News in review: the top tech stories of 2012

The past year has been one of the most breathlessly exciting 12 months any of us can remember in the world of technology.

The year kicked off with the SOPA battle and Kim DotCom arrest, and later saw the arrival of landmark devices such as the Raspberry Pi, the iPad mini and Nexus 7, not to mention Windows 8. Here, we count down the top stories from the year.

10. Apple vs Samsung: $1bn payout

The mobile patent war continues to rumble on around the world, with each side chalking up wins in courts in different countries. Apple won a major battle in August, with a US jury awarding the iPhone maker $1.05bn in damages from Samsung.

Appeals continue, however. Samsung is – understandably – trying to have the damages reduced, while Apple is asking for more of Samsung’s handsets and tablets to be banned.

2013: stories to watch

This year’s not yet done, but 2013 is already shaping up to be a busy year for tech. Here’s a few stories to keep an eye on.
Broadband rollout – BDUK funding is already being doled out – with all of it handed to BT so far. Will Fujistu win a single contract?

Snoopers’ Charter – The draft Communications Data Bill has been ripped apart my a report from MPs. Will the government accept the recommendations?

ICT in schools – Schools and the government are finally working on improving computing classes, and the efforts should start to show next year.

Firefox Mobile OS – Mozilla’s mobile OS will arrive in force next year. Can it challenge Android?

While the $1.05bn damages awarded to Apple is certainly the biggest news in the case, our favourite story remains the UK court battle, in which Judge Birss declared Samsung’s Galaxy line “not cool” enough to have been copying the iPad and iPhone.

9. 4G finally arrives – but EE caps it

Mobile operator EE forced Ofcom’s hand on 4G spectrum, rolling out its own service and accelerating the spectrum auction, which is due to take place in early 2013.

While we applaud EE for pushing its agenda and getting 4G moving, it’s hard to be impressed with its own offer. EE’s 4G services come with data caps as pitiful as 500MB a month – which a user getting top speeds could chew through in five minutes.

8. Kim DotCom raided as authorities get tough on piracy

It’s not often tech stories sound the like plot of a cheesy action film, but that’s what we got thanks to the raid on Kim DotCom’s home – let’s call it a compound – in New Zealand.

The founder of MegaUpload was targeted by US authorities, who convinced the local police to raid DotCom’s home and confiscate his computers. The US has since been trying to extradite him, so far, without much luck.

The case itself appears to be floundering, with the New Zealand government apologising for the raid and DotCom starting a new encrypted file-sharing site, Mega.

The raid followed a tough year for pirates, with The Pirate Bay blocked by the biggest British ISPs and the owner of was handed four years in prison following a private prosecution by the BPI – but users managed a successful fightback over SOPA, and Richard O’Dwyer avoided extradition to the US.

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