Friday, December 05, 2008

Software Developments 2008 : A Summary

Mobile phone operating systems and new web browsers rage: that's how we'll recall the year 2008 when it comes to software. Here is a brief summary of all wonderful developments:

iPhone 2.0 and the App Store
Though the iPhone was launched in 2007, but this year the iPhone 2.0 software and the new iPhone 3G model with a faster data plan and GPS came out to hype almost as big as the original iPhone launch. The combination of an operating system that finally ran third-party apps officially plus pinpointy GPS goodness set the bar for what users can expect to get from the next generation of smartphone with a fast internet connection, full-on browser, and spot-on location-awareness. Plus, dozens of the apps available for the phone are free.

Google Android
Google's answer to Apple's proprietary iPhone hardware and software came in the form of their very own touch mobile phone operating system, Android, which launched this past October. Unlike the iPhone, this new mobile platform is open source and will run on various handsets going forward. As an iPhone user frustrated by limited apps, crashiness, and lack of copy and paste, Android is like a breath of fresh air.

One of the few software apps on this list that's not open source or made by a ginormous company, new instant messenger client Digsby took chatters by storm with its ability to consolidate your IM, email, and social networking in one place.

Google Chrome
On September 2nd, Google released the first beta of Chrome, their new web browser which they hope you'll make your window to the web and all its apps. Last month's browser breakdown for Lifehacker readers was 62% Firefox, 22% IE, 8% Safari, and 6% Chrome. Not bad for a browser that's been out only a few months.)

Firefox 3
June 17th of this year, the makers of Firefox set a new Guinness World Record for most software downloads in a given day, at more than eight million downloads of the new browser iteration in 24 hours.