2010 in Review: Gadgets of the year
Mark Zuckerberg may have been named Person of the Year by Time magazine, but in the world of things, the year belongs to the iPad.
The numbers don't lie:
• iPad sales hit at least 120,000 on the first day of its release (April 3).
• Apple sold 1 million iPads in half the time it took to sell the first million iPhones.
• The 3 millionth iPad was sold a mere 80 days after its U.S. launch.
• Stock analysts put first-year worldwide iPad sales somewhere between 7.1 million and 12 million.
• Many holiday surveys show the iPad as No. 1 on people's "most wanted" gift list.
• The iPad is expected to own 84 percent of the tablet computer market this year.
• Some 50,000 iPad apps are currently available in the iTunes store.
Normally, at this point in the column it's time to describe the gadget. In the case of the iPad ($500-$830), what could I say that you don't already know? As I wrote in my review earlier in the year, "There are three reasons to fall in love with this computer/media player - its screen, its apps and - can you believe it? - the gadget's non-replaceable battery."
If Best Buy stores sell out of a gadget before Christmas, you know it deserves recognition in the Gadget of the Year category. Xbox 360 Console with Kinect ($300; local Target stores supposedly still have them for sale) wins this "kissing your sister" honor.
With this video game console, you are the controller. The Kinect gadget is a loveable full-body scanner that tracks your motion and converts it into gameplay. Pretend you're throwing a bowling ball, and you'll see the pins fly on your TV screen. Navigate games by waving your hand. And you can use voice commands to play and pause movies.
Barnes & Noble's Nook C olor ($250 at Barnes & Noble stores) is the best choice among e-readers. Color enhances the reading experience, especially when viewing digital magazines and newspapers.
Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail email@example.com