/>
X

CE Week 2011: 10 Game-changing gadgets of the year

Here is a mid-year roundup of the 10 most important gadgets and trends according to top tech journalists from Laptop, ThisIsMyNext, gdgt, NPD Group, ABC News Radio and Fox News at CE Week 2011. Do you agree with their picks?
gloria-sin.jpg
By Gloria Sin, Inactive on
6251837.jpg
1 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

On the Gadgets of the Year panel at CE Week 2011, Clayton Morris from Fox News got Ross Rubin of NPD Group, Peter Rojas of gdgt, Andrea Smith of ABC News Radio, Mark Spoonauer of Laptop and Josh Topolsky of ThisIsMyNext to chat about the 10 most game-changing gadgets and trends this year. Here are their picks.

1. Software/App is the New Gadget

They kicked things off by talking software -- from Windows Phone 7 Mango to the appeal of the Apple App Store -- because that is defining (or outright making or breaking) gadgets right now. 

Photo Credit: Gloria Sin
Captions: Gloria Sin

6251841.jpg
2 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

2. Eye-Fi Memory Card

An Eye-Fi card looks and feels just like a standard SD card but contains an embedded Wi-Fi chip that allows users to upload photos and videos instantly and wirelessly from camera to computer or even their phone, without having to physically move the card from one device to another.

That said, the card only works with select cameras and camcorders so check for compatibility before buying. The Eye-Fi is available from major retailers like Best Buy starting at $40 for 4 GB. 

Photo Credit: Eye.Fi
Caption: Gloria Sin

 

6251842.jpg
3 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

3. OnLive Game System & other Set-Top Boxes

What makes the OnLive Game System a game-changer to the panelists is that the cloud-based video game service takes the device out of the equation. The compact device makes it possible to run games that used to be only possible on the latest consoles or high-end PCs with top of the line parts, on tablets and computers that have a fraction of the computing power.

Other set-top boxes in the living room like the Roku, Singbox and Boxee also got a mention as they are helping people cut the cord to cable. After all, they make it easy for consumers to access what they want, as opposed to help cable companies push what they like to consumers. 

Photo Credit: OnLive.com
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251845.jpg
4 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

4. Health-related Gadgets and Apps

No particular product was singled out but all the panelists agreed the use of technology to help consumers take more responsibility for their health is growing, especially among the "boomer generation,” according to Andrea Smith of ABC News Radio. One example is the iHealth blood pressure monitor system for iOS devices where users can measure and record their vital signs and send the data directly to their doctors, rather than have to drop by for regular check-ups. Whether these apps and gadgets are as effective at improving our health as advertised, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

Photo Credit: iHeath99.com
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251848.jpg
5 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

5. HTC Thunderbolt 4G/LTE

Phone-wise, the panelists were most impressed with Verizon’s HTC Thunderbolt 4G to date. What separates the Thunderbolt from others is the incredible upload (30 seconds to one minute) and download (5-12 mbps) speeds it can achieve thanks to the LTE network. Unfortunately, it faces “lots of challenges around battery life,” said Ross Rubin of NPD Group so the phone is far from perfect. 

Photo Credit: Verizon.com
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251849.jpg
6 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

6. iPad 2

The panelists attribute the iPad’s success to its software because “the main reason people buy the iPad is for the apps,” according to ABC News Radio's Andrea Smith, “People want to play with those apps.”

For Josh Topolsky of ThisIsMyNext, companies trying to catch up to the iPad 2 have yet “to make a really compelling argument about their products,” which explains why the iOS device is still dominating its category without much competition. 

Photo Credit: Apple.com
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251850.jpg
7 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

7. Chromebooks

Peter Rojas of gdgt believes Google's cloud-based laptop, the Chromebook, will “eventually be a game-changer [but] we’re not there yet.” At $350 for the cheapest model by Acer, the Chromebook is still too expensive for a laptop that has limited functions (no Bluetooth or Ethernet port, for example) when a netbook at a similar price is much more flexible and powerful. 

Photo Credit: Google.com
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251851.jpg
8 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

8. Nintendo Wii U

Although the next generation Nintendo Wii U console won’t be launched until 2012, the announcement of its new controller at E3 earlier this month captured the imagination of many eager consumers, including these tech journalists. As Rubin put it, the Wii U offers “innovation with a second screen” so they can’t wait to see how it will play out. 

Photo Credit: Nintendo's E3 website
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251852.jpg
9 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

9. MusicLites

MusicLites is a light bulb that streams and plays music wirelessly through the built-in receiver and speaker, which can be controlled with a remote via Infrared. Simply screw the bulb into a regular light socket, connect the USB transmitter to the source of music (computer, phone or tablet), and the music will be able to play in rooms installed with the MusicLites bulbs.

The light bulb is a 10-watt LED light (equivalent to about a 65-watt reflector bulb), with a 70-millimeter full range high fidelity loudspeaker and a wireless audio receiver that works on the 2.4GhZ Wi-Fi band. 

Photo Credit: Gloria Sin
Caption: Gloria Sin

6251853.jpg
10 of 10 Gloria Sin/ZDNet

10. Motorola Atrix 4G + Laptop Dock

The panelists lamented what could have been with AT&T’s Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone that can transform into a netbook with the Webtop OS and laptop dock. The idea is that you can expand on your phone’s functionality by docking to a laptop shell, but in practice, “the laptop component isn’t great,” said ThisIsMyNext's Josh Topolsky.

Read full blog post here.

Photo Credit: Motorola.com
Caption: Gloria Sin

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos
Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on
s22-ultra-incipio-coach-cases-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on

15 Photos
Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures
casetify-s22-ultra-3.jpg

Related Galleries

Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures

10 Photos