Year in review: 2011, December
And so, on the eve of the new year, which marks the end of 2011, we also come to an end of our month-by-month retrospective. We've laughed, we've cried, we've laughed again, and then we stayed off the nitrous oxide for a while. All said and done it's been a great year for technology.
December hasn't disappointed either. In a month obviously dominated by a fat bloke in a garish suit (and not Russell Grant), we were worried that there'd be little else to report on. But thankfully, while Christmas obviously captured our focus in some areas, we still had plenty of cool gadgets and gizmology to report on...
Year in Review:
Future tech-heavy London bus unveiled
Mayor of London Boris Johnson was ecstatic to reveal one of eight new bus designs that will soon be gracing the streets of England's capital. Designed and built in the UK, and styled on the old Routemasters that operated in London until 2005, this new version has a hybrid engine that is heavy on fuel economy, running more than twice farther than its conventional diesel counterparts on the same load. Read more.
Samsung Galaxy Note used by Spencer Hart tailors
To celebrate the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note in the UK, the Korean company teamed with renowned British men's design brand Spencer Hart. The latter's tailors are to use the 5.3-inch Android device to measure prospective buyers and celebrities during fittings for custom-made suits, which they demonstrated to Pocket-lint on movie star Rufus Sewell. Read more.
LG Prada 3.0 smartphone falls into our grasp
We were pleased to see that this third tie-in between fashion label Prada and Korean manufacturer LG resisted the urge to add bling and sparkle, opting instead for classic lines, a monotone colour scheme, and user interface to match. It's no slouch either, with a dual-core 1GHz processor and 1GB of dual-channel memory. Available in South Korea initially, another impressive factor is the price; 899,800 Won (around £500) - if the price stays around that sum, it could be goer in the UK too. Read more.
Nokia claims youths are bored of the iPhone
Part inspiration, part example of foot-in-mouth disease, Niels Munksgaard, director of Portfolio, Product Marketing & Sales at Nokia Entertainment Global exclusively told us that he believes youths are bored of the iPhone and baffled by Android. And this is why he thinks that younger people are switching to Windows Phone 7. No, really. Read more.
Limited edition Batman Nokia Lumia 800 launched
To celebrate the forthcoming new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, Nokia produced a limited edition Lumia 800 adorned with the iconic bat logo, and spattered with themed content throughout. We managed to get our hands on one in order to bring you a swathe of pictures and a full hands-on before a courier had to wrestle it out of our firm grip. There are only 40 of them in the world. Read more.
Xbox Live Dashboard update goes live
Coming a day late (in the UK, at least) the latest Xbox Live Dashboard update was worth waiting for. Adding Bing search functionality (including Kinect voice control) and a style based on the Metro tiled UI of Windows Phone 7 and the forthcoming Windows 8, the new features were soon to be expanded further with the launch of several content partners in app form, including 4OD and 5 on Demand. Read more.
OnLive demos iPad, Android and Kindle Fire apps
When we first saw the OnLive Player app on multiple tablet devices, it was understood that it would be released for iPad and Android simultaneously. However, while the Android version is now available for download, which allows you to play full console-quality titles on a compatible 'droid device, the iPad edition seems to be stuck in Apple approval hell. We're sure we're not the only ones hoping the Cupertino company gets a wriggle on. Read more.
iTunes Match hits the UK... eventually
iTunes Match, Apple's cloud-based music service that reads your local library and offers 256Kbps versions to stream when mobile, finally launched in the UK... twice. The first time it appeared on iTunes, it was soon pulled, with nary an explanation as to why. However, any launch hiccups were soon rectified and it reappeared later the same day. Read more.
Spotify boss exclusively reveals plans for iPad app
During a chat about the in-client Spotify apps that launched during the month, the company's UK managing director Chris Maples exclusively told Pocket-lint that the music steaming service was finally working on a dedicated iPad app. He said that such an application was a "priority", and that it was "absolutely in the pipeline". Something to look forward to for the new year, then... Read more.
Facebook Timeline rolls-out globally
Although developers (and the Pocket-lint team) had access to Facebook Timeline for several months, it was finally rolled-out globally, with New Zealanders getting their mitts on it first. Essentially, it added a more newspaper/blog-style stream to your Facebook profile that's far easier on the eye than the former text-heavy approach. Read more.
Pocket-lint gets sneaky peak inside Google London HQ
Google opened up the doors of its London headquarters to show the think tanks and office environment its workers on the fourth floor experience each day. There's a pool and games room, a velvet-lined band room complete with soundproofing, drums, piano and guitars, and a "Coffee Lab" ensuring that Googleites are full of enough caffeine to work late into the night, no doubt. Read more.
The world's loudest (and silliest) iPhone dock revealed
At CES in Las Vegas next month, Pocket-lint will get to try out the "world's loudest iPhone dock", which was revealed to us in December. It may look utterly ludicrous, but the Behringer iNuke Boom is 4 foot by 8 foot and capable of playing audio at over 10,000 Watts of power. We're scared. We're very scared. Read more.
Ice Cream Sandwich announced for Nexus S
Although it may not be coming to all Android devices, with a will it/won't it argument surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S, owners of the second of Google's own devices, the Nexus S, are already seeing Ice Cream Sandwich arrives on their handsets. Those that haven't are being assured that it is on its way. Read more.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime priced
It was revealed that, contrary to rumour, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer will be coming to the UK in January 2012, priced at £499 all in. That means that both the Tegra 3-powered Android tablet and its keyboard docking station will be available together for just shy of £500. That's if Transformers toys manufacturer Hasbro doesn't succeed in blocking its sale, that is. Read more.
Dubious iPhone 5 details "leak"
Not a month can go by without some spurious iPhone gossip. This time, it was that a "close source" had informed BGR that the next generation of the smartphone would use rubber/plastic in part of an all-new design. "In all likelihood, this material will be used as a bezel surrounding the front edge of the phone," said the site. "Codswallop," say we. Read more.
MacBook Air compact arrives in time for Chrimbo
Not the new MacBook Air announcement we were hoping for, and if it was it'd be strictly for tiny wee people - like The Borrowers or something - the Miroir de poche MirrorBook Air compact from French etailer w3shstore purported to be the ideal present for the vainest of geeks. Read more.
Pope lights massive Christmas Tree using Sony tablet
The fact that Pope Benedict XVI was to illuminate the world's biggest Christmas tree (made from lights on a mountainside in Gubbio, Umbria, Italy) was one thing; that he was to use a Sony tablet running "an Android operating system" was quite another. Clearly, the pontiff isn't a fan of webOS. Read more.
Largest ever Lego Christmas Tree graces London station
Italy may have sported the largest tree made from lights, but London's St Pancras train station was graced with the tallest one made entirely out of Lego. Consisting of approximately 400,000 individual bricks and requiring a steel frame to support its three-tonne-weight, the tree was constructed by the UK's only certified LEGO professional, Duncan Titchmarsh. And to think, we found it taxing to build a fire truck this Christmas time. Read more.
Google relaunches NORAD Santa tracking tool
A massive success in 2010, the NORAD Santa tracking tool returned this year, thanks to a partnership with Google. Starting at 7am 24 December, the client, using Google Earth and Google Maps, showed each location visited by Father Christmas as he made his rounds across the planet. Only to the good kids, mind. Read more.
Michelin star chef cooks Pocket-lint Xmas dinner using apps
When we decided to try to create a whole Christmas dinner using only apps on our smartphones and tablets, little did we know that we'd be enlisting the aid of Michelin star-awardee, and stalwart of the Great British Chefs, Bruno Loubet. Needless to say, his Christmas quails dish was to die for. And his tips were welcomed by Pocket-lint readers everywhere. Read more.