2009: A year in review, October

In October, the headline event was always going to be the release of Windows 7. Microsoft's latest operating system emerged blinking from the beta lounge, through the release candidate double doors, into the real world. It was met with a warm welcome from the world's reviewers, who heaped praise despite acknowledging that it was essentially a reskinned, patched, version of Vista.

There was a confusing range of options available - do you go for Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate edition? 32- or 64-bit? Upgrade or full edition? Academic discount, free upgrade, or full price? Luckily, Pocket-lint was on hand with a guide to steer you through the tangle of different choices.

Hardware support wasn't lacking, either. Almost every single laptop manufacturer in the world issued a "thin & light" machine running Windows 7 packing the latest ultra-low-voltage chips to grant increased battery life and decent performance, albeit with the trade off of very little gaming power.

But the month featured plenty of other releases too. Android 1.6 arrived on handsets - initially with the Acer Liquid A1 but rolling out to the HTC Magic and T-Mobile G1 too. However, the HTC Hero never received it and still hasn't - holding out for the 2.0 upgrade instead. That 2.0 upgrade was revealed on the Motorola Droid, which leaked in October alongside the HTC Droid Eris.

While we're on Android, the first netbook to be powered by an Android operating system arrived. The Acer Aspire One D250 packed a 10-inch screen, dual-booting of Android and Windows XP and a 160GB hard disk, but crucially didn't have the touchscreen that other Android netbooks promised.

Outside of Android, the Windows-Mobile-powered HTC HD2 and Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 touched down, as did the flagship BlackBerry Bold 9700 and BlackBerry InPulse Smartwatch. O2 also lost the exclusive on the iPhone, meaning that Orange, Vodafone and Tesco have since been able to get their claws into Apple's dominating smartphone.

In gaming, Microsoft attempted to launch Sky Player on the Xbox 360 but a whole host of glitches meant that it had to be pushed back several times before finally arriving operational on the console. Sony launched the PSP Go too, but the abandoning of the UMD disc, which many gamers had built up collections of, proved rather unpopular in many circles and the console hasn't yet sold well.

Photographers saw the arrival of the pro-focused Nikon DS3 and the Canon EOS 1D Mk IV, as well as the more lightweight, consumer-oriented, Canon Powershot G11.

The weather took a turn for the worse, just as Dyson launched its "Air Multiplier" - a bladeless fan which uses a clever application of fluid dynamics to achieve remarkable efficiency - 15 times more air pushed at you than it takes in through the turbine located in its base.

Meanwhile, Apple launched its Magic Mouse - the upgrade to the much-derided Mighty Mouse - which boasts multi-touch functionality in place of the original's scroll-ball. Users can use swiping and scrolling gestures to navigate through documents.

Google managed to threaten two industries in a week with the launch of fully-featured, free, turn-by-turn navigation on Android 2.0 and free streams of music tracks within search results. Both offerings only launched in the States, however, with the UK yet to hear when it'll get access.

One product that's long been available in the States that did make it to Britain in October, though, was the Kindle. Amazon's ebook reader, which sports a 6-inch screen, 2GB of memory and the ability to wirelessly access the Web, has yet to set the world alight, but the DX edition, due soon, could change all that.

Lastly, the news story that hit Twitter in the biggest way was that of Balloon Boy. The kid, who pretended to hide in a silver weather balloon, sparking off a nationwide search in the USA and sending the news channels loopy, was eventually revealed to be hiding in an attic all along. They should have signed him up to Google Latitude.