The mobile market has been a focus for almost all major electronics manufacturers this year, and 2011 saw big releases, bitter legal disputes and record sales.
Many companies, including HTC, HP, RIM and Sony, entered the tablet market for the first time this year, more in hope than expectation of emulating the runaway success of Apple's iPad.
Apple vs Samsung
The two manufacturers seemed to have an amicable relationship even though they were competitors, as the Korean firm was providing key components for Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. However, the two firms had a spectacular falling out over patents in 2011, and now seem to have a rivalry on par with Muhammad Ali and the late Joe Frazier.
The problems began when Samsung released a number of products, starting with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Apple launched legal proceedings in countries including the US, France, Germany and Australia, claiming that Samsung had "slavishly copied" the design of the iPad. Throughout the year there were lawsuits and counter-suits flying backwards and forwards as each tried to get the upper hand.
Samsung tried everything to defend itself, memorably claiming during the summer that Stanley Kubrick had created tablets in his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey so the firm could not have infringed any of Apple's design patents.
Unsurprisingly, the defence failed in Germany where Samsung was forced to stop selling the Galaxy Tab and carry out a redesign. However, the firm had better luck in Australia where a judge deemed that no infringement had taken place and Samsung was free to sell the tablet.
Apple iPad 2 dominates
Apple released a sequel that not only lived up to expectations but was better than the original.
The iPad 2 packed a dual-core A5 processor, which doubled the CPU performance and boosted the graphics by nine times over the original. Apple added front and rear video cameras, and a video calling application known as FaceTime.
Apple also trimmed the iPad's thickness from 13.8mm to 8.8mm, and made the 3G version over 100g lighter at 613g. The only features that remained the same were the 9.7in screen and 10-hour battery life, but these were exceptional and we can't fault Apple for that.
According to official figures, the firm has sold 32.39 million iPads this year, and we wouldn't bet against Apple bettering this number next year when the iPad 3 is likely to make an appearance.
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