1. ASUS EEE
The tiny Eee started the commercial netbook trend a little over a year ago, but added competition from Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others boosted the category's profile this year. Still, the Eee is the original and, thanks to a deal with Target, one of the most visible to average consumers. In case you're wondering, there's no need to hold the note, it's just called "E."
2. 1080P LCD TVS
The flat-screen TVs got a big boost this year when the high-def war was won by Blu-ray, which plays in 1080p. You can't get the full effect of a 1080p movie without a 1080p set, so it quickly became a must-have for movie buffs and technophiles. With the upcoming switch to digital broadcasts and the ongoing American love affair with flat-screen HDTVS, expect the same to happen among the general viewing public.
3. INTEL'S CORE I7
In the computing world of feeds and speeds, this seventh-generation processor is the new "beautiful monster," according to tech site Gizmodo. It's the first quad-core chip. And that means? Well, it means much faster graphics, computing and gaming, of course, but it also means better energy management and intuitive workload management. Did we mention it's really, really fast?
4. ORAL-B TRIUMPH WITH SMARTGUIDE
A high-tech toothbrush may not be the most exciting gadget around, but this particular electric whitening wonder is pretty intriguing. It comes with a wirelessly connected screen that tells you not only how long to brush (two minutes) but also if you're applying too much pressure and what part of your mouth you've missed. Bonus: The "future of oral care" comes with a money-back guarantee for better checkups.
5. AMAZON'S KINDLE
Digital books have been the promise, and potential demise, of the written word for years. Amazon gave the digi-book a major boost with the sleek, easy-to-read Kindle -- plus thousands of books, magazines, newspapers and newsfeeds at the already familiar Amazon storefront. Will Kindle be the one to finally catch on? It's already off to a good start: Helped by an Oprah rave, it's back-ordered until next year.
Google's new smartphone platform did two important things for the tech industry: It brought the potential of solid competition to iPhone, but more importantly, it literally opened the market with its open-source code roots. T-Mobile's G1 was the first Android handset to market this fall, but expect many others. Developers are also working fast and furiously on Android's own set of the apps we've all come to love.
The mobile e-mail-only device is winning raves for its simplicity. For people who don't want the hassle or expense of a true smartphone but do want to occasionally check e-mail while away from home, Peek is just right. And forget having to visit those nightmarish mobile-phone stores. Pick it up online direct from Peek or at Target stores. Not for truly addicted, always-on mobile types, the Peek is more Slackberry than Crackberry.
8. 'WII FIT'
Nintendo brought the home gym to a very simple Zen form. And although it loses points for looking like a scale, the white box gets a big score for just about everything else. Play soccer, strength train, do yoga, hula hoop, snowboard, ski and even jog with a single sub-$100 device. Since it's hooked up to the Wii console and software, the truly motivated can record and track their fitness progress.
9. APPLE'S APP STORE
Yes, we're all sick of seeing the iPhone on every "best of" list, but the App Store deserves an exception. It is the wind beneath the wings of the new 3G iPhone. Let's face it: The visual, tactile and just plain got-to-have-it appeal of thousands of apps -- from the useful (Twitterrific) to the fun (Enigmo) to the just plain silly (iBeer) -- has changed the smartphone category forever.
10. NETFLIX TV BOXES
Roku started it, but now TiVo, Samsung's Blu-ray player and Microsoft's Xbox 360 have added the ability for Netflix customers to stream movies directly to their TVs. Thousands of movies and TV shows are available to "Watch Instantly." After years of on-demand promises -- from Apple TV, Amazon Unbox and just about every cable company out there -- here, finally, is a real, robust, fairly inexpensive and easy-to-use system.
Top iPhone Apps
This application counts down the time between meals so that observant Jews can keep kosher with ease. Only problem: You can't use the app, or even the iPhone, on Shabbat. (Free
Hear a song you like, hold up your iPhone, and -- Shazam! -- this app works its magic, enabling you to discover, buy, and share music. (Free
Yet another app to make use of the iPhone's GPS and motion sensitivity. Shake your iPhone, and the app suggests places to eat near your location. Newsfeeds show what your friends are doing too, so you'll never have to dine alone. (Free
Outsource your memory with this app that keeps track of events, notes, ideas and more. Evernote will even recognize text in an image you capture in a snapshot. (Free
This interactive map of the New York subway system will use the iPhone's GPS technology to find a nearby station. It will also tell you if a train isn't running that day, with updated information from the MTA website. ($2.99
This app is social networking to the nth degree. IM with friends everywhere from Skype to Twitter to AIM to Google Talk. Find out who is doing what with real-time contact availability. Make calls over Wi-Fi with VoIP technology. Oh, and with that last one, you stand to save lots and lots of money. (Free
The iPhone is so brilliantly engineered that playing this classic marble-in-a-box game feels real. As you dip and tilt the iPhone, gyroscopic sensors precisely measure its position and orientation. (Free
8. STAGE HAND
Use your iPhone to deliver a presentation, control timing and slide order on the spot, and see your presenter notes next to each slide as well. You can even highlight portions of the slide for your audience just by touching the screen. ($7.99
This application allows iPhone users to exchange business cards and pictures across AT&T's Edge, Wi-Fi and 3G. (Free
for an ad-supported version; $2.99
for Handshake Premium, without ads)
Feel as if you are reading an actual book. You can "turn the page" using the iPhone motion sensors or flip using the interactive table of contents. ($0.99