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2012 has been a hell of a year for smartphones and tablets. Apple’s dominance is finally being put to the test by some amazing Android devices, while Microsoft has made a good fist of trying to muscle in with a beefed-up version of its Windows Phone software.

But while successes have been myriad, so have failures. So, who are this year’s biggest mobile losers? And what colossal mistakes have they made that led to them hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons? Read on to find out.

And fear not mobile fanatics: a Top 5 mobile winners of 2012, including some of the very same losers from this list, is coming soon.

1 Apple

Apple logo on building

We’ll get to the hefty sales and sleek new designs later. But there’s no escaping the fact that 2012 has been a difficult year for Apple on the mobile front.

Under Tim Cook’s stewardship, the Cupertino company has suffered some major PR embarrassments.

Its new Maps app was and remains an unmitigated disaster, a move made for corporate reasons that ignored what customers liked about their iOS devices.

Bumps and scrapes on new iPhone 5s and slowing sales of the iPad, not to mention boardroom spats and patent war losses, have allowed rivals to get their foot in the door.

2 Nokia

Nokia Lumia 920 yellow close-up

Nokia’s decline has been arrested in recent months, its losses stabilising and its excellent new HERE mapping app capitalising on Apple’s failings.

But Espoo’s biggest failure of 2012 detracted from the launch of its new Lumia 920 device in such a major way that it’s still fresh in the mind. Nokia’s new PureView tech apparently offered stunning optical image stabilisation when shooting video and stills.

It was so good that the world cooed in wonder. Until it was revealed that Nokia had faked the shots using a DSLR. Elop and co dallied for a bit before admitting the truth, but the damage was done.

3 HTC

HTC One Family

2012 has been nothing short of a disaster for HTC. The company that led the way with Android when it first landed is now in a serious spot of bother.

Its One series handsets haven’t shifted, despite critical acclaim and sales are down by 48 per cent year-on-year.

While it’s settled its long-running patent dispute with Apple, HTC is said to be paying Cupertino a whacking $8 per Android handset sold.

2013 needs to see some major changes, otherwise HTC could be a footnote in smartphone history.

4 Sony

Sony Xperia V waterproof

Sony’s Xperia line has been lauded in 2012, but the Big S is still facing issues.

Its Xperia phones are still stranded on ancient versions of Android, with a Jelly Bean update not expected until well into 2013.

By which point new handsets will be landing with better editions of Google’s OS.

Meanwhile its Xperia Tablet S had to be yanked from shelves when it was discovered that its splash-proof design wash’t actually splash-proof. There’s a lot of ground for the Big S to make up next year.

5 Samsung

Samsung vs Apple collision

Ok, hear us out on this one. Samsung has had an amazing year. But we just can’t ignore the fact that a US court ordered it to pay $1 billion in compensation to Apple in August.

While Samsung has won other cases around the world, this huge ruling still hangs over Sammy and will continue to loom until the entire patent battle with its biggest rival has been sorted once and for all.

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