2021 Big Tech Events [Year in Review]

Alireza Mortazavi
5 min readJan 9, 2022

2021, a year full of fear, hope, optimism and a bumpy road for a lot of people. Despite the global vaccination programs and the various vaccines that were introduced, a lot of people have resisted the vaccination and the pandemic is still continuing to hurt the people, the economy, supply chains and literary everything, thanks to new variations and mixed strings of the virus!

Technology has helped us to develop vaccines in a shorter time frame, but a lot of people are afraid of the technology itself!

Semiconductor supply had been expected to rebound by the end of 2021, but the global chip shortage is now set to last into next year and could remain until 2023. Nothing is certain at this point, because the current investments in capacity will not make an impact for some time and the supply chain problem is not going to help either.

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard what’s been happening with GameStop’s stock surge. Everyman retail investors are using Reddit to essentially “playing the metagame” — a term used in role-play video games when players strategize outside of the rules of the game.

NFT sales surge to record $23 billion in trading volume in 2021. The market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surged to new highs in 2021 with many traditional design fairs postponed or completely cancelled due to pandemic.

The surge in the price of Cryptos has lead a lot of celebrities to promote certain tokens and projects, to a point that Elon Musk introduces himself as the Doge Father!

John McAfee, creator of the McAfee anti-virus software, has been charged in the US with fraud over cryptocurrency and money laundering. On 23 June 2021, he was found dead in his prison cell near Barcelona.

Web 3.0 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web that incorporates decentralization based on blockchains. Some technologists and journalists have contrasted it with Web 2.0, wherein they say data and content are centralized in a small group of companies sometimes referred to as “Big Tech”.

Social media platforms faced a backlash after the Jan 06 incidents at the Capitol Hill. Alternative social media platforms that saw a surge in users immediately after are failing to maintain growth anywhere near those levels more than two months. Facebook rebrands to Meta and adopts infinity loop logo, but the rebrand has a fundamental problem. The real problem is that Facebook is re-branding before its vision is a reality. People argue that it is an attempt to distract from the criticism the company has recently faced.

Zuckerberg has been pouring billions of dollars, at least $10 billion this year alone, into building the metaverse, an expansive, immersive vision of the internet. In contrast to the metaverse, the multiverse is not a virtual world. Rather, it is a collection of all possible universes in existence. Undeniably, the multiverse is real (if it exists) and is part of the physical world. These conceptual ideas are paving the path for a future where we can have a completely connected virtual world.

Big tech companies continued to release new software and hardware in 2021, although some of the hardware releases were just paper launched, because of the supply chain and shipping problems. Windows 11, Android 12 and iOS 15 are the major versions are OSes that were introduced in 2021 by Microsoft, Google and Apple. They also introduced a lot of new hardware this year.

Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey are the most famous CEOs of the Tech world who quit their jobs in 2021. As tech founders resign, Congress loses its favorite targets. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey resigned from the company at a time when calls for regulation are mounting up. Jeff Bezos was also a target to complain about his company’s problems, rather than a conduit for useful negotiations.

Intel had a bumpy year in 2021 with its introduction of its 11th Gen CPUs, which some argued as a waste of sand! Their launch of their 12th gen some months later raised some eyebrows and it was a far more successful launch. They also introduced the big.LITTLE arch in X86 for the 1st time and stepped in the gaming market with the Intel ARC GPUs.

IEEE 802.11ax, officially marketed by the Wi-Fi Alliance as Wi-Fi 6 received final approval from the IEEE Standards Board on February 1, 2021. The main goal of this standard is enhancing throughput-per-area in high-density scenarios, such as corporate offices, shopping malls and dense residential apartments. While the nominal data rate improvement against 802.11ac is only 37%, the overall throughput improvement (over an entire network) is 300% (hence High Efficiency). This also translates to 75% lower latency.

The third quarter of 2021 saw global passenger EV sales rise by 94% year-on-year, to just under 1.7 million units. This was the fourth consecutive quarter in which more than 1 million passenger EVs were sold. Solid-State Batteries promise Electric Car popularity boost, but technical mountains await.

Solid-state batteries promise fast, ubiquitous charging, and enough power to outrun ICE cars not just in the city, but on the fast lane of highways too on the long-distance race to the summer sun.

This year, more people started to take more control over their data and services and rely on self-hosting. In some corners of the Internet, self-hosting is a big thing. There’s a huge community to be found in places like Reddit. It’s all about hosting your own services over reliance on a public cloud, wherever that comes from. It could be file storage, it could be a media server, a home automation system, security cameras, you name it, there’s probably someone who’s at least tried to self-host it.

Adobe is bringing Photoshop and Illustrator to the web, letting you make changes to documents hosted in the cloud without having to download them and open up the app. It’s a fascinating step forward for these two programs, but it’s also a very small one for now.

The idea of running software as complex as Photoshop directly in the browser would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago. However, by using various new standardized web technologies, Adobe has now brought a public beta of Photoshop to the web.

Since December 10, days after industry experts discovered a critical vulnerability known as Log4Shell in servers supporting the game Minecraft, bad actors have made millions of exploit attempts of the Log4j 2 Java library, according to one team tracking the impact. The vulnerability is a potential threat to millions more applications and devices across the globe. Log4j is used by thousands of websites and applications, to perform some important functions such as logging information which can be used for debugging and other purposes.

Everything was about shortages in 2021. COVID vaccine shortages at the start of the year were replaced by fears that we would struggle to buy turkeys, toys or electronic gizmos to put under the Christmas tree. For most of the year, supermarket shelves, car showrooms and even petrol stations were emptier than usual. Some shortages were resolved quickly, others linger. So are we facing another year of shortages or will the supply chain crisis abate in 2022?

I guess next year, we also have to battle with inflation and the looming threats of a recession!

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