As 2006 sips one too many alcopops and slips into unconsciousness, we take a look back at the high – and low – lights of the year.
GADGET OF THE YEAR
Nintendo Wii gaming console
Opting for a lower-spec machine than its two arch rivals, Nintendo seemed to have lost a screw when it came to the console games market. And calling it the Wii looked like the marketing disaster of the year. However, Nintendo had spent all its energy perfecting an innovative and fun games system that even your mum would fancy a go on and managed to produce almost enough units to go around. Which when you think about it, is the strategy all game fans would rather see.
SHOCK OF THE YEAR
Bill Gates retires!
William H Gates III looked about as likely to give up his day job as Saddam Hussein was to win an award for his humanitarian good works. So when Microsoft's head honcho announced his forthcoming departure plans it took everyone by surprise.
SPAT OF THE YEAR
Blu-ray versus HD DVD
The official DVD body might have given its blessings to HD DVD as the successor to standard discs, but that wasn't going to stop Sony re-enacting the battle between Betamax and VHS. Unfortunately, HD DVD hit the shelves first and costs about half the price of Blu-ray. None of which might have mattered had Sony been able to get its Blu-ray-powered PS3 console into more than two million hands before Christmas. With neither side budging an inch, expect this one to run and run.
SCANDAL OF THE YEAR
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. An internal investigation at Hewlett Packard uncovers some interesting goings on that involve phone tapping and covert plans to put spy cleaners into media offices. Questions were so far reaching that HP's previous controversial boss Carly Fiorentina was even dragged back into the limelight, if only for a moment. High-level resignations and retirements followed. All we want to know is, when's the movie coming out?
WORST PRODUCT OF THE YEAR
Dotmobi domain names
Another year, another domain name. This one is designed to be the one people head to first when they're using a mobile device as it's the one most likely to work properly with their phone or PDA. Three snags here. First, it's possible to set your existing website to recognise mobile devices and show them a version built for them. Second, lots of devices now use a standard web browser to view pages and don't need any special attention. And third, the company selling the names had already whacked a hefty fee on any that sounded like they might be worth something, so there was no benefit from the land rush for ordinary punters.
LAWSUIT OF THE YEAR
Utube sues YouTube
While you might think the titanic Apple versus Apple legal battle would have been a shoe-in for this award, we prefer the simplicity of Utube suing YouTube. Well if you were getting a million idiots on the hunt for happy slapping and exploding Coke bottles crashing your company’s website, you’d be a bit miffed too.
PR DISASTER OF THE YEAR
PS3 delayed! Blu-ray turning up late for the high-definition punch up! Laptop batteries exploding! Even HP’s high profile scandal can’t hold a candle to the year Sony has had.
RUMOUR OF THE YEAR
The rumours of an iPod phone from Apple prove at least one thing: there are an awful lot of people in the world with PhotoShop skills and too much time on their hands. Cue tons of artists’ impressions masquerading as "Official leaked photographs!!!" Shame Apple has been beaten to the drop for the iPhone name if it all turns out to be true in a few weeks time.