Top Tech Toys of 2007

Plus Viral Videos You Should Have Seen

By Published on .

Obvious but necessary entrant dictated by its initial popularity and rapid adoption since. Not only did the iPhone create a frenzy this year with its sleek design and aggressive marketing, but it added real innovation -- the touch screen -- to the smart-phone category. Add the iPod digital-music storage, slick web browser, Wi-Fi connectivity and a big price drop, and it's the must-have mobile for the year.
$90-$100 and $170
Yes, we know those are two different video games. But the truth is, it's really a question of taste as to which to choose -- do you want to focus on wicked guitar riffs or set up a whole band from skins to vocals? Besides, it doesn't really matter which über-hot music game consumers choose -- just the fact that they've got quality genre choices is a bonus.
$149 and $199
The sleek square, now the smallest iPod with a video screen, commanded attention for its design, size, and infectious ad campaign (featuring Feist singing "1234"). It also has the iPhone's cover flow feature, as well as jazzier games and a variety of color choices. The Apple bonus? It now gets video sales on iTunes -- and brand loyalty -- from a whole new audience of more budget-conscious consumers.
This tiny, wireless SD memory card isn't much to look at, but it's what it does that's so cool. Inserted like a regular SD card into a digital camera, it will automatically wirelessly transmit photos to your home computer. You also can set it up to send the pictures to a favorite social-networking site or a preferred online photo site. Bound to be popular -- and imitated.
Starting at $100
Most music lovers agree the standard earbuds packaged with digital players are strictly for beginners. Time for an upgrade. And while there are as many brands as price ranges, Shure products consistently rank at the top of lists compiled by audiophiles and tech reviewers. Its SE series introduced this year replaces its E series line for consumers. Bonus, they're iPhone compatible without the adapter.
£16 to £25
From British company Au-My comes the gadget we've all wanted since we learned to drive and found out there's no easy way to communicate with the jerks, er, other drivers, around us. The LED-lit "drivemocion" disk attaches to your rear window and displays a variety of programmed messages and emoticons. No worries for the profanity police; there's nothing much stronger than "Back off."
What was supposed to be the year of Microsoft Vista turned out to be many unhappy returns to XP for a lot of users, as well as many tepid reviews by industry insiders. It also opened the door for Leopard, Apple's Mac operating system that was introduced in the fall, to one-up Vista. And by most all accounts, it did just that. It likely will continue to help the PC-to-Mac switching already under way.
The WiiFit board is set to take the Nintendo Wii platform from hand-motion controlled to feet and full-body engagement. The flat white rectangle has two foot pads -- it holds up to about 300 pounds -- and can be used for the included activities and games such as aerobics, push-ups, yoga, soccer, hula-hooping and dancing. It measures body-fat composition as well as charts results and progress.
Starting at $800
With true high-definition TVs becoming more mainstream, consumers want more HD content to show off. Sony's suite of high-definition camcorders aren't cheap, but score big marks for the widest selection of models (four entry-level models added this year), ease of use and high quality. Now there's no excuse not to record the entire family's facial pores!

Viral Videos You Should Have Seen

By Abbey Klaassen
(Click titles to watch)
Five seconds that inspired a summer's worth of mash-ups, Facebook apps, avatars, merchandise, a website and T-shirts. Originally part of a much longer clip from a Japanese TV show, some web surfer with a good eye decided to isolate the dramatic part, add some climactic music and set it free on YouTube.
The follow-up to Dove's much-lauded 2006 viral "Evolution," which won the Film Grand Prix at Cannes. "In one brief minute, it indicts the culture's obsession with Barbie-doll exteriors, raises the consciousness of girls and women and exposes the inner ugliness of the so-called beauty industry," wrote Bob Garfield.
A "skirmish" between Will Ferrell and his foul-mouthed toddler landlord, Pearl, has been viewed 49 million times on That was enough to prompt Sequoia Capital, the same firm that funded YouTube, to invest.
It's not for everyone, but this web series, composed of 36 eight-minute episodes, from the creators of '90s cult drama "My So-Called Life," has created enough buzz to draw major media: NBC signed it on to run as six hour-long episodes.
The "Chocolate Rain" phenomenon snagged 12 million views -- and an appearance at Google's annual Zeitgeist event. Now he's shilling Dr. Pepper's cherry-chocolate flavor in a video titled "Cherry Chocolate Rain."
Almost 30 million views on YouTube prove people love a meltdown. When asked why a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map, this beauty-pageant candidate replies something about U.S. Americans ... not having maps ... and our education "such as in South Africa and in Iraq, everywhere, like, such as."
An Ad Age Pop Pick in August, this video for French electronic duo Justice features the torsos of two hipsters whose T-shirts morph and change images to the catchy song.
An example of the creativity unleashed thanks to self-publishing tools such as YouTube. (Note for next year: There could be a whole list dedicated to Daft Punk videos.)
Lions attack a baby buffalo and then get attacked by a crocodile. This even made an impression on YouTube's founders, who named it their favorite video of the moment in May.
This was a good example of a marketer going the viral video route in 2007: create an interesting video, hire a viral specialist (Feed Co.) to promote it and get yourself millions of views.
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