The Year in Tech: Top 10 Highlights of 2010

A broad array of technology news helped define 2010, from the launch of Apple's iPad to the arrival of the app to a supernova of Internet stock gains. Here's a look back at those major stories -- and a glimpse of some highlights you can expect next year.

Motorola's Problems in a
Single Word: iPhone

After 80 years of tech achievements, Motorola has run into a nemesis that's unlike others it has overcome in the past. And it's not for lack of trying. Even as Motorola prepares to split itself and launches new products, it keeps getting upstaged by the iPhone.

Cox Communications Launches Cell Network

Cox Communications is taking on wireless companies on its own turf by launching a long-anticipated cellular service in three scattered markets where it already provides cable.

Why More U.S. Analysts Are Dialing Russia's MBT

Mobile TeleSystems has been listed on the NYSE for about 10 years, yet few investors know it's one of the few promising plays on the Russian economy's potential snapback. Wall Street is generally high on the stock, with 16 of 23 analysts recommending the shares as a buy.

Verizon Fined $25 Million by FCC for Data Download Overcharges

Verizon was today fined a record $25 million by the Federal Communications Commission and agreed to refund an additional $52.8 million to customers to settle allegations that the largest U.S. mobile-phone company overcharged customers for data fees.

AT&T Dials In a Strong Third Quarter for Sales

AT&T posted strong third-quarter sales on the back of iPhone 4 transactions, exceeding Wall Street's revenue expectations and hitting its mark for earnings. The telecom said it activated 5.2 million iPhones during the period, the most in a quarter yet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab to Go on Sale in November

Samsung Electronics%u2019 (SSHNY) Galaxy Tab, one of the first tablet computers to challenge Apple%u2019s (AAPL) iPad, will be available from Nov. 11 in Verizon Wireless stores and cost $599.99. The price tag makes the Galaxy marginally cheaper than that $629 iPad, The Wall Street Journal reported. The 7-inch Galaxy will be available from Verizon Wireless stores and will run on Verizon%u2019s 3G wireless network.

Windows Phone 7: CPR for Microsoft's Mobile Efforts

Microsoft unveiled on Monday its initial lineup of smartphones that will use the mobile OS. Analysts seem impressed, but they warn that the software giant has a huge task ahead to lure consumers away from Apple iPhones and Google Android-powered handsets.

With the iPhone 4, China Finally Goes Wild for Apple

When Apple first entered China with its wildly popular iPhone, the response was warm but not overly so. The iPhone 4, however, is off to a gangbuster start. If Apple can keep tapping China's potential, fervent shareholders could become even more bullish.

FCC's Super WiFi Plan Has Big Potential

White Spaces The Federal Communications Commission is poised to open up a new chunk of wireless spectrum that could soon be used to blanket small towns with wireless signals. The FCC is expected to vote on Sept. 23 to open up the wireless spectrum between TV channels for public use.

Intel Prepares Offer to Buy Infineon Wireless

Intel is nearing a bid to buy Infineon Technologies' wireless unit, a move that would give it an instant presence in the smartphone market. The world's top chipmaker will reportedly offer $1.91 billion for the unit, which supplies chips for both Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S.

Sam's Club Is Latest Retailer to Offer Free WiFi

Sam%u2019s Club, the discount warehouse owned by Wal-Mart (WMT), will offer wireless Internet at all its U.S. stores through a partnership with AT&T (T). Customers will be able to view Web applications such as Facebook and Pandora on big-screen TVs to better understand how it would appear at home, Sam%u2019s Club said in a statement. The Wi-Fi will be available at all U.S. locations by November.

AT&T and Verizon to Take on MasterCard and Visa

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are planning a big move into wireless electronic payments, a sector currently dominated by PayPal, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The plan comes as mobile carriers look for more ways to make money in the U.S. as subscription growth slows.

Looking for a Savvy Smartphone Pick? Dial Marvell Technology

The reason Marvell could be a good bet now: Its chipsets are favored components in practically all mobile handsets and other hand-held consumer electronics, including RIM's BlackBerry, Apple's iPhone and iPad, Amazon's Kindle and other devices.

Consumer Reports' Slap Stings Apple -- and Boosts Google

The magazine's stinging rebuke over the iPhone's antenna problems ultimately may not deter too many Apple afficianados from buying, but the biggest beneficiary will be Google. It seems that its Android operating system is gaining momentum every day.

Here Comes the Great Internet Paywall

A paywall is rising at The New York Times, AT&T is limiting data-usage for the iPhone, and Hulu.com is going start charging viewers. What happened to the fundamental Internet ideas of free and unlimited?

Google Is Roaring Mad About Apple's New iPhone Rules

Google says Apple's new iPhone advertising policies will prevent developers from using AdMob, the mobile ad company Google recently bought for $750 million. AdMob's Omar Hamoui says Google will "be speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms."