Top 10 Mobile Stories Of 2010

Dec 30, 2010 (11:12 PM EST)

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Lines of people waited hours for the honor of ownership when Apple released its iPhone 4, a marketing frenzy relatively undamaged by later reports of problems with the antenna that caused phone calls to drop, forcing Apple to implement a return policy for dissatisfied customers. In fact, within three days of its June launch, Apple sold more than 1.7 million iPhone 4 units direct and through partner AT&T, the company said. The model features FaceTime, a simple video-calling capability, and the high-resolution Retina display.

Whereas mobility once meant hefty luggables, today's mobility mavens now have their choice of netbooks and a new era of tablet computer. Propelled by Apple's introduction of the iPad -- and Research In Motion's anticipated early 2011 roll-out of its PlayBook-tablets are taking the consumer and business world by storm. Many IT departments now are incorporating these devices into future plans, sometimes replacing notebook purchase plans with tablets, according to some research estimates.


Apple Sells 1.7M iPhones In 3 Days

Review: iPhone 4 First Look

Apple iPhone 4, A True Teardown

iPhone 4 Launch: 1.5M Sold, 77% To Upgraders

Apple's FaceTime App Is Awesome

Apple iPhone 4 Rated Most Reliable Smartphone

BlackBerry Torch Cheaper To Build Than iPhone 4

Smartphone Death Match: iPhone 4 Versus Droid X

Apple Delays White iPhone 4 Again

iPhone 4 Has Glitchy Antenna, Users Say

Fix iPhone 'Death Grip' For Free, Urges Senator

Apple Boosts iPhone Sales Projections

iPhone 4 On Verizon In 2011?

Turns out, there truly is an app for that. And if there isn't, there will be soon. At least, that's what a quick check of developers' app stores would lead most people -- including analysts -- to believe. After all, by 2015, there will be almost 25 billion mobile apps, said Juniper Research. That's up from less than 2.6 billion in 2009, the research firm said. Recognizing the importance of apps LG, for example, in November began giving users up to $30-worth of free apps through Microsoft's Marketplace for Mobile with the purchase of a new Windows 7 phone. Apple's App Store has more than 300,000 available apps, and almost 100,000 apps are available for Google's Android through its Android Market and third parties, according to a July report by Business Insider.


Why Enterprise-Class Mobile Apps Are On Antenna's Radar

RIM: BlackBerry App World Has 10,000+ Apps

Best Mobile Apps For Busy Professionals

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Top 10 BlackBerry Apps For SMBs

17 Essential iPhone Apps For SMBs

Microsoft greased its marketing machine, hiring entertainers such as Katy Perry and Maroon 5 to promote its long-awaited Windows Phone 7 in November. Like competitor Apple, Microsoft chose AT&T -- as well as T-Mobile -- as its primary sales partner in the U.S. Initial demand appeared high, with devices selling out within the first day. Its newest telephone offering will propel Microsoft's share of the worldwide mobile OS market to 5.2% in 2011 from 4.7% in 2010, Gartner predicts. However, by 2014, the researcher expects Microsoft's share to fall to 3.9% as competitors Apple and Google gain share with their respective OSes.


Top 5 Reasons Windows Phone 7 Will/Won't Succeed

First Impressions Of Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 Hardware First Impressions

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Lineup

Marketplace For Windows Phone 7 Rich With Apps

Windows Phone 7 Launch In Review

Windows Phone 7 'Early' To Smartphone Market, Says Ballmer

Windows Phone 7 Still A Work In Progress

Dell: Windows Phone 7 Easier Than Android

Slideshow: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Revealed

Review: AT&T's Windows Phone 7 Handsets Tested

Windows Phone 7 Modified To Run Custom Apps

Microsoft Mum On Windows Phone 7 Sales

Android Tops Windows Phone 7 In Publishers' Plans

In early August, Research in Motion (RIM) made a splash with the debut of version 6 of its BlackBerry operating system. The new edition features a redesigned interface optimized for touch screens and track pads, expanded messaging capabilities, and is better-integrated with social media and RSS feeds, the company said. However, RIM fell behind Google's Android OS in the second quarter, according to NPD Group. Android is found in handsets from multiple vendors, such as HTC, Motorola, and Samsung, while RIM's OS used solely in the BlackBerry smartphone.


Four Steps To BlackBerry Success in 2011

BlackBerry OS Surpassed iOS Internet Usage In U.S.

BlackBerry 6 Missing Something On Non-Touch Phones

Three Things RIM Needs To Do For Devs

What BlackBerry 6's Consumer Focus Means For Business

RIM Shows Off New BlackBerry 6 Features

First Impressions: BlackBerry 6 Software

For, perhaps, the first time in its more recent charmed history, Apple became the butt of late-night talk-show hosts' jokes with the discovery of "Antennagate," a malfunctioning antenna on the iPhone that generated consumer complaints, cries of "recall," and worries of the high price the error could cost the company. In fact, Piper Jaffray estimated about 20% of respondents opted not to buy the device because of the reception problem. Yet consumers continued to buy the hot-selling item, and Apple in September announced it would stop offering its work-around free iPhone 4 case and its full refund program.


Apple Boosts iPhone Sales Projections

Best Buy Jumps Into 'Antennagate' With Free Shields

Smartphone Death Match: iPhone 4 Versus Droid X

Piper Jaffray: Antennagate Cost Apple 20% In Sales

iPhone 4 Bumper: There's An App For That

Consumer Reports Still Thumbs Down On iPhone 4

iPhone 4 Escapes Recall; Apple Offers Free Cases

5 Ways To Fix The iPhone 4's Antenna Problem

Apple Shrugs Off 'Antennagate'

When it premiered at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2010, Google expected a lot of its HTC-built Nexus One smartphone. Yet so many details of the phone were leaked, that even the company's public relations team described the event as anti-climactic -- perhaps a pre-cursor to the phone's biography. Consumers soon complained their connections were dropped from 3G to carrier T-Mobile's slower 2G Edge network -- and pointed their fingers at Google, HTC, and T-Mobile. Google's new Nexus One is generating a steady flow of complaints from users who are griping that their connections are dropping from 3G to T-Mobile's slower 2G Edge network


Google Reveals Nexus One 'Super Phone'

Nexus One Vs. iPhone: Clash Of The Smartphones

HTC Droid Incredible Almost Identical To Nexus One

Google Nexus Two To Be Made By Samsung?

5 Reasons The Nexus S Isn't Revolutionary

Even before it hit store shelves in March, Apple's iPad dominated headlines and mindshare of consumers and IT professionals. And since its much ballyhooed arrival, the iPad apparently has lived up to its hype, selling more than 300,000 devices in its first day of availability. Apple in October expanded its distribution agreement to include Verizon and Walmart. Expanding retail outlets, the steadily increasing number of apps, corporate adoption of these devices, and a growing number of competitors is expected to impact PC sales, with tablets replacing about one-third of PCs in 2011, a December study by Goldman Sachs predicted. Apple's tablet also spawned a spin-off industry of accessories, such as cases, desks, and covers.


iPad 2 Smaller, Flatter, Boasts More Capable Speaker

Apple iOS 4.2 For iPad Reviewed

Tablets Will Replace One In Three PCs, Study Says

iPads Hit The Enterprise

iPad Supplanting Print Newspapers

Entertainment Dominates iPhone/iPad Apps In 2010

Android sales continue to snowball. In early December, Android chief Andy Rubin tweeted that Google is now activating about 300,000 Android handsets per day, compared with 60,000 a day at the beginning of the year. Two reasons for Android's ongoing success: Cameras that range between 5 and 8 megapixels and recorders capable of capturing video at 720p HD resolution. In addition, Google has attracted a growing stable of developers to its App Market. In March, there were more than 30,000 apps for Android; in December 2009, there were 16,000, Google said. Of these, about 39% of applications are paid for and 61% of applications are free, according to AndroLib estimates.


Android Sales: It's Time For Nokia To Worry

Windows Phone Crushed By Android

Android Users Gorge On Mobile Data

Android 2.1+ On Majority Of Android Smartphones

Android Vulnerable To Data Theft Exploit

Windows Phone Crushed By Android

Android Smartphone Shipments Up 886%

RIM targeted individuals and corporate users with its September unveiling of the PlayBook, a tablet PC and corresponding Tablet OS. With a 7-inch display and 1 GHz dual-core processor, the PlayBook is slated to ship in the United States in early 2011. The device will include dual HD cameras, an HDMI-out port, stereo sound, a media player, and integration with BlackBerry devices, according to the company. In December, RIM opened BlackBerry App World and updated the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR.


RIM CEO: PlayBook 'Is The Perfect Size'

RIM Now Accepting PlayBook Tablet Apps

Four Steps To BlackBerry Success in 2011

RIM CEO: PlayBook 'Way Ahead' Of iPad

RIM Pits PlayBook's Browser Against Apple iPad's Safari

RIM's PlayBook Tablet To Cost Under $500

RIM Demos PlayBook Tablet

Android and iPhone smartphones became the two dominant players in the market, leaving little room for vendors such as one-time leader BlackBerry, as well as Symbian and Microsoft. In fact, whereas in October 2009 BlackBerry made-up 90% of Verizon's smartphone sales, a year later 80% of the wireless leader's phone sales were powered by Android, according to ITG Investment Research. Apple also has eroded other vendors' market share, both in the United States and around the globe. The iPhone 4, which Apple quickly made available in 17 countries, was so popular that it even displaced Nokia from its spot as Australia's long-standing top smartphone seller, according to IDC. BlackBerry and Microsoft are fighting back: The number of apps for Microsoft's new Windows 7 phone grew from 0 to 4,000 in less than two months. And its third fiscal quarter, Research In Motion sold 14.2 million BlackBerry devices worldwide; Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in the same period. Nokia -- which brought on a new CEO -- said its Ovi Store had surpassed 2 million downloads a day.


Can The Market Support 4 Tablet Operating Systems?

Android, Symbian To Dominate Smartphone Market By 2014

Android Sales: It's Time For Nokia To Worry

Symbian's Upgrade Path Might Lead Nowhere

6 Mobile Operating Systems For Your Business

Android Captures Smartphone Lead In U.S.

Android Tops Windows Phone 7 In Publishers' Plans

Android Smartphone Shipments Up 886%