CES 2012 marked the end of an era as Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer delivered the software giant’s last keynote speech. Surprisingly, “Ultrabooks” received lots of CES buzz despite poor PC sales during the last quarter of 2012. In other news, Google’s “Search Plus Your World” update changes how content is ranked in search, much to the ire of microblogging site Twitter.

10. Digital Music Sales Top Physical Sales
Digital sales drove 50.3 percent of music sales in 2011, marking the first time in history that digital sales have surpassed CD and record sales according to a Nielson and Billboard report. Digital services such as iTunes, Amazon’s music store and Spotify were the driving forces behind this. The legacy of Steve Jobs.

9. Bing Queries Overtake Yahoo For The First Time In December
According to commScore, Bing received 15.1 percent of all search queries in 2011 while Yahoo received 14.5 percent. Neither search engine comes close to Google’s market share of 65.9 percent. Yahoo’s new CEO has his work cut out.

8. New Storage Device Is Very Small, At 12 Atoms
I.B.M. sent and received data from an array only twelve atoms long, making it the world’s smallest magnetic storage device. The research breakthrough has several implications for the future of magnetic storage and super computers. This is big news in a very, very small package.

7. Microsoft Notches Another Patent Win With LG Android Deal
The two companies reached an agreement that will give LG license to use Microsoft patented technology on Chrome OS and Android devices. The software company’s approach to intellectual property disputes has resulted in partnerships with 10 other Android and Chrome OS manufacturers and contrasts Apple’s method of engaging in lengthy legal battles to protect its patents. On another front, Microsoft is suing Motorola over patent infringement after the two companies could not reach a licensing agreement.

6. CES 2012 — Smart TVs
Major TV players debuted the future of television at CES 2012. Samsung debuted its dual-core processor powered ES8000, capable of being controlled by voice; LG revealed an 84-inch 3D television with 4k resolution; Sony revealed two new TVs and a Smart TV-optimized remote to take advantage of Google TV v2.0.  Gizmodo calls the next generation of Smart TV’s “the most exciting gadgets of the year.” Using voice commands versus the remote is a victory for women everywhere.

5. CES 2012—Ultrabooks
Thin, light laptops, known as Ultrabooks, were all-the-rage at CES. Dell debuted their carbon-fiber plated, .7-inch thick Ultrabook, the XPS 13; Acer’s Aspire S5 is marketed as the world’s thinnest Ultrabook, two millimeters thinner than the MacBook Air at its thickest point; HP showed off the spec heavy Envy Spectre, which was named “Best of Show” among PCs displayed at CES. Just when the world claimed the PC was dead, it rises again in a new form.

4. A Miserable Holiday For PC Sales
Smartphone and tablet sales captured more of consumer’s interests during the holiday season as Gartner reports that PC shipments were down 6 percent from a year ago. The lackluster PC season particularly hurt HP as the company struggled to figure out what they would do with their PC division.  This may be just a temporary state, time will tell.  See above.

3. CES 2012: Intel Reveals Smartphone Strategy, Motorola Partnership
Intel is getting into the processor market for smartphones and tablets, which is currently dominated by ARM. In addition to powering many of the Ultrabooks debuted at CES, Intel’s Atom processors will be the brains behind Lenovo’s K800 and future Motorola smartphones and tablets. The ARM wrestle intensifies.

2. CES 2012: Ballmer Delivers Microsoft’s Last CES Keynote
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made several key announcements during Microsoft’s final CES keynote address, much of which focused on Xbox’s sales. During the keynote address, he chatted with Ryan Seacrest and revealed that the popular gaming motion sensor, the Kinect, was coming to Windows. Ballmer and Seacrest also talked about Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia along with Windows 8’s integration into smartphones and tablets.

1. Google’s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World”
Google use material shared with users over its Google+ social network to influence user’s search results. The change has generated controversy as critics (such as Twitter) argue that the search engine update leaves out competing social networks and does not give users relevant search results. Notably absent from the conversation is Facebook, even though they are severely affected by the “Search Plus Your World” update.  The integration of social and search demonstrates once again that the power has shifted to the individual.

Disclaimer: Samsung, Motorola and Microsoft are Weber Shandwick clients.

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