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Photos: 10 gadgets to wish for this Xmas

Dear Santa...
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By Natasha Lomas, Contributor on
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1 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Dear Santa...

RM Asus miniBook

You'd think it's a bit of a stretch to call a laptop a gadget but not so with this dainty offering from Asus, which is aptly called the miniBook.

The dinky laptop weighs in at 0.92kg, its dimensions are a roughly book-sized 22.5cm x 3.5cm x 16.5cm and it has a built in webcam should you fancy doing a spot of vlogging. The miniBook also has a svelte price-tag of around £200 as it runs Linux so saves on software licensing costs.

So if we can't have the $100 laptop, we want one of these please Santa...

Photo credit: RM Asus

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2 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Apple iPhone

It's more expensive than the miniBook but the iPhone surely makes a strong case for being the must-have gadget of 2007 - or at least the most hyped...

The iPhone's sleek looks and touchscreen tech give it plenty of allure but its lasting appeal is down to its user-focused interface (the Apple 'it just works' mantra applies here) and the fact it neatly combines several gadgets into the one device: iPod, internet browser, video player, camera, phone. Just because a lot of other smart phones technically offer the same - or better - functionality counts for nought. The iPhone sells itself.

For those not willing to shell out for an iPhone - and sign up for an 18-month contract with O2 - there is another way... Apple's iPod Touch is an iPhone for those who want the looks and can live without the phone.

Photo credit: Apple

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3 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Samsung F700

For smart phone lovers immune to Apple's charms, there are some iPhone alternatives that might suit.

The Samsung F700 - due to launch here in the UK in time for Christmas - boasts HSDPA for fast web browsing on the move. It also has a 3MP camera and combines a touchscreen interface with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard in a best-of-both-worlds approach.

Photo credit: Samsung

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HTC TyTN II

Here's another smart phone that offers both touchscreen and Qwerty keyboard in an attempt to rain on Apple's parade. The TyTN II's screen tilts up so that the handset can be rested on the table like a miniature laptop - all the better for typing emails.

It packs wi-fi, HSDPA and GPS - the latter meaning it will support mapping software, effectively turning it into a sat-nav. Plus there's a 3MP camera to boot.

Photo credit: HTC

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5 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

HTC Shift

If power in a small package is your thing, then the HTC Shift might be the logical step up from a smart phone. It's a UMPC (ultra mobile PC) that runs Windows Vista Business to enable "true mobile computing" - so the marketing line goes.

The Shift has a seven-inch touchscreen and a Qwerty keyboard and packs wi-fi and HSDPA. Its dimensions make it slightly smaller than the miniBook - though its price-tag is around four times bigger.

Photo credit: HTC

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6 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

BlackBerry Curve 8320

RIM has at last launched wi-fi BlackBerrys and while the Curve 8320 (pictured) has the full Qwerty keyboard beloved of so many business people, there's also a slimmer model for those happy with two letters per key (the Pearl 8120).

As well as utilising FMC for cheaper wi-fi voice calls, the smart phone has a 2MP camera and media player capability. So that's almost up there with the iPhone...

Photo credit: RIM/Orange

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7 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Garmin nuvi 660 sat-nav

Sat-navs have taken the gadget market by storm, so there's no shortage of devices to stick on your Xmas list.

The Garmin nuvi 660 stands out for being winner of an Editor's Choice award on silicon.com's sister site CNET.co.uk. It has a large 4.3-inch touchscreen but is lightweight and sleek enough to work as a portable device too. It has integrated Bluetooth, meaning it can be used as a hands-free to make and accept phone calls.

Photo credit: Garmin

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8 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Amazon Kindle e-book reader

Amazon's e-book reader sold out a few hours after its US launch and counts cult author Neil Gaiman among its fans (Gaiman was given a Kindle to test prior to launch).

The angular device has a retro air and looks a bit like an oversized calculator. It uses an EVDO wireless network for downloading blogs, e-books, newspapers and RSS feeds - and offers access to online encyclopedia Wikipedia. There is one catch however: it's not yet available in the UK... Natch.

For more photos of the Kindle click here.

Photo credit: Amazon

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9 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Mobile wallet phone

Just this week, O2 and Nokia announced a mobile wallet trial in London, which will see hundreds of guinea pigs using NFC handsets to swipe in and out of London Underground and pay for low-value goods and services at participating retailers.

This is the Nokia 6131 NFC clamshell handset being used in the trial, loaded with Oyster and Barclaycard apps.

In the not-too-distant future all manner of payment options could sit as virtual applications on your phone. Speaking at the launch, Cath Keers, customer director, O2 UK, said the earliest date for commercial rollout of the tech is late 2008 - so perhaps an NFC mobile is one to put on your Christmas list for next year.

Photo credit: David Meyer, ZDNet UK

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10 of 10 Natasha Lomas/ZDNET

Femtocell

A femtocell is one gadget that has not yet made it onto shop shelves - but if you believe the hype, these devices could end up being as ubiquitous as Christmas tinsel.

Femtocells are small mobile base stations that boost signal coverage indoors enabling better access to high bandwidth services such as streamed video. The gadget is also likely to enable location-based services tailored around your home - so you'll be able to know who has arrived home and when. So not a gift for privacy advocates then.

Shown on the left is the Oyster 3G femtocell, made by ip.access, which is currently being trialled by operators around the world.

Photo credit: ip.access

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