At the end of every year we look back on where technology has taken us… and then immediately turn our eyes to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January to get a glimpse of what 2015 has to offer. Held this year in Las Vegas, the CES attracts over 50,000 exhibitors showcasing some of the latest technology hoping to break into the mainstream in the coming year. The show also offers a look back to the moments of the previous year, and a reflection on the success and losses in the tech industry. From the Apple watch to the Sony hack, consumer tech certainly had a rocky year. Presented here is a reflection on some of the winners and losers from 2014.
The aluminium steam train that is Apple didn’t slow down for anyone in 2014. This year saw them launch a new phone, a new payment method and an exciting new 5K ‘Retina’ iMac. Apple also tantalisingly teased their smart watch to launch in Quarter 1 2015. One statistic sums up their success: More than 50% of phone activations in the holiday season were iPhones.
Although Sony entered 2014 having won the next-gen console war against the Xbox One, the rest of 2014 has left them bitter. They dropped their laptop business and sales of their phone and tablet products are less than promising. To top it all off, their movie entertainment business was hacked by North Korea, leaking movies and spewing private information all over Hollywood. The resulting controversy surrounding their release of The Interview may have generated a lot of hype for the release, but overall trust in Sony as a stable company still remains uncertain.
Perhaps a late entry for the title, as 2014 saw Microsoft still struggling to win over disgruntled Windows 8 users. But Microsoft has actually done plenty this year to turn themselves around. They teased Windows 10, which promises to patch up Windows 8’s inconsistencies. They also launched a cheaper Xbox One without Kinect and pushed some exclusives that saw it start to out-sell the Playstation 4. With the Surface Pro 3, a revolutionary laptop/tablet hybrid that was much better than their previous attempts, they proved a perfect example of the mantra ‘third time lucky’. Microsoft were also successful in pushing forward improvements in mobile and cloud computing, launching Office for iPad and iPhone as well as giving every subscriber to Office 365 unlimited cloud storage via OneDrive.
In 2014 Ubisoft showed their true colours: a flagrant disregard for PC gamers and a lax attitude to quality control. Watchdogs was heavily downgraded on the PC and Assassins Creed: Unity was released with a laughable assortment of bugs, from skin-less faces to characters falling out of the world. There’s a growing sense of distrust around Ubisoft and this could have implications for their success in 2015.