For the tech industry, last year was defined as much by success as by scorn. Google Glass, the fashion-blind vanguard of the wearable computer movement, became common enough for its owners to be mocked, and possibly roughed up. Consumer-grade flying robots were so popular, and therefore such a nuisance, the government had to take legal action against their human masters. And the little Virtual Reality start-up that could was finally, mercifully purchased (even if it was by Facebook) — the digital era’s closest analog to the rail barons of old.
That’s not to say that 2014 was a wash. Even in a 12-month stretch with no single, star-making product, the industry always innovates. From the explosive popularity of streaming video to the first mainstream use for biometrics, the world of devices and digital content is shifting beneath our feet. To better understand the state of consumer electronics, we looked at the moments, both good and bad, that collectively defined the industry in 2014, along with the status of those trends in 2015.