We are just finishing up with ten years that might be called the decade of the gadget. Many of the gadgets released over the past decade not only enhanced our lives, they changed out lives.
They changed the way we listen to music, the way we watch television and the way we converse when we are on the go. The gadgets listed below may be a luxury for some, but they now are a necessity for the rest of us. Some of these gadgets have evolved two or more times since they were initially released. Technology today changes at a rapid pace, but I think these gadgets in some form, will be around for a while.
Here are the best gadgets of the last ten years.
Slingbox. Released in 2005, the Slingbox is still going strong. As many gadget aficionados and many will say this is their favorite gadget. The Slingbox allows you to steam your home television or personal video recorder. How cool is that, you could be sitting in a bungalow in Belize and watching “Modern Family” on your computer or mobile phone.
Flip. The Flip is a pocket-sized camcorder that is easy to operate and produces great videos. The flip out USB stick connector plugged right into your computer for easy downloading of the video, or uploading for the world to see on You Tube. The Flip came out in 2007 and pretty much put an end to camcorders.
Digital Cameras. Even though digital cameras were introduced in the 1990s, they came of age in the 2000s. Early digital cameras were clunky and took low resolution pictures. Today, you can get a 10+ mega-pixel model for under $100. Millions and millions of digital cameras are now sold every year.
Portable GPS Devices. In 2001 portable in-car navigation systems came to the mainstream. At first they were sold as an add on for PDA systems. Now they are stand alone devices that mainly sell for under $150. Tom Tom, Garmin and Magellan are some of the popular GPS brands.
Portable Hard Drives. The first portable hand-held external hard drives were introduced in 2003. Now it is possible to hold terabytes of data in the palm of your hand. Prices on these drives have dropped so much that a terabyte drive can had for well under $100.
Apple iPhone. Introduced in January of 2007, the iPhone has revolutionized how we use our mobile phones. This smartphone for the masses made it easy to use our mobile phone to surf the internet, download applications, and take pictures. By the end of 2010 there will be about 80 million iPhones sold and over 300,000 applications available for download in iTunes.
Bluetooth Headset. What may be annoying to some is actually quite a innovative piece of technology. Bluetooth devices allow the exchange of data over close distances. Bluetooth headsets were released in the early 2000s and allow for the hands free use of mobile phones and other devices.
iPad. The device of 2010, Apple’s iPad is another gadget that has started a revolution. This tablet style computer is like a big iPhone without the phone capabilities. Tens of thousands of applications are available for the iPad and it is proving to be a great gaming platform. About 10 millions ipads will be sold in its first year.
Netbook Computers. Popular with travelers and students, netbooks are small screened, low cost laptop computers that don’t contain an optical drive. They have smaller keyboards and weigh around 2-3 pounds. The first popular netbooks debuted in 2007 when ASUS released their Eee PC. To keep the cost of these units down they initially ran a Linux operating system. Netbooks now run Windows 7 and have bigger keyboards. In 2008, analysts said netbook sales had significantly cut into full-sized laptop sales. In 2009, netbooks accounted for 20% of all computers sold.
iPod. Apple’s iPod has changed music as we know it. Back in 2001, Apple released their version of a portable music player. The iPod made CDs join the ranks of albums and cassettes as outdated forms of music. iPods dominate the portable music markets with a 90% market share. The fact that one can put 1000’s of their favorite songs on a device you can carry in the palm of your hand is quite an amazing feat.
Honorable Mention – Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle might end up being the most important gadget of the decade. The ebook reader allows readers an excellent reading experience and access to Amazon’s Kindle Store. If a few years from now you see doctors and lawyers referring to their Kindle or tablet device to reference their materials, or if kids no longer have heavy backpacks filled with textbooks, you’ll know the Kindle has changed our lives.