This last year was a very important year for Microsoft and all its new ventures. This also marks the first full year that WinSource has been in existence. 2012 was an insane year from start to finish with many product announcements, brand new operating systems, major app launches, and even some mishaps. Let’s take some time to reminisce about the top stories that happened in 2012.
Arguably the biggest thing that happened in 2012 was Windows Phone 8. With much anticipation Microsoft finally announced their successor to the disappointing WP7. Major improvements in specs and performance were promised and realized with phones like the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. Some of the new features include Rooms, live apps for the lockscreen, 3rd party notifications, and more. WP8 finally brought Windows Phone up to par with Android and iOS, but that pesky app problem is still hanging around.
On the same day that Microsoft made a lot of Windows Phone users happy they also angered them. During their announcement of Windows Phone 8 they also mentioned that current WP7 devices would not be updated to WP8. Instead they will receive a special update called “Windows Phone 7.8″ that only has some of the new features. This is one instance where a company may have been too honest. Withholding features for older devices is not a new practice, but only Microsoft was brave enough to tell users about it. The update is scheduled for 2013, and many users are still upset.
The most hotly anticipated device of 2012 was the Nokia Lumia 920. The device was leaked and leaked again before Nokia finally announced it officially. With a 4.5″ HD display, dual-core processor, and amazing PureView camera the 920 was the phone Windows Phone users had been dreaming about. Unfortunately Nokia had no pricing or release date info for the salivating Windows Phone fans, so we waited for a couple months until it finally went on sale. The biggest gripe people had with the Lumia 920 was its weight, but that didn’t stop loyal Windows Phone fans from gobbling it up.
Nokia included an amazing camera on the Lumia 920 that they just couldn’t stop talking about. So amazing that they gave it the “PureView” name previously reserved for their 41MP behemoth. Nokia did a lot of advertising for this feature, but one ad in particular did not work out as they planned. A couple sites noticed that a video posted by Nokia was faked to show how good the optical image stabilization in the 920 camera worked. Nokia admitted that they had indeed faked the video, but they reassured that the camera worked as advertised. Turns out they were right, which makes us wonder why they faked it in the first place.
Something strange happened this year: HTC held a press event and didn’t announce a new Android phone. It was so surprising that our Phandroid team was there to cover it instead of us. HTC unveiled the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, but more importantly they announced a new relationship with Microsoft. Steve Ballmer called the 8X the “signature Windows Phone 8 device.” This was a strange move considering Microsoft’s relationship with Nokia. The 8X has come to be a very popular alternative to the 920 because it is available on three carriers instead of one.
All the way back in June Microsoft held an impromptu event and invited the media to attend. At the mystery event Microsoft showed that they were getting back in the hardware game with a new Windows RT tablet called Surface. The Surface name had previously been used for a table-top touchscreen project. The new Surface was a 10″ tablet with an innovative super thin touch keyboard/cover and built in kickstand. Microsoft Surface wowed the media, but no one was allowed to play with the device, and it didn’t go on sale until October. Still, Microsoft Surface was the first device to get people really excited for Windows 8.
2012 was the year of new beginnings for Microsoft, and nothing was more symbolic of that than Windows 8. Windows is the most used operating system in the world, by a lot, so when Microsoft decided to essentially redesign it from the ground up the world took notice. They brought live tiles and “metro” from the phone to the desktop, and made it completely touch friendly. Perhaps the biggest change was the removal of the start button and the downplaying of the old desktop. Initial reports indicate that sales have been very good for Windows 8, but only time will tell if Microsoft’s gamble for the future will pay off.
You might be asking yourself “did the Lumia 900 really come out in 2012?” It sure did. Nokia announced it way back in January at CES, but it didn’t go on sale for another couple months afterwards. Nokia and AT&T made a huge marketing push for the 900, the most notable being “the beta test is over.” Nokia really needed the Lumia 900 to do well, and that was most apparent when a bug was shipping on new Lumia’s and Nokia sent out a fix just a couple days later (during a holiday weekend). The Lumia 900 was easily the most successful Windows Phone device at the time.
There you have it. The top Windows stories from 2012. Do you agree? What other stories do you think could be on this list? 2012 was a very good year for Microsoft and we expect 2013 to be even better. Thanks for tuning in to WinSource for all your news over the last year, and we look forward to bringing you more in 2013. Happy New Year!