1 Competition was broad and brilliant
Every major player arrived with a potentially excellent phone in 2010. Apple’s iPhone 4 survived antenna woes to keep battling for top spot. And HTC staked a claim as Android’s number one manufacturer. Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson touted the ace X10 and Nokia finally hit back with the N8. In all, 2010 has been the best year ever for smartphones. Consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to top end, do-it-all mobiles.
2 iOS finally came of age
iOS 4 finally made Apple’s iPhone software what it should have been. Folders, HDR photos and Game Centre all helped make iPhones the world over smarter and better. No more missing features, just a fully specced powerhouse capable of taking on the best and, in many cases, winning.
3 Android proved it could be a market leader
At the start of 2010, Android was limited to a smattering of devices. Since then the Nexus One, followed by HTC’s stunning MWC line up and a raft of excellent and varied devices from different manufacturers, have put Android right up against Symbian and scared Apple and Nokia witless. Both manufacturers were forced to improve thanks to Google’s OS.
4 Smartphones finally became affordable
It’s now just £10 a month for an Xperia X8. Then there’s the bargain-bucket LG Optimus One with the latest Android software.
In 2010, smartphones really did stop being the preserve of loaded tech fanatics and became accessible to anyone with a small bit of cash to spare and a need to stay connected at every possible moment.
5 Palm came back from the dead
webOS and Palm looked dead and buried after the disappointing Pre Plus and Pixi Plus landed in January. Step forward HP with a billion plus deal to save the ailing PDA pioneer, bring webOS bang up-to-date and lay the groundwork for an all-out assault on key rivals Apple, Google, Nokia and Microsoft in 2011.
6 Nokia matched ambition with a decent device
The N8 might have taken six month to go from official launch to final release, but Nokia at last had a touchscreen phone that didn’t feel hampered by a naff resistive screen or the touch-unfriendly S60 OS. The N8 is a gorgeous slab of cellular gold and although it has problems, it’s undoubtedly the best Symbian phone yet.
7 Antennagate proved Apple could be got at
Apple’s antennagate showed that a company which the mainstream press thought infallible could make mistakes. And as mistakes go, the failure of the iPhone 4’s antenna was and is spectacular. Apple’s dilly-dallying when the problem was first flagged was embarrassing, its subsequent fightback impressive yet spiteful. It undoubtedly helped Android gain ground and hampered the iPhone brand - in terms of mindshare, if not sales.
8 Touchscreen tech became uniformly awesome
Resistive touchscreens are finally being sacked off, replaced by finger-friendly capacitive versions in even the cheapest phones. The HTC Wildfire is a case in point, as is the X8 from Sony Ericsson. At last, all main players are singing from the same hymn sheet. No more vicious prods to get results, just swipes, pinches and flicks.
9 Microsoft proved it was well and truly back in the mobile game
Windows Phone 7 is perhaps the story of the year. Rightly derided, Windows Phone 6.5 was awful. Microsoft took note and fashioned an OS which is a breeze to use, brilliantly integrated with services like Xbox Live and can handle apps in a unique way thanks to Live Tiles. Initial sales have been slow, but Windows Phone 7 is every inch the iOS and Android rival that it claims to be.
10 The megapixel wars are finally over
Yes, there are phones with more megapixels than others, but there appears to be a general acceptance among handset makers that adding more pixels doesn’t create better pictures. Instead. manufacturers have worked on innovations, like HDR photos, and touted apps like Hispstamatic to make shooting on your mobile more fun. Sharing has also been made easier, thanks in no small part to Android.
2010 was the year that the industry realized that people just want a smart way to take decentish shots to slap on Facebook and Twitter from their phones. Anything more, and they’ll buy an SLR.