In 2012, the industry changed drivers. The PC, long the core engine of electronics, became the hollow center of it all.
Growth fled to the extremes—mobile systems and cloud computing. Mobile commanded the lion’s share of the energy and money. The smartphone, the tablet and the phablet replaced the PC as the new client systems of choice.
Intel tried to divert the trend back in its direction with a new generation of slim laptops it dubbed ultrabooks, but the concept struggled for traction. Google briefly captured the industry’s imagination with a longer term vision for a future client it called Google Glasses.
Some of our biggest stories of the year were teardowns of the latest iPhones and iPads and their closest Android-based competitors from Amazon and Samsung. A gadget-crazed industry hungered to explore the guts of the new client machines.
The rise of mobile systems set up a domino effect. It spawned a flood of mobile data, choking access networks. Carriers ran trails of small cell base stations and new back haul networks to bail out their overflowing systems. Their work laid a foundation for new infrastructure markets in 2013 and beyond.
Ultrabook sales falling short
Teardown: Inside Apple's iPhone 5
Teardown: Apple iPad 4
Google unveils Project Glass, augmented reality specs
Ten shifts in chips, comms: