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Mobiles made headlines like never before in 2011. Here's all the jaw-dropping, epoch-defining happenings that'll echo down the ages...

1 Stephen Elop’s “burning platform” and Nokia’s Microsoft tie-up – February 11th

stephen elop

Word began swirling at the end of 2010 that Nokia and Microsoft would be tying up, with the Finns starting to make handsets using Windows Phone 7. It was swiftly denied, but by early February, it was clear all was not well at Nokia.

On February 8th, CEO Stephen Elop made a stunning admission in a leaked memo, claiming the mobile maker was “standing on a burning platform”.

Three days later, Elop was joined by Ballmer at an event in London, confirming an alliance. The first Nokia Windows Phone, the Lumia 800, hit shelves in November.

2 Steve Jobs dies – October 6th

Steve Jobs

Whether you’re an Apple fanatic or a confirmed hater of Cupertino’s kit, you will have been moved by the death of the company’s CEO Steve Jobs. His passing marked the end of an era at Apple.

The man helped redefine the smartphone with the iPhone, the original handset lightyears ahead of rivals that only really started to catch up in Jobs last 18 months.

Without the hype and drama of a Jobs keynote, not to mention his invaluable ideas on connected devices, the world of mobile is a poorer place.

3 BlackBerry email and BBM outage - early October

blackberry messenger

Research in Motion (RIM) had a 2011 to forget. But aside from falling market share and a tablet that lacked core functionality, its biggest failing came at the start of October, when a server crash in Slough led to millions losing email and BBM access.

Initially, the problem was confined to Europe, Asia and Africa, but soon spread to the US, causing outrage among paying punters. Questions about how RIM runs its email servers were raised, but the long term damage to the phone-maker’s reputation is still being seen.

4 The iPhone 4S is greeted with derision, but sells a million anyway – October 4th

iphone 4s duo

The hype leading up to the launch of the iPhone 4S was insane. Despite well-placed sources counseling tech hacks that the launch would be low-key, with only new exclusive software and slightly snappier innards and no redesign, the press went into overdrive when the handset actually arrived, slating Apple for doing exactly what it had done with the iPhone 3GS.

Yet within 24 hours of going on sale, the iPhone 4S had sold a million units, proving its pulling power remains undimmed.

5 HTC underestimates Android update anger - June 14th

htc desire large

HTC posted a brief Facebook update stating that its engineering teams had failed to get Gingerbread working on the original Desire, at the time just over a year old.

The company said it was a toss up between getting Gingerbread working or keeping HTC Sense and that it had opted for the latter.

Cue understandable outrage, as owners of a relatively new smartphone vented their fury at HTC’s perceived favouring of new products over keeping legacy users happy.

HTC caved, but the Desire’s Gingerbread update is still a clunky, feature-lacking disappointment that pleased precisely no-one.

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