There were some huge tech stories in 2014, from numerous acquisitions taking place between some of tech's biggest names, to cyber attacks, exciting product developments and disappointing device failures.
Remember when Facebook acquired Oculus Rift and WhatsApp, splashing out over $18 billion in the process? Or when Samsung was in the hot seat after its Note 3 snapped the famous Hollywood A-Lister selfie which broke Twitter? It's been an eventful year to say the least and with the Apple Watch and Google's Project Ara modular phone set to take to the stage in 2015, we can only hope for the same over the next 12 months.
Here we have rounded up the top 11 tech moments of 2014, so sit back, relax and remember the good and bad times.
Apple joined wearables race
Apple announced the much-rumoured Apple Watch back in September, alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and while the company's first wearable hasn't been released yet, it's expected to arrive early(ish) 2015 with a price tag starting at $349 (around £224).
There will be several variations of the device, starting with two different sizes, but there will also be a Sport option and Watch Edition, both of which will offer different materials and price points. The Apple Watch will offer plenty of exciting features when it arrives, including Smart Replies, whereby it will read an incoming message and offer intelligent reply options based on the content, for example.
Hackers gonna hack
There have been several hacks throughout 2014, with some huge companies feeling the wrath of online individuals and groups, including Apple, Sony and Microsoft. The iCloud fiasco was one of the first to hit headlines after several celebrity's iCloud accounts were broken into, leading to some rather uncompromising images hitting the Internet.
Sony Pictures Entertainment became a victim of a cyber attack more recently, said by the FBI to be instigated by North Korea, over the film The Interview. The film stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as journalists who are working with the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and while it was originally pulled, it has since been made available on Google Play and other places.
Sony was then hit again, alongside Microsoft when a hacking group known as the Lizard Squad brought down Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network over Christmas in a DDoS attack. The team brought the services down for several days, stopping gamers playing or download games online during the holiday period. Bad times.
Microsoft said bye to Nokia name
Microsoft finalised the acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services business at the beginning of 2014 for a total of €5.44 billion (£4.23 billion) and after appointing a new CEO and shaking a few things up internally, the Redmond-based company also made the decision to ditch the Nokia branding for its Lumia phones, thus ending a long-term relationship between the Nokia name and premium mobile phones.
The Lumia 535 was the first smartphone to arrive without the Nokia branding, announced in November, and while it wasn't as exciting as some might have expected the first Microsoft Lumia to be, it wasn't bad for the price. A 5-inch IPS LCD display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and two 5-megapixel snappers on the front and rear of the device are all on-board for €110. Still sad to see Nokia go though.
Samsung selfie breaks Twitter
Samsung's Galaxy S5 might not be the biggest headline grabber of 2014, but its Note 3 certainly had its fair share of publicity after a selfie taken by Bradley Cooper, with Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres' Note 3, broke Twitter for a brief period following a record number of over 3.3 million retweets.
DeGeneres (with the aid of Cooper) wasn't the only one snapping selfies with the Note 3 however. Whether sincere or sponsored, baseball player David Ortiz captured the moment of him meeting President of the United States Barack Obama and handing him a Boston Red Sox jersey. Ortiz denied that Samsung paid him to take the shot, which didn't amuse the White House much, but no matter what the truth is in that istance, the Note 3 was the clear winner for famous selfies.
Motorola: OK Google, I'll go to Lenovo
Google sold its Motorola Mobility subsidiary to Lenovo for $2.91 billion at the beginning of 2014 in a deal that saw the Chinese company garner the Motorola brand and line of current and future Motorola products, including the budget smartphone game-changer - the Moto G. It cannily held onto the line of patents originally acquired however.
"The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones. We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space,” said Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo at the time of the acquisition. There have been a number of Motorola devices launch this year including the second generation Moto G, Moto X, Moto E and the huge 6-inch Motorola-made Nexus 6.
Smartwatches got smarter
Android Wear, an Android-like platform designed specifically for wearables, was announced by Google in March 2014 and although the first devices to sport it weren't perfect, the operating system can certainly lay claim to making smartwatches smarter.
Extending the Android platform to wearables, Android Wear packs in all sorts of exciting features and manages to make the phrase "OK Google" rather too familiar. As 2014 progressed, more and more devices with the system arrived from the highly anticipated Motorola Moto 360 to the LG G Watch R and Samsung Gear Live. None of them quite nailed it this year, but the LG G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch were among our favourites.
READ: Android Wear review
Facebook put its fingers in more pies
Social networking site Facebook has been busy in 2014 and we don't just mean by manipulating News Feeds. Dipping its fingers into a few more pies, Zuckerberg's baby acquired messaging service WhatsApp for more than $16 billion, as well as virtual reality company Oculus and its Rift headset for $2 billion.
WhatsApp was said to be on the path to connect 1 billion people, using your 3G or Wi-Fi network to send and receive messages. It is available across iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry and enables users to send pictures, audio notes and video messages for free with a data connection.
Oculus Rift is a head-mounted display with a high-resolution OLED display inside that totally encompasses your vision no matter which way you turn, making you believe you are in the virtual world you are in. A consumer version was initially said to be released in late 2014, early 2015 but sadly, we are still waiting.
Apple went big, despite saying it wouldn't
Apple defended its 4-inch and smaller displays for years, despite its competition's devices becoming larger and larger. The Cupertino company bit the bullet in 2014 however, with the introduction of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus; the latter of which marking Apple's official entry into the phablet world.
Previous iPhones look tiny compared to the latest additions, and while a couple of iPhone 6 Plus models caused the Bendgate debacle, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were the best selling iPhones in the smartphone's seven-year history. There were 10 million sold after the first weekend, 4.3 million of which came from the first 24 hours. In 2007, Apple said it took 74 days to sell the first one million iPhones, while the latest earning report now states the company sells one million every three days.
Amazon played with Fire
Amazon took its first step into the smartphone arena when it launched its 3D-enabled Fire Phone in the summer of 2014 with a price tag starting at $199 for the 32GB model, but the device didn't do as well as the company expected.
David Limp, a senior vice president at Amazon, admitted to Fortune that there were a surplus of $83 million worth of unsold Fire Phones but the site also claimed Amazon would be continuing the smartphone line. "I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right," Limp said. "But we're also willing to say, 'we missed.' And so we corrected." Considering the first Kindle was regarded as a flop by critics in 2007 and the eReader family is now far from that, perhaps the Fire Phone will follow the same path and be one to watch for 2015?
Google Project Ara presented a slice of the future for phones
Google Project Ara was detailed during the software giant's developer conference back in April 2014, presenting how the company plans to change the future of mobile phones by creating a modular device that will do to hardware what apps did to software.
The second Project Ara Module Developers Conference will take place in Mountain View on 14 January where the next major release of the Ara Module Developers Kit will be announced, making the project a little more tangible. The idea behind Project Ara is a modular smartphone that allows you to build your own perfect smartphone by investing and upgrading the elements most important to you such as camera or storage.
3D continued to die
It wasn't too long ago that 3D was seen as the next "big thing" when it came TVs. However one nail was put firmly in the coffin when BBC reported it was pulling out of broadcasting in the technology at the end of 2013 and a second nail went in when in September 2014 when Sky decided not to schedule any Premier League football matches on its dedicated channel.
Sky was originally one of the pioneers of 3D but a spokesman for the broadcaster told The Telegraph: "Sky 3D viewers tell us they love the channel. We're being more selective with what we chose to broadcast on Sky 3D, with a focus on movies and entertainment such as the Oscar-winning Gravity 3D and David Attenborough's latest 3D documentary series coming up at Christmas." With Sky choosing to be more selective, ESPN shutting its 3D channel and BT Sport saying 3D was the "biggest waste of time", it certainly doesn't look good for the technology's survival in 2015.
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