The industry's heaviest hitters got a chance to showcase their 2011 strategies at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Meanwhile, Google threw a wrench into Microsoft's government cloud plans and continued […]

The industry's heaviest hitters got a chance to showcase their 2011 strategies at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Meanwhile, Google threw a wrench into Microsoft's government cloud plans and continued to disrupt the mobile market. The battle for the lead in mobile and cloud technology made for interesting online chatter for business tech's entrance to 2011.

Samsung made good use of the publicity opportunities available at the CES to promote its upcoming developments and insert itself into the online tech conversation. Shortly after Verizon wireless announced it was knocking $100 off its price for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the leading competitor to the Apple iPad, Samsung redeemed itself at the CES with a preview of its upcoming Infusion 4G smartphone and a Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab.

Also, Samsung boosted its lead over all other OEMs in the smartphone market, growing 0.9 percent between August and November, according to comScore. Samsung's lead over LG, which joined every other OEM by losing market share during the period, grew from 2.4 percent in August to 3.6 percent in November. Google Realtime results for "Samsung" indicate the company became a hot topic after its CES announcements.

Microprocessor manufacturer Nvidia also experienced a significant jump in online attention this week, according to Google Realtime, using the CES to showcase the need for its technology among the industry's top mobile manufacturers. First, the company announced that its Tegra 2 processor, a high-tech chip previously limited to tablets, in LG's high-powered Optimus smartphone. Then, Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced Project Denver, an initiative to provide ARM technology on enterprise technology ranging from PCs to workstations to supercomputers.

The Project Denver announcement conveniently coincided with Microsoft's own plans to adapt its next operating system, Windows 8, to ARM technology and make it the first PC operating system compatible with mobile devices. The two companies are expected to collaborate on the project, subsequently drawing more online searches for both "Nvidia" and "Microsoft ARM" this week.

Even with CEO Steve Ballmer serving as the CES keynote speaker, Microsoft still had its share of bad news this week. On Monday, the company had to publicly apologize for a Hotmail issue involving the disappearance of stored emails in 17,355 accounts. The issue didn't go unnoticed, with searches for "hotmail" rising steadily throughout the week.

Then, on Thursday, Google won an injunction against the federal Department of Interior that will prevent the completion of a $59 million cloud contract previously awarded to Microsoft. Google had argued that it was cut out of discussion to provide cloud services to a number of government agencies, including the industry's first Cabinet-level cloud contract that Microsoft won last month with the Department of Agriculture.

In addition to its cloud win, Google also generated positive headlines this week as 2010's most successful smartphone software developer. On Thursday, comScore's smartphone market share statistics from August to November showed Google posted the most significant increase in the market during that period. Apple was the only other provider that showed improvement, but Google's 6.4 percent growth dwarfed Apple's 0.8 percent.

Reiterating comScore's research, Nielsen's November data on the smartphone market showed that 40 percent of all new smartphones purchased in the past six months featured the Android operating system. Online conversation about the smartphone market spiked in accordance with the release of both reports, according to Google Realtime.

Although Research In Motion has watched Google cut into its smartphone market share, the company spent much of the week attracting online attention to its tablet. The Canadian smartphone maker released two videos on the enterprise-targeted PlayBook, one claiming its web browsing is superior to the iPad and another showcasing the tablet's OS SDK.

A substantial jump in both cloud and mobile competition is fitting for the industry's introduction to 2011. Keep listening as the online conversation about these markets gets louder.

Colin Neagle is a former editor of Brafton's Business Technology section. He studied journalism, writing and mass communications in college, and has experience writing business news for a number of newspapers and online publications.