2008 Year in Review: The App Store rewrites the rules

Many decades from now, as you regale your grandchildren with stories of life prior to the introduction of personal jet packs, teleportation systems and family vacations to Mars, you will describe to them in grandiose detail the events of the year 2008 and how they heralded a seismic shift in the evolution of mobile technology. You will tell these snot-nosed whippersnappers about how developers did business in the dark days prior to the introduction of Apple's App Store, and explain how the virtual storefront transformed the economics of mobile application sales overnight. You will also tell them about how Google and Nokia ushered in a golden age of mobile software innovation. And you will talk about a time when there were still four major U.S. wireless operators, and how the frenetic pace of this new era of innovation forced them to finally dismantle the walled gardens they once proudly maintained.

Your grandchildren will not care about any of this, of course. But you will know that 2008 was a year that changed everything, and you will never forget it. Keep reading for the five biggest stories that shaped the last 12 months. And here's to the next 12. -Jason

P.S. Please note that FierceDeveloper is going on a short holiday hiatus--publication will resume as usual on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. Have a happy and safe winter break.