ceasing TV production while there were cuts at Vodafone, Panasonic, Kodak, Carphone Warehouse and a voluntary redundancy scheme at Nokia.
It was a bad month for the BBC when Project Kangaroo finally went down in flames and Google was none too chuffed either as gmail choked and gchat was later infiltrated by a phishing scheme. The search giant probably had too many hands at other pumps with the launch of Latitude.
It was also the end of the line for Sony's Go!Messenger service on the PSP with a refreshingly frank statement admitting that there simply hadn't been the uptake that the company had been hoping for, plus there was the beginning of the Pirate Bay trial as played out live on Twitter as well as every other news channel out there.
Twitter itself announced its plans to finally marry the idea of revenue with success and there were promises the service would always be free, which was lucky for Stephen Fry given that he became responsible for much of the traffic when he hit 100,000 followers.
Thankfully, not everyone was thinking with their wallets and despite the cruel times it was a joy to see the Twitter community raise $250,000 for charity at Twestival events, even the UK Government chipped in by donating 1000 Secret Service-level wiped laptops to Africa.
February was, of course, all about Mobile World Congress 2009 with some excellent gadgets on show in the weird and wonderful shapes of the Sony Ericsson Idou, the see through LG GD900, the watchphone from the same company, the Arena, HTC Magic, Nokia N86, Samsung Pixon12 and Omnia HD, and - joy of joys - the agreement of 17 of the manufactures to standardise power adaptors to the Micro USB standard. Huzzah.
MWC was also where we heard about Windows Mobile 6.5 to a slightly smaller cheer, which meant the arrival of the HTC Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 as well as some more fringe offerings including the rugged i-mate 810-F and Sonim Land Rover S1. There were also the Garmin-Asus Nuviphones which the world seems to have forgotten that we're still waiting for. Add to that lot the news of the Toshiba TG01 and a £50,000 Bluetooth headset and it was a pretty interesting time in Barcelona.
At the same time, the UK operators were also having some fun of their own as Vodafone tested out 20Mbps mobile broadband and T-mobile stuck a knife in the back of the people's Internet by turning the flash mob into a corporate device. Android, too, had a moment with the arrival of paid for apps on the market place as well as news of an Archos tablet soon to be released running the Google OS.
All the while, the iPhone jogged past another milestone as O2 announced over 1 million of them had been sold in the UK and Apple itself brought HD to iTunes' shelves as well as handing us a little peak of Snow Leopard and announcing the Safari 4 "fastest browser in the world" beta.
Despite PMA not being until the following month, there seemed to be more camera announcements in February and most of them appeared to centre around compacts, and some stunners at that - with the Samsung TL320, the waterproof Canon D10 waterproof, the fantastic FujiFilm Finepix F200 EXR as well as great models from Nikon, Sony, Epson and Ricoh too.
As much fun as cameras were and are, it was ebook readers that really took the stage towards the end of the month with the launch of the Kindle DX, the Kindle 2 and even rumours of the Kindle 3 to follow. BeBook was also rumoured at the time as a budget alternative with Wi-Fi and Esquire's plans for an ebook magazine were certainly interesting if far fetched for 2009.
Finally in the hardware world, there was a little AV joy too. Sony gave us the Bravia line up, which included the picture frame TV, but it was Panasonic who took the plaudits by bringing the first Blu-ray recorder to the UK in its Freesat HD recorder boxes. They also managed a Viera fleet and nine sets of home cinema speakers too
For future gazers though, it was all about the launch of the awesome but obscure Microsoft Surface. Sadly one for the corporate world only for now.
Thankfully, the month ended better than it had started and there were celebrations all round as Spotify went into an open beta, Disney announced a Tron game, 1.8 million people downloaded a Resident Evil 5 demo and the Unix clock struck 1234567890. Also, there was a birthday to celebrate as Pocket-lint turned 6. Applause all round, please.