The Year in Tech: Top 2007 News and Trends

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The iPhone may have made the biggest tech splash in 2007, but a lot of other cannonballs hit the water as well: The year saw the hatching of Google's Android, a number of exploding laptops, and even a new tech-related ailment called "Acute Wiiitis."

What follows is a roundup of 2007's top tech news highlights, from Windows Vista to data breaches to a digital green movement that inspired a company called NHC to make an environmentally responsible MP3 player that Al Gore might jam out to.

Vista Follies

For many people, 2007 kicked off with a disappointment--Microsoft's much-anticipated release of Windows Vista. The OS itself wasn't bad--in fact, we gave Vista a positive review--but upgrading from an XP environment proved nightmarish for a lot of users.

Starting in January,consumers could purchase Windows Vista. But anyone who bought a laptop or desktop PC in late 2006 was automatically enrolled in the Express Upgrade to Windows Vista coupon program, entitling them to a free upgrade from XP to Vista.

Unfortunately, many Express customers discovered that there was nothing "express" about the upgrade. Consumers who tried to redeem their coupons ran into delays when the companies responsible for processing the Vista coupons were overwhelmed by demand and ill-equipped to deal with it. Many people had to wait months to get their Vista upgrade disc.

But consumers' Vista woes didn't stop there: Some people who upgraded from XP decided that Vista wasn't all that Microsoft made it out to be. By the summer, Vista was facing the prospect of mounting consumer defections, as major computer vendors told customers that they would help them get rid of Vista and revert to XP.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

Many laptop users who managed to steer clear of Vista problems ran into a completely different source of trouble: Laptop battery woes that surfaced in 2006 developed into a horror show in 2007. Bad batteries dominated events in the laptop industry, and eventually nearly 10 million notebook PCs from Acer, Apple, Dell, Lenova, and Sony were recalled.

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