Welcome to the 2012 Captain Gadget Awards! We'll be looking back on the Year That Was In Technology and doling out awards to all who deserve them -- for better or for worse. These are the best, worst, funniest, weirdest, dumbest, most pathetic, uplifting, inspiring companies, products, players and other miscellanea from 2012.
Pull out your Surface and gather the kids around the Galaxy Note: It's time to dive in and recall what we were all worked up about this year, and hand out some hardware to some deserving winners...
The "No, Seriously, What's It Called?" Award: To Apple, for the iPad, and also the iPad. After months of everyone assuming that the third iPad would be called the iPad 3, Apple surprised (and mostly confused) everyone by naming the third iPad "the iPad." Eight months later, when Apple announced the fourth-generation iPad, that iPad was also called "the iPad." So, do you want the iPad, or the iPad? I'm going to go with the iPad, unless you think the iPad would be better? I'll probably just go with the iPad.
The Worst Pun Of The Year Award: Also to Apple, for declaring in advertisements that the third iPad's high-definition display was "resolutionary."
The "I Heard He Also Listens to Hippity-Hop Music" Award: To investors who doubted Mark Zuckerburg was qualified to be CEO of Facebook -- not because he was a college dropout, nor because he had limited experience as an executive, nor because he had not yet figured out a way to turn market share into profits -- but because he showed up to an investor meeting wearing a hoodie.
The Hoodiegate Award For Stupid Fake Scandals: To Hoodiegate, for being a stupid, fake scandal.
The "I'll Take Three!" Award: To Nokia, for its Lumia smartphone. While suggestive of light or illumination for us English speakers, "Lumia" is rough slang in Spanish for "prostitute."
Unlikely Pundit Of The Year Award: To Justin Bieber, who for some reason was asked about the Facebook IPO by Bloomberg, in a segment called "Is Bieber In On The Facebook Fever?"
The Handheld Kaleidoscope Award For Emerging Personal Technology That Most Closely Approximates Psychotropic Drug Use: To Lytro, for its photos that can be focused and perspective-shifted after-the-fact in the most hallucinogenic way possible.
The Tyra Banks Z Snap Award: To Apple CEO Tim Cook who, when asked about the dual-desktop/touchscreen mode of Windows 8, replied that "[y]ou can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those aren’t going to be pleasing to the user."
The Tyra Banks Z-Snap-Gone-Wrong Award: Also to Tim Cook. When asked about the Microsoft Surface, he replied:
One of the toughest things you do with what product to make, is to make hard trade-offs and decide what a product should be, and we've really done that with the iPad, so the user experience is incredible. I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don't think it would do all of those things very well.
This response, supposedly a put-down, led many to wonder: If Apple can design a car that can fly and float, then WHAT IS WAITING FOR?!?!
The Deeply Depressing Look At Our Future Award, Part 1: To Tacocopter, a drone quadcopter built specifically to deliver tacos via the sky, which we could see in fleets at Chipotle in the coming years.
The Deeply Depressing Look At Our Future Award, Part 2: To Last Moment Robot, a concept human-like robot programmed to comfort you in the minutes before you die.
The Deeply Depressing Look At Our Future Award, Part 3: To Samsung, for its automatic smartphone diary concept. Essentially, Samsung filed for a patent that would allow your phone to track everything you do and then spit out a daily "diary" -- where you went, who you called, what music you listened to -- that you could go back and read like a journal. Creepy diary, or the creepiest diary?
The AOL Chat Room Memorial Award For Enabling High School Cybersex: To Snapchat, for Snapchat.
The Stepping On Your Own Feet Award: To Facebook, for releasing an almost feature-by-feature clone of Instagram just one month after the company paid almost $1 billion for... Instagram.
The Netflix/Qwikster Award For Universally Angering All Of Your Customers In One Fell Swoop: To Instagram, for its updated Terms of Service.
The "But When Is It Coming To T-Mobile?" Award: To the Ulysse Nardin Chairman smartphone, officially named the world's most expensive smartphone by the Guinness Book of World Records. The Chairman can run as high as $130,000 if you get it fully-loaded with all the available diamonds and gems.
The Mixed Messaging Award: To HTC, who began the year attempting to simplify the names of its smartphones, and then launched the One X, the One S, the EVO 4G, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE, the Windows Phone 8X and the Droid DNA.
The "Maybe It's The iMac?" Award: To T-Mobile, who announced that Apple products would be arriving in 2013 without confirming exactly which Apple products would be for sale. Everyone assumes T-Mobile means the iPhone, but who knows? Perhaps T-Mobile is getting into the all-in-one desktop computer business.
The Dec. 31 Sign of the Apocalypse, Part 2: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian announce they have a baby -- and the news gets out via Twitter, where 15 Kanye's Baby parody accounts are created in under an hour.
The Dec. 31 Sign of the Apocalypse, Part 3: Microsoft is cool, Apple is the mega-corporation with the innovation problem and a Zuckerberg is complaining that her Facebook information was leaked in a privacy breach without her permission. Just as the Mayans foretold.