The year 2008 provided a cornucopia of cool new technologies and discoveries. CNET News staffers culled this bountiful harvest, chronicling everything from Mars insights to the Android launch.
Gadget and computer-related galleries were pleasing eye candy. Apple kicked off the year by unveiling new versions of the Mac Pro and Xserve. The company added multitouch controls and power to MacBooks, and it showcased the iPhone 3G, new iPod Nanos, and more.
Credit: James Martin/CNET Networks
T-Mobile's new G1 Android phone
is a handy place to play Pac-man.
Google garnered plenty of attention as well. The search giant made waves with Chrome, its foray into Web browsers, and with a mobile operating system called Android whose smartphone-installed prototype led the new-phone parade at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
T-Mobile USA in September unveiled the first smartphone to run Android, the G1. In October, the phone made its grand arrival.
Apple's iPhone got down to business with the launch of the company's iPhone software development kit in March. The App Store has since become extremely popular with independent developers, and CNET has put several made-for-iPhone applications to the test.
Cell phones, as well as digital-music players and other gadgets, also caught the green-tech bug. A growing number of products are using solar power to charge up.
Green technology continued to be a major driver of the automotive sector. The Cadillac Provoq concept car, which runs on a hydrogen fuel cell and a lithium ion battery, made its premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Makers of Hummers and muscle cars similarly decided that green is cool.
Credit: Virgin Galactic
SpaceShipTwo, whose wings are
designed to "feather," or fold,
in preparation for re-entry into
the Earth's atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the cross-country Hydrogen Road Tour promoted hydrogen-powered vehicles. And one enterprising start-up showed how to make your car run on tequila--well, sort of. The green-car year finished with a look at electric vehicles, present and future.
Aerial vehicles also made for some awesome visual highlights. The Oshkosh, Wisc., air show and Airship Ventures' 246-foot Zeppelin brought life to the skies. And CNET News' Daniel Terdiman took to the air in a 1991 Grumman Tiger.
Going higher, space was the place for heavenly images. The International Space Station marked a decade aloft, the Hubble telescope served up photos of giant red storms on Jupiter, and we got to see the Phoenix Mars Lander uncover ice on the Red Planet.
Of course, space isn't just a place for NASA astronauts and their colleagues anymore. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic proved to be a real mover and shaker in the space tourism industry when it launched the high-altitude WhiteKnightTwo aircraft carrier, designed to fly the SpaceShipTwo passenger vehicle, into Earth's upper atmosphere.
The skies also became host to consumer Wi-Fi connections this year. Intel CEO Paul Otellini's vision of an always-on, always-connected experience for consumers reached lofty heights with the expansion of airborne connectivity for airplane passengers, courtesy of such carriers as Virgin America.
Back on Earth, Terdiman connected with legions of followers as Road Trip 2008 took him across the southern United States. Terdiman filed dispatches from such spots as Houston, New Orleans, and Nashville.
Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET Networks
Kara Tsuboi holds her arms out, and the movement
is reflected by the Iron Man animation on the
screen behind her.
CNET's Kara Tsuboi joined the photographic fun, donning a motion capture suit to play the lead Iron Man character for a day.
Motion capture technology led to some other cool photo galleries. Hockey star Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Francisco Giants Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum slipped into mo-cap suits to model for upcoming 2K Sports video games.
At the E3 game expo, Microsoft, among other companies, showed off goods such as the multitouch computer Sphere and space exploration software WorldWide Telescope.
Finally, there was an ending that loops back to the year's start: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates may have given his last keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January.