A relative latecomer to the party was the sudden global awareness of Carrier IQ. This data tracking software was found to be installed on over 100m handsets worldwide and capable of logging keystrokes, sending live location data and recording all handset activity. With its ability to be installed on any phone platform by any carrier it threw privacy violations back into the spotlight.
Major handset makers and networks were involved including Apple, HTC and Samsung, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Furthermore while the likes of RIM and Nokia said Carrier IQ was not on their devices, they admitted that didn’t stop networks from installing it later. US senators and the FBI have since become involved and Apple has notably said Carrier IQ is no longer supported following the release of iOS5. Implications will run well into 2012 and don't expect Carrier IQ to be the only software of its type.
Death of Steve Jobs
Undeniably the biggest story (and certainly the saddest) in the tech sector in 2011 was the passing of legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Plagued by health problems in recent years Jobs had stepped down as CEO on 17 January taking indefinite medical leave. He permanently resigned the position on 24 August, handing the reigns to Tim Cook, and passed away just six weeks later on 5 October.
Jobs remained prolific until the end, having been seen on the Apple campus only days before his death. Jobs' only official biography, simply entitled 'Steve Jobs', was published 19 days later and became a runaway bestseller. Writer Walter Isaacson was given unparalleled access into Jobs' notoriously secret private life with Jobs himself admitting the change of heart came because "I wanted my kids to know me."
Jobs is unique in having changed no less than five industries: music, film, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. The magnitude of his loss to the industry will take years to fully comprehend.