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Feel the burn: in the aftermath of year's biggest hype

Connected, pumped, and conceptual

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Every year, companies and individuals in the IT industry - mostly CEOs and those in marketing - spew vast quantities of unmitigated hype. In line with this year's rise in global temperatures, the past 12 months saw a spike in recorded levels of hot air.

Reg Dev hung about after the initial hype had passed to discover what happened next.

Something's dying, and it ain't the phone

William Gates III generally gives good value, and 2007 would not be complete without Windows Vista. He kicked the year off with a speech at the annual gadgets Mecca the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, by hyping the new age of Windows Vista and how it would bring in a new era of "connected experiences'".

The mighty subsequently tumbled, and Microsoft spent much of 2007 defending Vista from criticism and disappointing sales figures.

In May, Gates went out on a limb to boldly predict the demise of the desktop telephone while launching the all-in-one desk, PC, and phone concept called Surface. Last time we checked the desktop phone was not just thriving but evolving as an IP device.

Bill Gates, ladies and gentlemen, still fine tuning his prophesising skills, having barely mentioned the internet in his 1990s tome The Road Ahead, forecast the death of spam by 2006 and backed the TabletPC.

The biggest business that never was

In many ways 2007 was the year that mobile phones truly mutated into portable computers and became an important new development platform.

Having been fingered for causing brain cancer in previous years, mobile phones were this year blamed for the demise of bees - although the real culprit turned out to be boring old fungus.

However, it was Palm - one of the first into the portable computing market and expected to thrive on the convergence of mobile comms with computing, that helped excite people during the summer. Palm launched, to widespread expectations, the Folio - a device that Palm was betting would become its third major business.

Palm founder Jeff Hawkins went as far as to describe the device that was neither phone nor laptop, but rather a lap-top-sized email and calender device, as "the most exciting product I have ever worked on". Which wasn't saying much for the PalmPilot that really did galvanize an industry and helped open Microsoft's sleepy eyes, leading it to action with Windows CE.

Following a universal panning, though, Palm unceremoniously binned the Folio. It also spent the remainder of the year trying to explain away delays in upgrading its Palm operating system.

iPhone enters Jobs' reality distortion field

Unquestionably, the year belonged to Apple's iPhone. As is the Apple way, the company let others sing its praises while remaining precociously silent. Randall Stephen, CEO of iPhone partner and carrier dinosaur AT&T told news comic USA Today: "We use this term a lot at AT&T - we think the iPhone is a 'game changer' in our industry. It will change how people think about these handsets."

Other fans provided a breathless, minute-by-minute countdown to the iPhone launch.

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