Tech companies who had the best year in 2016
It’s that time of the year.
As we approach the end of 2016, it’s important to take a step back. Take a moment to reflect on all the progress we have accomplished over the last 12 months.
In a year full of exciting releases and announcements, only a handful of companies managed to make a splash and catch the attention of tech aficionados across the globe. This is our roundup of the most influential companies of 2016.
2016 will go down as the year Apple ditched the headphone jack, for many sentimental fan girls and boys.
Cupertino confirmed months of speculation when it unveiled the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This featuring killer stereo speakers enhanced water resistance and boosted camera capabilities. But to the disappointment of many, no standard audio port. The iPhone-marker introduced its new wireless AirPods that are yet to start shipping as an alternative.
Continuing its port removing streak, the Big A uncovered its svelte new MacBook Pro sporting the innovative Touch Bar. On concord, abandoning almost all standard ports in favor of Thunderbolt-powered USB-C drives.
It seems Apple will be wrapping up yet another phenomenal year as reports despite initial criticism. It suggests the company has decisively outsold its rivals in both the laptop. The mobile market and that’s in addition to stacking over 20 million subscribers on its music streaming service Apple Music.
While the iPhone 7 breezed through the competition to clinch a record-high industry profit for the third quarter of 2016. In five days, the revamped MacBook Pro purportedly racked up more sales than competitors did in 10 months.
After a packed three days of teasers, demos, and announcements. Alphabet subsidiary Google laid out an ambitious plan at its flagship Google I/O conference for the rest of 2016, which it hosted earlier in May.
The search engine giant delivered on its promises big time. It makes progress on all fronts with impressive releases in both the hardware and the software departments.
While the Big G kicked it off in August with the roll-out of Android Nougat. A month later it followed up with the launch of its mobile messaging app Allo which also formally introduced its mighty Assistant AI.
It wasn’t until its hardware #madebygoogle event in October though that Google really brought out the big guns.
Along with the 4K Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle and its Google Wifi router. The company launched its new and improved Daydream VR headset. It also took on Amazon with its own smart home device called Google Home.
However, the undisputed headliner was the announcement of its new Pixel and Pixel XL flagship smartphones, leaving the Nexus brand behind. The handset quickly earned the admiration of tech aficionados assembled by HTC, with its gorgeous design, sharp display, spectacular camera capabilities and smooth performance.
Recently, Google hit another massive milestone to top all of this off. After research estimated Android scooped 87.5 percent of the global smartphone market share. Meaning nearly every nine out of 10 mobiles devices out there are running its operating system.
2016 was all about enabling people to connect and create for Microsoft.
The company hosted its Windows 10 event back in October. Where in addition to announcing a huge ‘Creators Update’ still to come next year. It also teased a series of complimentary tools and resources to go with it. It includes the revamped Paint 3D app as well as its creative community platform Remix3D.
The Windows-maker also teased a thrilling line of new hardware products, but more remarkably.
The Redmond titan revealed its brushed up Surface Book to start off. Boasting significantly augmented graphical performance as well as a supercharged battery that could last for up to 16 hours. It’s finally getting serious about virtual reality with a small preview of its forthcoming VR headset is also shown.
But the biggest takeaway from the Windows 10 event was without a doubt the announcement of its first-ever desktop computer such as the Surface Studio. The device is an all-in-one PC with a dazzling design that holds together all of its components in a single base and monitor unit much like the iMac.
The Surface studio will ship with auxiliary ‘Surface Dial’ knob that provides a wide array of skills and controls when placed on the screen. The Dial also be sold separately as it will be compatible with other Surface products includes the Surface Book and the Surface Pro.
To round things up, more recently with the introduction of its Slack competitor Microsoft Teams, Microsoft made its foray into group chat messaging. This aims to streamline team communication for both productive collaboration and casual conversation. On concord, we will have to wait until next year to see how this pans out.
Capitalizing on the surprising success of its Echo smart speaker. This year Amazon continued to expand its Echo offerings that introduce a heap of new Alexa skills. As well as two two smaller-sized models of its smart home assistant such as the Amazon Tap and the Amazon Dot.
The e-commerce giant also managed to ramp up its content streaming and production efforts, bringing notable improvements to both its music as well as video services.
The company launched its standalone on-demand music streaming service Amazon Music Unlimited whereas in October. To take on rivals Apple Music and Spotify. Last month it revealed its video streaming service Amazon Prime Video is rolling out globally to go neck and neck with Netflix.
Amazon also launched its new Amazon Go technology in a less anticipated turn of events. This promises to fundamentally transform the retail world. The system aims to make stores cashier-free by introducing a new self-check out mechanism in a nutshell.
Although news outlets rushed to speculate Amazon could venture into retail with 2,000 more Go-equipped stores. The company was quick to shun the rumors. Claiming it has no immediate plans to open more physical stores other than the grocery shop in Seattle where it’s currently testing the new technology.
Nintendo has been on a tear this year and not without a reason.
The legendary game-maker finally made its first foray into smartphone gaming back in March with the release of its freemium social networking app Miitomo that proved to be an immediate success, amassing over 10 million downloads worldwide.
It wasn’t until the launch of Pokémon Go that things really started to pick up for Nintendo. The smash-hit augmented reality game only a week after its release engaged almost as many daily active users as social media favorites Twitter and Snapchat. Although the game eventually began to lose steam. It still edged out rivaling titles Clash Royale. Traffic Rider and slither.io to become Google Play’s top game of 2016.
In fact, turned out to be such a colossal sensation it caused Nintendo stock to surge up nearly 13 percent to a six-year high. On concord, quickly plummeted when the company issued a memo reminding shareholders it owns only 32 percent of Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs.
On concord, this was only a temporary setback. The game-maker dropped another bomb when it announced it’s bringing the Super Mario franchise to iOS and Android with its upcoming title Super Mario Run.
Additionally, to its winning mobile game streak. Nintendo also made its presence felt on the hardware front. The company re-launched its classic NES console in an adorable tiny form to warm up nostalgic fans for the introduction of its new Nintendo Switch console early next year.
While these titans of the tech industry undeniably stole the spotlight this year, they certainly weren’t the only companies to leave a mark in 2016.
Netflix continued to assert its dominance. Creating more original content than ever and fixing to further ramp up its original programming efforts within the next few years with goals to produce 50 percent of its offerings in-house.
Tesla is also confidently marching forward on its electric-powered quest with a slew of meaningful improvements to its vehicles as well as bold an entry into the solar technology with the $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity.
Things are also shaking up in the mobile market. Chinese suppliers Xiaomi and Huawei are rapidly closing in on runner-up Samsung while Apple lords over the rest. This follows the devastating launch of its flagship Galaxy Note 7.
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