Top 10 reviews of 2008
Here's our run down of the top 10 reviews of the past 12 months.
Let's get it out of the way straight away shall we? The iPhone 3G was the biggest product of the year. Even though it was the second time around for the iPhone, the launch was even bigger than the original. This was despite the fact that aside from the arrival of 3G, there wasn't a lot new added to the hardware and most of the improvements came from the 2.0 software, which added Exchange support and the ability to add third-party applications via Apple's App store.
Even the lack of some seemingly basic mobile phone features such as MMS and copy and paste haven't been enough to spoil the party and the iPhone 3G rides high as the technology event of the year.
Asus started the ball rolling in 2007 with the launch of the first Eee PC, but netbooks really hit their stride in 2008. Indeed, at the beginning of the year the term netbook had still to establish itself as an umbrella term for these small, light, sub notebooks that had just enough power to run a full operating system, be it Linux or Windows XP.
The MSI Wind introduced a 10in screen, fine build quality, a decent - if not quite perfect - keyboard, and Intel's Atom N270 running at 1.6GHz powering along Windows XP with help from 1GB of RAM. Storage is provided by an 80GB conventional disk- and there's nothing wrong with that. Staying power on the standard battery was a little lacking, but overall it was enough to show that netbooks could be a sensible and realistic choice for viewing content on the move.
Windows Server 2008 was a landmark release for Microsoft. Forget all the trials and tribulations of Vista, this was a release that demanded the attention of the enterprise world. A component based architecture, enabling more lightweight and resource efficient deployments was central to its philosophy, with Microsoft looking to distance itself from the bloatware reputation that its previous server products were saddled with.
Indeed, a standard base install of Server 2008 offers almost no functionality, requiring you to choose roles to add, and an entirely GUI free version of the product is avaiable too. Virtualisation is also integral to the product, especially since Microsoft released Hyper V.
The appearance of Google Chrome on the scene took almost everyone by surprise. Google releasing a browser is big news but the fact that its existence hadn't even hit the rumour-mill was an achievement in itself.
Even better was that the browser itself was very good indeed. It was noticeably faster than Firefox and stable too. This was thanks to its use of a separate process for each tab, so if any one crashed it wouldn't take any others down with it. We also liked the clean interface and the simplicity of the single search/address bar. As it comes out of beta next year, the sheen from Google Chrome is likely to get even brighter.
For AMD, a successful launch of its latest server processor 'Shanghai' was crucial. It had been losing out to Intel for some time in the desktop space, and holding on to its server market share would be very important. Shanghai was also its first 45nm part, so a lot could go wrong. Fortunately for the company, the launch went smoothly and the part soon found its way into a review system that thoroughly impressed our erstwhile Dave Mitchell. Job done.
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