A warm welcome to the fourth, annual Dialaphone Mobile News Awards, where we celebrate and vilify all the news stories, PR fluff, announcements and fails that shaped the last 12 months. If you’re eagerly expecting the winner of this year’s Best Mobile award, sorry, you won’t find it here, nor in fact, will you find anything very sensible at all.
2011′s Word of the Year
Nominees: Patent, Dual-Core, NFC.
Which of these words are you sick of hearing? First, we have ‘dual-core’, the type of processor running every top-of-the-range smartphone over the past 12 months. Next we have NFC (yes, we know that’s really three words, not one), the wireless data transfer technology that networks and manufacturers alike are desperate to get up and running as soon as possible. Finally, there’s ‘patent’, which refers to lawsuits concerning intellectual property, rather than leather shoes.
There’s an obvious winner here, thanks to dual-core phones and NFC being at least quite interesting. Patent talk isn’t, and never will be, interesting.
The Winner: Patent
The “Oh, Just Give it a Rest” Award for the 2011 News Story that Wouldn’t Die
Nominees: The iPhone 5, the Facebook Phone, Everyone Suing Everybody Else.
With ‘patent’ grabbing our Word of the Year award, can the related lawsuits take home this one too? It’s up against some tough competition though, especially from the ever-present Facebook Phone, which is rapidly becoming the new PlayStation Phone (a previous award winner here).
As hateful as the ongoing lawsuits between everybody and their dog are, they can’t even come close to the endless talk of the iPhone 5, its features and potential release date. It wouldn’t be so bad if even half of what was rumoured came true!
The Winner: iPhone 5
Mobile TV/Movie Star of 2011
Nominees: N97 Mini in Source Code, Windows Phone 7 in Castle, BlackBerry in The Apprentice.
The BBC received complaints about contestants in The Apprentice being challenged to build an app for BlackBerry phones, questioning why products were being promoted when such a practice was banned by the corporation. In Source Code, the N97 Mini played a key – if perplexing – role in the sci-fi film, but it’s Windows Phone 7 that easily takes the prize in this category. Just take a look at this video to see some of the most blatant and laughable product placement of the year.
The Winner: Windows Phone 7 in Castle
2011′s Biggest Mobile Fail
Nominees: 4G, Nokia N9, Any Tablet Other Than the iPad.
If this award was being considered in America, 4G would be one of the year’s biggest wins. But here in the UK, we’re still waiting for it to happen at all, and instead get to hear about spectrum auctions, network arguments and other nonsense. Just give us high speed data!
Nokia’s much hyped N9 phone fails due to not being sold here, and for running an OS that was abandoned prior to release.
However, neither has failed in the same way as every tablet not running iOS. Proof, as if it were needed, comes in the form of HP’s TouchPad, which only managed to sell when it was reduced to £89.
The Winner: Every tablet except the iPad!
2011′s Biggest Shock
Nominees: Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrades, Nokia/Microsoft Partnership, Sony and Ericsson Split.
Nokia and Microsoft getting together was a big surprise certainly, as was Sony’s and Ericsson’s split – instantly becoming the tech world’s equivalent to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. But really, neither made us drop a cup of tea in surprise.
However, several spillages occurred as various manufacturers jostled to update key phones to the latest Android OS, even going as far as sending out press releases to announce the news! Amazing, considering their apathy over the last few years.
The Winner: Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades
The Moat – An Award for the Biggest PR Disaster
Nominees: Carrier IQ, BlackBerry Messenger and RIM.
Ouch, getting nominated twice for two separate incidents just goes to show how badly RIM’s year has gone. First its Messenger service gets the blame for master-minding riots around the country in August, then the whole system collapses and BlackBerry owners are left without access to data, emails or Messenger for several days.
But can RIM’s concerted effort to win this award fend off Carrier IQ? Once a happily faceless corporation, Carrier IQ was thrust into the limelight and accused of recording our every move towards the end of the year. While their PR teams scrambled to assemble huge documents explaining their activities, not once did they think ‘I know what’ll help: Free apps!’ So no, no they can’t.
The Winner: Research in Motion!
The “Throw Me a Rope!” Award for Those Circling the Abyss
Nominees: RIM, Palm and Nokia.
This award sees us throwing a rope to the company that needs it most. It has been a tough year for every tech company not named Apple, but these three have had a harder time than most. Nokia may have a Window through which to climb and escape a nasty fall, but Palm’s saucy saviour turned out to be more of an executioner.
So, Nokia’s holding on and Palm’s beyond saving, but what about RIM? New rumours of buyouts remind us of what happened to Palm, but like Nokia they can still save themselves with the right product. Oi, RIM! Grab hold!
The Winner: RIM
For Science! – An Award for 2011′s Best Piece of Mobile Related Research
Nominees: Phantom Limb Syndrome, Sexting, Dead Bees.
New research always shows that 95% of all research is ignored, but we’d suggest taking notice of our three nominees anyway. For example, who’s life isn’t enriched by knowing that just 1% of children aged 10 to 17 have shared explicit pictures via phone, and who didn’t shed a tear after research suggested mobile signals were killing bees.
While these are good examples of 2011′s most important pieces of research, our winner is even more cutting-edge. Behold, the ‘phantom limb syndrome‘, which likens the effects felt by those who’re deprived of their phones for 24 hours to a condition experienced by amputees. Yep, ’cause they’re the same.
The Winner: Phantom Limb Syndrome
Device Codename of 2011
Nominees: BlackBerry Surfboard, Sony Ericsson Hallon, HTC Ignite.
Manufacturers love choosing obscure codenames for their upcoming devices, but which out of the 2011 crop wins our award for the most misjudged? BlackBerry’s Surfboard, as ridiculous as it sounds, could almost make sense if the phone turns out to look like one, so it falls at the first hurdle here. But HTC’s Ignite is like calling a car the Crash, and Hallon means raspberry in Swedish, meaning they’re very difficult to choose between. After, oh, seconds of thought, a deserving winner emerged.
The Winner: HTC Ignite
I’d Buy That for a Dollar! – Award for 2011′s Best Mobile Ad
Nominees: T-Mobile’s Royal Wedding, Huawei’s MediaPad, Samsung’s Galaxy S II.
When we say ‘best’, we mean of course, the most ridiculous we can find. Huawei’s MediaPad TV ad is cringe-inducing and stupidly contrived, but it’s nowhere near as hateful as T-Mobile’s Royal Wedding cash-in. But for out-and-out oddness, Samsung’s suggestion to put their Galaxy S II smartphone under your noisy pet chicken to quieten it down, ensures it wins by a mile.
The Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II