10 must-have products for 2004

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1 Treo 600: Smart phones

Just your typical phone with organizer, email, Web, wireless and photo capability. Handspring has combined its Palm OS with a phone in the Treo 600 and is going head to head with Blackberry and the Sony Ericsson P900. But only the Treo is hot enough for Howard Stern-he even used its photo capabilities to show off a pair of his girlfriend's skivvies. Despite that, tech watchers think the boss will soon pick up the tab for the ultimate in employee connectivity.

2 Russell Simmons' Yukon Denali

For years now, the hip-hop set has been rolling in various GM SUVs, from the Escalade to the Hummer. You can't throw a rock in a hip-hop video or during an episode of MTV's "Cribs" without hitting one. Finally, it looks like the marketing team is ready to, you know, actually acknowledge one of its key market demographics. Set on picking up the hip-hop crowd, GM is reportedly mulling a customized car to put Def Jam into the SUV for 2004.

3 LeBron James' Air Zoom Shoes

Technically, the shoes of the NBA's hottest rookie since Michael Jordan went on sale Sunday, Dec. 20. But that was a limited sale and doesn't include the 3,000 Foot Locker stores across the country that will get the shoes in the spring of 2004. Mr. James, just 19 and luckily for all involved living up to the hype, signed a $90 million deal with Nike and this will be his first signature sneaker. Expect the same kind of reaction to his shoes that accompanied the original Air Jordans in 1985.

4 Dawn Power Dish Scrubber

Not exactly a glam item, but for those of us who don't have room for a dishwasher, any help is welcome. The guys who brought you rotating lollipops and spinbrushes are putting their talents to something that's really useful. The dish scrubber is reasonably priced ($6.99 and under) and really works. And while friends might call you lazy for using a spinbrush, they'll only thank you for alerting them to this item. Dishpan hands are truly a thing of the past.

5 Canon EOS Digital Rebel

Dgital camera sales in 2003 for the first time outpaced traditional film camera sales. Still, some folks find that pocket-sized cameras just don't feel right. For those who want something meatier, something that provides the feel of a film camera as well as some of the highest-quality digital photos available, the Eos Digital Rebel is it. This Canon is the first digital for the semi-professional user to break the $1,000 price barrier, albeit by only $1.

6 Farmer Ghetto

Is urban ready to pair with redneck? Is the hood ready for the trailer park? Designer Maurice Malone, known for his hip-hop fashions, is moving into Green Acres territory with a collection of "butch denim" that pairs perfectly with farmer caps and back-woods t-shirts. With Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie bringing haute couture to Arkansas, kicking Daisy Duke up a notch, America can't be far behind in adopting phat farmers.

7 Madden NFL 2004

With earlier versions packed with bone-crushing footage, killer soundtracks (with bands including Outkast, Blink 182 and Good Charlotte) and airtime on ESPN and Monday Night Football, the Madden franchise already has exceeded $1 billion in sales in the U.S., putting the game on par with Star Wars and James Bond. Buzz-watchers say if you don't have Madden 2004 in your collection, don't bother owning a PS2.

8 Strait-Line 64030 Laser Tape

Te DIY must-have for the new year. Newell Rubbermaid is making the term "measure twice, cut once" practically foolproof with its laser-enabled tape measure. Paired with its companion laser level, nobody should have crooked pictures ever again. Now you can calculate and store distance, area and volume. Use it for material measurments, painting rooms and, according to the Web site, "calculating HVAC volume requirements." Go from Tim "The Toolman" Taylor to Bob Vila in no time.

9 Toshiba Portege M200

Yes, yes, yes. We know the tablet PC has been off to a slow start, but we swear this year is going to be the year it takes off. An update on Toshiba's Portege 3505, the M200 is a laptop PC with a swivel screen. The big deal, of course, is that once the screen is flipped around, it acts as a digital notebook (albeit a 4.6 lb. notebook) on which you can scribble everything from board-meeting notes to additions to your resume. Turn it around and the screen becomes a common laptop monitor.

10 Cialis

The at-will pill. This is the third entry into the erectile dysfunction wars, and it might be the most successful. While Viagra is a brand unto itself, and Levitra has shown it can capture market share, Cialis' point of differentiation is ... well, let's just say it's already being dubbed "Le Weekender" in Europe. Though it's already generating buzz stateside, the $100 million campaign from Grey Global Group's Healthy Grey, New York, scheduled for early 2004, should really drive interest.

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