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Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

Posted January 06, 2011 12:00 AM by Kaplin

Another year has come to a close and with that comes a look back at the winners and losers in the consumer technology space during 2010. Here are CR4's winners for 2010:

iPad
There is no denying that the iPad has been a huge hit for Apple. Although the tablet idea is nothing new, the iPad was the first tablet device that wasn't a complete failure. Most of the iPad's success can be attributed to Apple's sleek hardware design and successful marketing campaigns. Ever since its release, competitors have been scrambling to bring tablets to market that can compete with the iPad, and although others are finally starting to appear, none of them are expected to be as popular.

Google Android
Android, Google's operating system for phones, tablets, televisions, microwaves, and other devices has taken off in a big way during 2010. Android's market share for smartphones went from 4% at the beginning of 2010, all the way up to 23.5% in October of 2010 -- making Android far and away the fastest growing OS for smartphones.

Google went on record during December to say that 300,000 Android devices are activated every day, and recent reports indicate that Android accounts for 80% of all smartphones activated on Verizon. Verizon's iPhone should cut into those numbers in early 2011, but Android will have no trouble continuing to grow its user base.

Kinect
Microsoft Kinect has only been on sale for 2 months and has already become a hit with 8 million units sold worldwide in 60 days (Beating Microsoft's estimates of 5 million). The Kinect, which has been highly anticipated since Microsoft unveiled a prototype over a year ago as a peripheral for the popular Xbox 360, takes motion-based gaming the next level by eliminating the controller completely.

The Kinect's cameras and sensors work together to track the player's movements in 3D. In contrast to the Wii and Nintendo's motion controllers that use a wand and only track arm movements, the Kinect tracks full body movements including head and legs. Nintendo's Wii has already seen a dramatic decrease in sales since the Kinect launch.

Netflix
Netflix is far from being "new" in 2010, but this can definitely be considered the year that they took their service to the next level and slayed most of their competition. Originally a DVD rental by mail service, the majority of their content is now streamed online with Netflix streaming built into most new televisions, Blu-ray players, video game consoles, and other set top boxes. While Netflix sees their subscriber base growing, their previous #1 competitor, Blockbuster, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this year and will be closing their few remaining stores. Netflix has said they will be phasing out the part of their service which ships DVDs by mail and focus solely on video streaming in the coming years.

Windows 7
Even though Windows 7 was released at the end of 2009, I have it included it in the winners for 2010. After a number of failed operating systems, Microsoft finally got something right with Windows 7 and the public has noticed with over 250 million copies sold so far. Add to that the unknown number of people who run a pirated version of Windows 7 and its clear that the public is much more accepting of the Microsoft's latest OS, especially compared to their previous Windows Vista whose total sales are half that number in a longer time period.

What new technology were you most impressed with in 2010? Check back next week for a rundown of the Worst Gadgets and Technology of 2010.

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/06/2011 10:39 PM

hello my interest is in silence. that is . . . how can i diminish the amount of sound that reaches my neighbor without compromising deep base tones etc. while allowing a group of people to share in the experience. My best solution would be to get wireless headphone system for a group of people to hear. Can someone suggest a great system for a beer budget or a novel solution. thanks all

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#2

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/06/2011 10:45 PM

Weird. There isn't a single item on this list that interests me. Nor do I know anyone personally that uses any of these items...Maybe some of my stranger friends are secret subscribers to Netflix, but I can't say for sure. Everyone I know that is still stuck in Windows is using either XP or Vista...

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#3

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 2:42 AM

iPhone 4 for me

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 3:18 AM

Very true CW

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#5

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 6:12 AM

iPad is not a bad 'over the desk' presentation tool.

Rather like a Power-Point, but no projector or screen, and you can watch the reactions and interest level, as you're opposite the 'audience' not aligned with them, or in the way, or 'dickey in the middle' and having to fiddle with a control system. The extension is the sales person kit.

However, I don't think Apple thought of this use, as the remainder of functionality is less than a Mac Book and seems pitched at "giant iPhone screen for social networking" - which in a way - sales and marketing is.

As for the others:

iPhone is 'better than Smart phone + Android" - this week.

7 is no real advance on XP, just Mac looking and still MS anal.

Kinect has "flavor of the month" but lots of limitations to sort out before the 'serious gamers' take it seriously - if ever.

Netflix may be new, but streaming certainly ain't. This is 'catch up' tech. The same capabilities are now appearing in 'free to air digital' systems. Time from theater release is falling rapidly, due to internet 'immediacy' pressure. I'm not sure they have a market outside 'retirement village computer and net illiterates'.

Or in terms of intelligently targeted innovative concepts - full fail.

Not much of a 'winners list' for 2010

Can't wait to see the 'losers'

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Anonymous Poster
#6

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 6:51 AM

I also agree CW (and Gsuhas) Nothing "outstanding" only improvements.

It would be nice to think my effort (at something new) with the web site
(www.mycall.mobi) rates - because it is being used by far more now. (in UK)

But it is only an improvement really, and nothing revolutionary. For this I think
we need to look at all the new battery technologies. One of these will (I think)
affect us all eventually. In our cars, laptops, etc. The Insatiable energy demand.

Best wishes to all in the new year.

jt.

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Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #2

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 7:37 AM

"Weird. There isn't a single item on this list that interests me. Nor do I know anyone personally that uses any of these items...Maybe some of my stranger friends are secret subscribers to Netflix, but I can't say for sure. Everyone I know that is still stuck in Windows is using either XP or Vista"

Ditto for me. Nothing earth shattering. I believe it deals with more commercial hype than substance. I could have voted for something akin to the 'gadget' for robotic surgery by remote control!!

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#8

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 7:43 AM

May not be on your list, but Kindle is it for me. i am a voracious reader, and Kindle has made an amazing difference. Can't say why, perhaps just that i have more than 500 books i can read any time.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 7:47 AM

I do not have a Kindle myself, but that is one technology I see spreading among my aquaintences. Yes, that definitely belongs on the list.

My personal list of Technology breakthroughs would include the CAELinux software package- free, powerful, Open Source multiphysics software for the PC- like others, not new, but the 2010 version is actually functional...

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 7:53 AM

i do some CAE type work myself, using Solidworks and VisualNastran. If these things could run on a Mac, i would surely go for a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air ... beautiful machines.

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#11

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 8:10 AM

The Ipad and Iphone have proved that relatively inexpensive Aps can provide a good profit, and a lot of good benefits for relatively inexpensive platforms. Tablets have been around for a while, but very few people wanted to spend the thousands of dollars for the programs to get the functionallity that made the Tablet useful. On the Iphone, I typically try a free ap, and if it is useful, buy an ap. If I really like it, I often buy several aps with similar features to decide which one meets my needs best. I will not spend several thousand dollars on programs to compare which one meets my needs best.

Itunes and Amazon changed how music is bought. The NOOK and Kindle changed how books are bought. The Iphone and Android Ap stores are changing Smart phones. It will be interesting to see what tablet combines with the Ipad to change computer programing sales

The Gadgets are interesting, But how they influence the overall Market technology is fascinating

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 8:44 AM

Have a look at CAELinux- I believe you can load the package as a dual boot on a MAC (it is Ubuntu 10.04-based). Very similar capabilities to COMSOL, but considerably cheaper than the $15,000 or so a full package would cost you...

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Anonymous Poster
#13

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 8:46 AM

Kindle is the most significant thing for me. I even take it on hikes/camps. I have created a light wieght solar charger for it that will do my phone too.

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 8:46 AM

Actually, I was using a touchscreen tablet made by IBM back in the early 1990's- running Windows 3.1. Only they did not call it a tablet back then...I still have it somewhere in my storeroom, but I don't know if it is still functional...

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#15

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 9:10 AM

I opened my desk drawer and found a slide rule! Cool device! Maybe there's a market?

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 9:19 AM

Naw- I have a slide rule emulator on the computer...

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Anonymous Poster
#17

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 9:22 AM

7 is no real advance on XP

How true! My problem with 7 is a great deal of my software dosent work.

Ron

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 9:31 AM

What? No tubular rule?

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#19

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 9:35 AM

I (very reluctantly) purchased Windows 7 and, I have to say that, I believe Microsoft outsourced this OS.

It works far too well for it to be the product of "OS development team" at Microsoft.

I also became an owner of the new Ipod Nano. My first Apple product. It is intuitive, slick, fun and, easy to use. These people will own the electronics world if others don't start catching on to what the "people" want and, start supplying it.

And, I subscibed to Netflix. Compared to going to the video store? Well, you gotta believe there won't be any of those soon, following Blockbuster into the dustbin.

And, while at Best Buy last week I tried Kinect. I'll soon be an owner of that as well.

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#20

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 10:09 AM

For me:

1) Kindle 3 - My second Kindle

2) My open source 3D printer. I bought the parts but didn't get it operational in 2010, but hopefully soon(TM).

Nothing on the list above caught my interest, though I did move up to Windows 7 on one of my 'puters.

Hooker

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#21

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 10:47 AM

My guess is the majority of CR4 commentators are old-ish. Curmudgeons, in other words. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You guys need to realize that there are a lot more youngsters in the world than people our age, and they're the ones who spend the money on new things. We (I've been accused of being a curmudgeon) are classic late adopters.

There's nothing wrong with sticking with things that have worked for you for longer than the snot-nosed brats around you have been alive, but overall, I say it's a pretty good list.

Now that it's set up on our PS3, Netflix is very worthwhile. They need to double their collection of streamed films though.

iPad's success speaks for itself, and Android is proving to be a strong competitor.

Kinect is a terrific achievement for M$. Like Nintendo has for years, M$ will laugh all the way to the bank while "serious gamers" mock it as being useless.

The list should've included the Nook and/or Kindle. I wish I could've bought e-textbooks this time. But now I get some exercise.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 11:00 AM

Some of "us" (me, specifically) have been accused of being a curmudgeon, but I'm also often an early adopter of technology. Lately, for me, it has mostly been online gaming, Kindles and personal 3D printing.

Probably, like many other older people, I avoid stuff that I perceive to be fadish or short-lived (most cell phones), or are mostly bling.

Oh, and I drive a Kia Soul (remember the Hamsters?). Are curmudgeons allowed to drive Souls?????????

Hooker <-- 62 going on 12

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#23

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 1:22 PM

I think you did a good job here. I agree with most/all things (I don't have first-hand experience with some of them), but I also agree with others that eReaders should have been on that list.

The iPad was laughed at mercilessly for the name early this year, but to the chagrin of those laughers, it won over a huge chunk of people. No one expected the iPad to do as well as it did.

I like Windows 7. It has flash and some neat innovative ideas (being able to preview windows by having your mouse hover over the icon on the taskbar, having a window snap to half of the screen so you can work from two windows at once without needing dual monitors).

Ah Netflix. It is taking over the market with cheap prices and convenience. The best thing that our house did was get netflix streaming to our television. We only have basic cable (~20 channels), so being able to watch anything (provided it is in the 'instant queue') is nice. But it also gets in the way of learning the virtue of patience... I can watch any show now... I can watch the next show in the series now rather than waiting a week for the next episode.

I think that it is somewhat funny that all of the commercials I have seen for some of these controller-free gaming systems is dance games.

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#24

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 2:11 PM

"Netflix has said they will be phasing out the part of their service which ships DVDs by mail and focus solely on video streaming in the coming years."

That would be great - I'm enjoying my Netflix subscription but I find shipping the dvds a hassle. I can't wait until they offer their entire library streaming.

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#25

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 2:55 PM

Netflix streaming is reported to be 20 % of internet traffic during peak hours. I do not know what other streams are using. No wonder the internet gets slow in the evening. This aspect of technology scares me for the future of the internet.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 3:07 PM

Nah, not to worry. If you're on cable your local neighborhood is a local area network anyway. As the bandwidth requirements go up the cable company will typically unthrottle or upgrade their equipment if enough people complain.

This is not to say that we couldn't outstrip bandwidth capability sometime in the future but usually the local slowdowns are because of old undersized "pipes".

Hooker

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#27
In reply to #17

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 3:54 PM

"My problem with 7 is a great deal of my software dosent work." That's why I still have one computer running Windows 98SE, and another with VirtualBox loaded with Windows 98SE running on Ubuntu...

If it works and does what I want it to do, why should I be forced to replace it with something that is slower (due to bloat) and adds no additional capabilities to my base system?

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#28
In reply to #18

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 3:56 PM

Help me find an emulator, and I will add it to my collection.

By the way, what is a tubular rule?

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#29
In reply to #19

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 3:58 PM

The Ipod Nano has caught my eye, because reportedly it can produce real time infrared images- a capability that would cost at least an order of magnitude more were one to go with a more conventional system. Have you done any infrared images with your nano? I am not all that concerned about accurate temperature measurements- my application is a quick search for hot spots...

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#30
In reply to #20

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:00 PM

3D printing gets my attention FAST. Why doesn't this show up on these technology summaries? Give us more details- better yet, keep up posted on your progress...

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#31
In reply to #22

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:06 PM

I have to agree Hooker. There is a big difference between being a curmudgeon and making an informed choice.

I agree on Kindle, and that it should have been on the list.

I suppose I am 'slow to adopt' as I don't queue in the street for the latest software release. I like to see if it's actually better first. Hence I've never owned windows 2000, or millennium, or (insert the ~14 MS OS's I haven't bought, out of the ~18 to date). But as I understand it, windows 8, might be the next MS OS I spend money on. But first has to prove as 'stable' as XP. Less clunky compared to Mac, would be nice. It needs to have the 'backwards compatibility patches' built in, not built out. And, long overdue, some degree of virus resistance, without layers of other suppliers 'upgrades'.

The games I haven't bought is a far longer list.

As for paying for a streaming service = second broadband service for your TV? - I think this is marketing to the non net/tech literate - or to the (young?) 'fast uptake' crowd who failed to 'take up' other innovations - probably due to absence of "bells and whistles".

So curmudgeon I may be, but I think a lot of what is called "new" in many areas is actually someone realizes a sizable number of people haven't worked out it's already available - so they 'add the button to the task bar' and get another $xxx.

Rather like getting better performance after fitting HHO because the out-of-tune engine got tuned in the fitting. It costs big bucks and you're actually getting less.

Then again - this is just the view of an old miser.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:18 PM

I probably would be classed as a curmudgeon myself by many of the youngsters out there, because experience has taught me that marketing hype is mostly hot air- very much like political speeches. I am not opposed to adapting new technology myself- I switched (reluctantly, at first) to Linux when Windows so clearly demonstrated a total lack of interest in my system requirements...Maybe not so new this year, but four or five years ago, this was really going out to the fringe...Now, I have a system that works, I am able to revive some of the older (Win98 vintage) legacy software that worked so well (OK- I had to do a bit of "patching" to get that work) and haven't had a virus since the switch (although my attention to security has significantly decreased since my Windows days).

So, if you want me to try something new, like a Kindle, an Ipod nano or 3D printing, (all of which I am now considering- see my other posts in this thread), tell me why it improves my situation, and, if I agree there is a chance for improvements, I am all for trying the new. Don't tell me I should try Windows 7 just so I can have two windows open side by side on a single screen- I normally have four windows open and visible at any given time (although I do have to minimize three of them when I want to respond to a CR4 thread).

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:38 PM

This is what I'm building:

Reprap Mendel

though my first build is with the laser cut wood parts instead of the Mendel printed parts. When/if I get it running I plan to replace the wood parts with the plastic parts, or just build a second machine.

I bought an unassembled kit for about US$800 from a vendor that no longer supplies the kits. The bill of material available is robust enough to source all the parts for $100-$200 less. I just didn't have the free time to invest in that.

There's still a lot of evolution going on with control software and extruder design so I keep a constant eye on the Wiki.

Also, there's no reason the extruder couldn't be removed and a small router mounted to make a mini CNC machine. The Z axis control software would need tweaking (somebody may have already done that) and the frame may be a little wobbly for cutting but it'll be fun to try.

And it's all open source!!!

I'm outta here. Y'all have a good weekend.

Hooker

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#34
In reply to #31

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:38 PM

So curmudgeon I may be, but I think a lot of what is called "new" in many areas is actually someone realizes a sizable number of people haven't worked out it's already available - so they 'add the button to the task bar' and get another $xxx.

Well put. If I had money to invest, I'd be responsible for several such money-making ideas. Good thing I'm not wealthy, I guess.

But... Yes, we pay Comcast to stream video to us, and they provide on-demand... at ~50X the cost of Netflix! (>$100/month plus $5.99/movie, vs. <$20/mo plus $0/movie.) If it teaches Comcast to stick their price-gouging where I can't see it, I'll be happy to pay a cheap "upstart" like Netflix.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:45 PM

I'm looking at a Roku (one time $59-$99 charge) box to stream off the internet to TV. Then the Netflix or equivalent service charge. There are also numerous free streaming services Roku supports.

I refuse to pay Comcast for more than basic analog cable at my house.

Roku is another toy that should probably be on the above list.

Hooker

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#36
In reply to #33

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 4:54 PM

I am familiar with the Reprap machine. With regards to control software, there are some open-source resources you may be interested in. Also, search for g-code, the most common language used for CAM applications- there are a lot of references on the web. There is also the Ivan Irons blog that has some pretty good information...Also a good place to show off your accomplishments.

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#37
In reply to #34

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 5:18 PM

I'm all for supporting "upstarts".

I once had 'pay TV' then didn't when they started gouging, first by scattering my preferred programs such that I had to buy more and more "plan" - then the ad's arrived, which was what I was largely 'paying to avoid'.

But also the places I go, and the times spent, are not compatible with "contracts". So I acquired a portable terabyte and a nice little box western make, use off-peak on my internet $'s/month, to do what "Netflix" do, for myself.

In my view, if it's been on 'free to air' or is viewable free on line - it's fair to download it for my watching convenience. And given the "local content" in some countries and/or hotels, it's nice to have your own 'entertainment center'.

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#38
In reply to #12

Re: Best Gadgets and Technology of 2010

01/07/2011 8:38 PM

Thanks a million...will check it out.

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