The best of 2011: January, February, March!

by Ore Fakorede

2011 is shaping up to be one of the most eventful years in recent history. From the catastrophic – an earthquake and attendant nuclear disaster in Japan, to the downright ugly – Libya’s war of terror against its own citizens, global happenings have struggled to fit themselves into the first quarter of this year. But it’s not all negative. At YNaija we’ve chosen to look on the bright side of things, bringing you a fine selection of ground-breaking products and positively memorable events that grabbed headlines from January to March.

 

 

TECHNOLOGY AND GADGETS

 

1. The Motorola Xoom:

2011 is unarguably the year of the tablet. Sleek, ultra-portable devices with high definition screens and powerful processors which enable gaming and smooth web-surfing on the go, tablets have all but knocked netbook computers into oblivion.  As every tech company that has ever manufactured a portable computer or mobile device is struggling to release a ‘tab’, the tech-savvy consumer is now faced with an ever-growing myriad of choices.

 

Motorola, a company that was dying two years ago, was brought back to life by the open-source power of Android, Google’s wildly-popular operating system. The critically-acclaimed Xoom Android-based tablet is clear evidence that Moto’s artificial heart is beating steadily. With its potent dual-core processor, the slimline device has been touted as the first real competition to Apple’s market-dominating iPad (more on that shortly). The Xoom’s razor-sharp screen, Honeycomb 3.0 OS, 3D graphics acceleration capability and twin cameras are a few more viable excuses to empty your wallet.

Price (In Naira): From 84,000 (WiFi-Only Version)

 

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2. The iPad 2:

Another tablet rolls in at number two. This unexpected follow up to the trend-setting iPad brings a few, howbeit crucial changes to Apple’s award-winning formula. In this second generation update, the California tech company gives the people what they’ve been asking for by adding rear and front-facing cameras, trimming the device to a mind-boggling 8.8mm and offering it in two colours – classic white for we fashion-forward souls and jet black for our grubby-fingered, suya-munching friends. Perhaps more important is the under-the-hood transformation which sees the single-core chip in the iPad swapped for a 1Ghz A5 dual-core processor. We’re talking twice the speed of the original iPad people, and interminable lines are forming in-front of Apple stores worldwide. There’s a downside here though. The closed nature of Apple’s iOS firmware and persisting inaccessibility to its fantastic online App Store from Nigeria will make it almost impossible for us back home to get the best out of the iPad 2.

 

Price (In Naira): From 78,000 (WiFi-Only Version)

 

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3. The Nintendo 3DS:

If 2011 is the year of the tablet, then 2010 must have been the year of 3D. All-through that crazy year, Hollywood went on rampage, shooting movies in 3D like our very lives depended on it. As expected, the results of these crazed ventures were mixed. While some movie buffs complained of headaches and nausea after spending a mere hour in front of 3D screens, a lot of kids were as pleased as punch to see animated characters literally come to life before their eyes. Taking things further still, 2011 heralds the massive invasion of our homes by goofy glasses-free 3D devices.

 

Putting its best thumb forward, Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has setup shop in a hitherto non-existent market for handheld 3D gaming consoles with the over-hyped 3DS. The nifty device packs a stereoscopic 3D screen on top of a touch LCD display, motion and gyro sensors for some incredible Mario Kart goodness, backwards compatibility with existing Nintendo DS/DSi titles (2D only) and a 3D camera. Almost too good to be true, as is the hefty price to be paid.


Price (In Naira): From 39,000

 

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4. Nokia and Microsoft Announce Strategic Partnership:

Nokia, the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer has watched its sizable share of the cellphone market dwindle in recent years. The Finnish company found itself drowning in icy waters as the vibrant ingenuity of Asian smartphone companies dwarfed its minimalist hardware designs and the unappealing Symbian platform that has long being a deadweight around its neck.

 

 

A long overdue change of direction came on March 11, 2011 when Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft’s Steven Ballmer announced a strategic partnership between the gigantic companies. In an open letter co-written by the executives, the finer points of the hook-up were outlined and all pointed to the slow death of Symbian as an operating system. According to Nokia, Microsoft’s gorgeous Windows Phone 7 (WP7) OS would gradually replace Symbian as the primary software platform on Nokia devices. It was rumoured that Microsoft paid Nokia 1 billion dollars to cement the deal. Phones carrying the Nokia trademark and running WP7 are expected to debut later this year.

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