It's a been a whirlwind year of tech launches, with phones and tablets taking centre stage. Our colleagues over at CNET.com went the whole hog and wrote up their 100 top stories of 2012, but as the year draws to a close I wanted the CNET UK team to take a moment to reflect on their personal highlights of the past 12 months.
We've all picked a single product that has impressed us the most, and given our reasons why below. It's inevitably a much more UK-focused list than that of our American chums. What do you think of our picks? Let us know in the comments box at the bottom or on our Facebook wall.
Even the best smart TVs are a bit rubbish -- hard to use, slow and full of bad apps you'll never use. Sky and Virgin are much better, but expensive. Enter YouView, providing easy-to-use, on-demand telly to people who don't want to pay a subscription.
Most of the coverage YouView received at the time of the launch focused on the delays behind the project, of which there have been many, but when the product is as good as this, I'd argue it's worth the wait. It's not often you're around at the start of something big, but I think this will be the way most of the country watches TV in the next five years.
Back in the day, we didn't learn computers at school. We once made PowerPoint presentations about our favourite celebrities, but there was no coding, no programming, no genuinely useful technical stuff. But a £16 micro-computer released this year with the adorable moniker ofis set to to today's tech-savvy, school-age scallywags.
The Raspberry Pi may be the size of a credit card, but it's powerful enough to play Full HD video. It's making waves in the online developer community, but more importantly, it makes learning the ins and outs of tech cheaper, more accessible andfor everyone.
The Orange OPC takes an iconic guitar amplifier design known the world over and packs it full of high-performance computer components. With speakers mounted in the front it acts as both guitar amplifier and desktop PC.
It's loaded up with a wealth of modelling software, letting you create virtually any sound imaginable with your axe of choice and lay down your tracks in studio-quality recording programs. While other desktop PCs were toeing the same grey lines, the Orange OPC offered red-hot style and an innovative way to play and record your own music from your home computer.
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Now I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, but thewas totes my idea. Back in February I lamented that the average camera phone was rubbish, and .
Fast-forward to the end of the year and Samsung has done just that, adding 3G, Android and a huge S3-sized screen into a camera, complete with large sensor and superzoom lens -- and a nifty interface that bridges both snapper and blower. With an app like Skype you can even call your chums. Who knew a cameraphone could be both camera and phone without compromising either? That's right, I did. I assume my cheque's in the post.
Google Nexus 4
For me, 2012 was the year of cheap tech. From new Kindles to £160 tablets, it's been great to see more gadgets on sale that won't lay waste to your bank balance. The Nexus 4 is the undisputed king of this wallet-friendly new world, offering every modern convenience you'd associate with high-flying acts like the iPhone 5 and , but at half the price.
Quad-core performance, a blinding high-res screen and cutting-edge Android make the Nexus 4 a great phone, but the £239 price tag makes it the year's most exciting gadget. I'm keen to see the knock-on effects of its low cost in 2013.
Google Nexus 7
Okay, we were all excited about the Nexus 4, but I reckon thehas done something much more difficult -- it's established an unbreakable beachhead in a territory formerly dominated by Apple, the tablet.
It did it by concentrating on very specific needs: sub-£200 price, fast processor, great screen, very latest version of Android. There's no expandable storage, and it's more plasticky than the, but those are nitpicks. This is a terrific gadget and hopefully its success will spur more and better quality tablet apps for the platform.