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The Globe and Mail

Top five most-read technology stories of 2012

What did Globe readers click on this year? What piqued their interests? Scroll through this gallery and others to get an idea of what stories were most popular on

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1. A contrast in laptop extremes: MacBook Pro vs. Chromebook

The most popular story on Globe Technology this year pitted Apple’s most powerful and attractive chunk of hardware, the MacBook Pro, against Google’s Chromebook: a utilitarian web browser in laptop shape.
Apple lovers and haters flooded into the comments, Google partisans complained of unfair comparison but most missed the point of Omar El Akkad’s article: Consumer computing is changing and both of these devices chased the same vertically integrated content and services strategy with wildly different hardware models. It's not about which is better, it's about how both can win in their own way.

Samsung, Apple

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2. The guiding hand behind the revival of RIM’s PlayBook

Back in the early months of 2012, before poor Research in Motion earnings (based largely on slowing growth in BlackBerry sales) came to dominate the narrative of the Waterloo company, there was a great deal of optimism about the Playbook, RIM’s 7-inch tablet.
It’s not just that Google and Apple and Amazon have also release really fantastic 7 inch slate’s since, it was because RIM’s main fixes were to the operating system, which featured some smart and intuitive changes that foreshadowed BB10, the long-delayed mobile handset operating system.
RIM reporter Iain Marlow collected two of the top 10 tech stories of with his exclusive interviews with Playbook team lead David Smith (pictured).

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

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3. 5 issues for Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg is one

Just before Facebook went public this summer, Omar El Akkad wrote a prescient list of five potential pitfalls for the world’s dominant social network. Let’s grade Omar’s prognostication skills: 1: Mobile – A+. FB-Q has fallen to half its IPO-day value and only slightly recovering. The drop, and the recovery, have to do with once-dismal mobile ad sales that have started to show signs of life. 2: China – A. Still no improvement in the China picture. 3: Diversification – A. Facebook Gifts, an online retail store, has not set the world on fire. 4: User growth – C. Facebook is pushing near a billion users now: No wall hit yet. 5: Mark Zuckerberg – INCOMPLETE. The IPO fiasco wasn’t entirely his fault but it didn’t inspire confidence. However, it may take years to know if Zuck’s iron control of his company is ultimately helpful or harmful.


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4. Canada's newly competitive cellphone market at risk

It seems like most Canadian wireless customers agree with the following two-part proposition: They hate their wireless carrier, but there isn’t enough competition to offer them a real alternative.
Back in February Rita Trichur and Iain Marlow took a look at the to the $17-billion mobile sector dominated by BCE Inc., Telus Corp. and Rogers and concluded that not only were none of the new upstarts going to make a dent in that market share, but one or more was likely to fail. You could almost hear the wails of despair as readers flocked to make this story one of the most-read tech features of the year.

Well, we’re at the end of 2012 and no new entrant has been bought or closed down yet, but neither have the new guys (Wind, Mobilicity, Public Mobile) managed to eat the lunch of the big three. Canadians looking for escape routes may have to take a risk, or keep waiting.

Sarah Dea/The Globe and Mail

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5. Why Netflix Canada sucks (and why it's great)

There was one story, nay, call it a bewildered cry for help, that resonated with our digital audience in a way that surprised even us.
“Netflix is everything that’s wrong and right with the Internet,” wrote Omar El Akkad on August 29: “It’s an innovative way of using the Internet to access several lifetimes’ worth of content, marred by the massive overage fees your ISP will likely charge you if you go over your monthly data limit. You get entire seasons of your favourite TV shows – littered among a metaphorical tire dump of bizarre and awful schlock you’ve never heard of and would only watch if the alternative was to set your eyes on fire.”
For weeks afterward readers chimed in with great suggestions for what not to hate about Netflix, and at the end of 2012 we’ve reassessed: Netflix Canada rocks slightly more often than it sucks, and our love/confused hatred relationship is only growing stronger.


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