Best of 2011: Biggest Digital Stories of the Year

By Claire Reilly

Current is wrapping up for the year this week (no gift-giving pun intended), and we’re looking back over a fantastic year in technology, retail and appliance news. We’ll be back next year with more quality and timely stories, but before that, let’s take a look at what has made the headlines in 2011.

While plenty of retailers and suppliers in the industry read Current to stay on top of what’s going on, the site also attracts its fair share of consumers. This is especially the case with digital news stories, which attract everyday punters interested in new technology.

The case in point is our top story of the year, which outranked all others terms of views.

On a quiet Monday in August, Harvey Norman announced that it would be slashing prices of the HP TouchPad – a tablet device that used HP’s WebOS operating system, which had been axed by the manufacturer. What followed was a fire sale of epic proportions and a flood of readers looking for information on a product that had seen $501 wiped from its shelf price.

The head of Harvey Norman’s Computers’ Division, Ben McIntosh, called it an “HP TouchPad stock liquidation sale” that was “based on a ‘when we sell out, you miss out basis’.” The product sold, and many missed out, but not before they’d read all the latest developments on Current.

2011 was also a year that saw the launch of the iPad 2 and the long-awaited iPhone 4S (in lieu of what many expected would be the iPhone 5), and Apple was big in digital news. While leaked pricing of the iPad 2 drew readers in, Apple’s unrelenting store rollout strategy also caught our attention – the figures the company provided correlated to a new store opening every 50 hours before the end of 2011. This included the company’s 11th store in Australia, located in the Western-Sydney heartland of Penrith.

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Another big tablet story for 2011 was the launch of the Motorola Xoom. JB Hi-Fi became the first retailer to get its hands on the Wi-Fi only model, which was previously only available through Telstra. Despite what seemed to be a glut of tablets on the market, readers were still interested to learn about the tablet’s specs on the same day it hit shelves.

But it wasn’t all good news this year. Current revealed that the Foxtel on Xbox 360 service being offered to owners of the console was not the ‘game-changer’ it promised to be. While a range of lifestyle, comedy and kids’ programming was offered in the standard package, sports fans would need to pay extra to see their favourite games, and many of these would not be live.

Finally, in a year that saw the Australian dollar reach parity with the greenback, pricing of products was a hot topic. Current took a look at the pricing of Nintendo 3DS (which was launched in Australia with an RRP of $349, compared to the American price of US$250) and analysed the logistics of selling products down under, compared to back in the United States. Like many topics this year, this article certainly had readers divided, with plenty of people using the comments box to add their opinion.

Top Five Digital Stories of the Year:
1. Harvey Norman sells off HP TouchPad stock for $98 and $148 (most read Current.com.au story of 2011).
2. Apple to open a new Store every 50 hours before end of 2011 harvest.
3. JB Hi-Fi first retailer to sell new Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi only tablet.
4. Foxtel on Xbox 360 to mislead sports fans.
5. Why Nintendo is NOT price gouging on the 3DS.

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