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Updated: Thu, 20 Dec 2012 12:05:10 GMT | By Jeff Beer

2012: The year in gadgets

Archrivals Apple and Google both scored big wins and losses, while Sony got trampled in the fray.


 (© Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP)

(Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP)

Samsung Galaxy SIII

Samsung overtook Apple as the top-selling smartphone maker in the world this year, largely on the back of its marquee model. The Galaxy used aggressive pricing, a well-timed release long before the iPhone 5 and slick marketing to not only match Apple on tech specs but also gain some serious ground in the culture of cool.

2012: The year in gadgets

Sony PS Vita

Sony bet big on mobile gaming this year - just not the right kind. While gaming popularity on tablets and smartphones continuesu00a0 to explode, Sony tried to convince hardcore gamers to drop another $250 on a high-performance portable gaming system. It didn't work. The company was forced to lower its sales projections twice, and moved just 1.8 million portable systems (including the older PSP model) in its first three months after forecasting sales upwards of 16 million for the year.

 (© Photo: Peter Dejong/AP)

(Photo: Peter Dejong/AP)

iPhone 5

The fifth iteration of the Jesus Phone set a record right out of the gate, selling five million units in three days. And by meeting even the most inflated expectations of casual consumers and fanboys alike, combined with its bigger screen and faster speeds, some analysts are predicting Apple will sell an unprecedented 200 million iPhones in 2013.

 (© Photo: M. Spencer Green/AP)

(Photo: M. Spencer Green/AP)

iPad Mini

By some measures, it's a beautiful adaptation of a near-perfect product. And yet, because we're talking about Apple, the Mini has been met with a resounding "meh." It's slower, smaller and features grainier resolution than a regular iPad, and many critics are saying that Steve Jobs would never have released it. The Mini is a defensive play to keep buyers away from the clutches of more affordable, smaller tablets available from Samsung, Google and Amazon, but in the process Apple tarnished its own reputation for nothing but the best.

 (© Photo: Reed Saxon/AP)

(Photo: Reed Saxon/AP)

Kindle Fire HD

Amazon's high-quality, low-priced gambit seems to be paying off. The $199 tablet has become one of the only serious challengers on the market, targeting those of us unwilling to shell out the big bucks for an iPad. To wit: the biggest day yet for Kindle Fire HD sales since the launch? The very day Apple unveiled its iPad Mini.

2012: The year in gadgets

Google Nexus Q

It costs three times as much as the competition, but this online streaming device for TVs offers only a fraction of the content. Not exactly a sales pitch anyone wants to hear, but that's the reality for the $299 video player introduced by Google earlier this year. While it packs a heavy tech punchu2014a full Android-powered computer inside its small spherical shellu2014it plays video from the Google Play store only, excluding services like Netflix and Hulu. And people hated the user interface. Up against the likes of Apple TV, Roku and Boxee, the Q was KO'd from the start.

2012: The year in gadgets

Beats by Dre

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics took the 2012 London Games by storm. Their Beats by Dre headphones were almost as ubiquitous as national flags, with athletes of all stripes sporting the headphones before competition. The brand walked a tightrope routine around Olympic regulations to sidestep paying the $100 million required to be an official sponsor, instead handing out the $350 products for free to Olympians, earning them a gold medal in global media exposure.

2012: The year in gadgets

3-D TV

The "future of television" was supposed to be here right now, but since being introduced at CES 2010, 3-D TVs have largely stalled thanks to lack of available content, high TV prices and those pesky glasses. Viewership of 3-D programming is so low that Nielsen's measurements aren't able to even register its size.

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