Not to detract from the miraculous mobile gizmos themselves. InfoWorld reviewed dozens of them as devices in their own right and according to their suitability for enterprise use. Two received Technology of the Year Awards: the iPad 2 and the MacBook Air. Yes, I can hear the howls of protest from Android and BlackBerry fans (sorry, we also loved iOS 5, iCloud, and Siri). But even the best Android devices fell a little shy of the mark -- a string of near misses that we're pretty certain will end with an Android winner in 2012. As for RIM devices, well, let's not get into that now.
We had endless fun with mobile, but not at the expense of our usual analysis of the heavy-duty goods. Paul Venezia gave the top four virtualization solutions the kind of thorough evaluation that only a guy who (among other things) rolls out virtualization deployments for a living could do; in the end, VMware vSphere emerged as our Technology of the Year winner once again. Based on another review by Paul, we also handed the laurels to the AMD Opteron 6200 "Interlagos"-series CPU. Of the servers we tested, only the Opteron-based Dell PowerEdge R715 reviewed by Keith Schultz made it to the winner's circle.
For the rest of our 2012 Technology of the Year winners, check out the full slideshow. Compare it to previous years and you'll be struck by the breakneck pace of change in 2011. Despite a laggard economy, technology development -- especially in cloud, mobile, and app dev -- just keeps accelerating.
Ever since InfoWorld Test Center executive editor Doug Dineley dreamed up the Technology of the Year Awards 12 years ago, it's been InfoWorld's job to drill down, take stock, and highlight the technologies worth paying attention to based on the hard work of our reviewers. We hope you enjoy this year's exceptional effort.
This article, "Picking the top technologies in a wild year," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.