2012: A year in review for OxGadgets

By Sami Mughal

It has been one of the best years for this website, and we are humbled as we write down a summary of the year for OxGadgets.com.

Change of name/image:

If we were to write in chronological order, this would be the last item on the menu. Over the Christmas period, the website has gone through a name, URL and image change. What started off as a humble blog, going from being called Randomness Infinite to The Letter’s S recently, we are now aiming at becoming a high profile UK based gadgets magazine/webzine. We have gone from being accessed by smacula.blogspot.com, to getting our own domain in the name of smacula.co.uk, which has now become www.oxgadgets.com. Thanks to my very good friend @asimzeeshan, all those links still work, but the main access to the website is of course via the OxGadgets URL.

oxgadgetsTwitter

Of course, with the new image and the aim, we are openly accepting new contributors to the website. We prefer people from Oxford and the whole of UK, but anybody with any amount of passion is welcome to contribute. Of course, you can get in touch with us via our About/Contact page.

Arduino – PIC – ARM

One of the most popular items on this website has been the Arduino self-help articles we published back in 2010. Things have changed, as has our focus. We wrote a bit about PICs this year, but most importantly, moving forward towards the future, we shall be focussing on ARM tutorials and self help. There is a lot to learn, and the progress will be slow, but hopefully you guys will be enjoying what we have to offer.

Gadgets

There have been a few gadgets that have been added to our fleet.

While most people don’t even consider laptops as a ‘gadget’ any more, an interesting experiment took place when we bought a laptop from Dell’s refurbished store. An amazing price of only £400 for an i7 processor, with 4GB of RAM and 750GB HDD. This is currently the device this piece is being written on. We would definitely recommend checking it out.

Among phones, a HTC ONE X was acquired and has proven to be gem of a phone. The only complaint being O2’s handling of the Jelly Bean update. There is concerns about phones now though, and hope that in the future we shall go for the Nexus range only.

Talking of Nexus, among tablets, the Nexus 7 added to our lovely collection of gadgets, and this is one beauty that has not disappointed. It was something we never thought we could justify, but it is one of those beautiful little gizmos that suddenly make their presence known in your life once you own them. A definite thumbs up.

Amazingly, bike gadgets category was won by the side mirror we installed on our bike. That has made cycling around Oxford city not only safer, but very easy too. There is also the surprise package of how well a balaclava works in the winter, as well as quite a few bicycle lights.

We test drove the Nissan Leaf, a completely electric car. This proved to be a very interesting experience, though to summarize, the range is still the problem. The drive was lovely though.

There have been other devices that have been tested out thanks to the above, such as case, keyboards, docks, and such. Most of them were reviewed here, and you can find them under the Review section.

Other occurrences of note in the year:

  • Apple followed the success of Nexus 7 by releasing the iPad Mini. Kindle had already stepped into the 7” tablet game by releasing the Kindle Fire tablet. Tablets have become cheap, and accessible, with many 7” models under £200, and some even under a £100.
  • Electric cars progress at a snail’s pace, but there is hope and a big future for them.
  • 2012 was the year of crowd-funding. Kickstarter projects became big, as did others crowd-funding websites.
  • Smartphone watches have progressed to the state where Casio have produced one that links to your iPhone and lasts a 2 year life. We have also seen ventures such as Pebble go big.
  • Bluetooth and such wireless speakers are a common household item now.
  • E-Readers are here to stay.
  • Battery life remains the biggest problem with gadgets.
  • Many things to look forward to this year, some of which were promised for 2012… like flexible screens, more wireless charging, and such like.

Well here is our summary as we head towards an exciting new year. What were your favourite gadgets? What are you most excited about?

Sami Mughalhttps://www.oxgadgets.com
Can be found somewhere between designing new tech as an electronics engineer or testing new tech as a technology enthusiast. Lives mostly on Twitter, and would love to have a word with you there as @smacula.

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