Smartphones have been the biggest success story of 2011 in the tech world, and have all but rendered the feature phone market dead in Western Europe and the US.
Apple and Samsung continued to dominate the market, and HTC had a very successful year and became more valuable than Nokia.
The first half of 2011 was taken up with talk of Apple's plans for the market. However, there were some very competent Android devices, and 2011 also marked the first birthday of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, which got a whole host of upgrades.
Nokia ditches Intel for Microsoft
Despite being the market leader for a decade, Nokia visibly struggled in the smartphone market as it haemorrhaged market share. The firm ditched the Symbian ^3 operating system after handsets like the Nokia N8 met with a lukewarm reception.
Nokia made a dramatic U-turn after signing a deal with Intel to develop the MeeGo operating system, announcing in February that it would instead use Microsoft's Windows Phone. Many analysts saw this as a positive move, as the market was flooded with Android and iOS devices and retailers were crying out for another option, which Nokia would provide.
Nokia tried valiantly to get its first Windows Phone device to market as quickly as possible, and the Lumia 800 arrived in mid-November, a month behind the iPhone 4S. It was a competent smartphone, but sales are rumoured to have been tepid, and it will be the middle of next year before we really see whether the partnership with Microsoft has been successful.
Microsoft updates Windows Phone
The long awaited Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update was finally rolled out almost a year after Microsoft debuted the platform.
Among the 500-odd new features were some gems including the ability to view threaded messages, create groups and, of course, multi-task. Microsoft also improved the Live Tiles, and enhanced the internet experience by adding the IE9 browser and HTML5 support.
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