Gadget Roundup 2008: The Best and the Worst
We do love our lists here on the web. Time once again for the best and worst gadgets of 2008!
The new Macbooks
Okay, the new Macbooks are very pretty. More importantly, though, they creep into Macbook Pro territory in terms of performance. Larger RAM capacity and greater allotment of that RAM towards video handling, so you can now actually play games on your Macbook, as well as use apps such as Aperture and Final Cut Pro without pushing it to capacity.
(I'm writing this on a G4 iBook, so it's only a matter of time before I end up with a new Macbook, but I'll wait for the second revision, since the first generation of any gadget is fraught.)
Rise of the Netbooks
Fast, cheap and out of control, netbooks made a big splash this year. Inexpensive, feature-light portables meant for surfing the net and... more surfing the net are a boon for cash-strapped families shopping for a kid's first computer, or for those who need a laptop just for keeping in touch while traveling. If you're just using Google docs, email, and icanhascheezburger, you don't need multi-core performance, and now there are design-forward machines that will meet your modest needs. They're also less expensive than many mobile phones.
Speaking of which...
Though the BlackBerry Pearl isn't new to this year, the fashion-friendly Pearl Flip certainly is. Along with the Curve and the newly-launched Storm, these RIM addict-o-matics no longer look like they were raised at a cube farm, but can grace designer handbags and VIP tables at clubs alike. Note: mazevedo is gonna include the Storm as an underwhelming gadget below, so brace yourself.
Beyond the Roomba and its domestic and military cousins, robots have made great leaps forward, sometimes from the screen to real life. In particular, a robot's foray onto the stage captured my imagination. Robot actors... as if reality TV wasn't a big enough threat to performing-arts careers.
Ducati Monster 696
Isn't it just lovely? We can't all rock the Desmosedici, but performance, handling and that Ducati sound are lusted after by bike- and trend enthusiasts alike. The Monster 696 is the newest styling of the classic naked bike, a style also found with the newly revamped SV650 (Gladius in Europe) and Kawasaki's newest sub-litre naked bike, the ER-6n.
Most underwhelming Gadgets
I thought this would be huuuuuuge. Somehow it seems not to be. I don't know anyone who bought one, and in trying out the handset I kinda know why. The HTC-supplied G1 feels kind of dated, like it will be tomorrow's brick phone, if you know what I mean. I'm half-way convinced that a tiny dormouse lives in each unit, connecting calls via switchboard. I like the idea of Android, but I'm not convinced that this was the handset with which to sell it. Other phones will feature the Android OS, including Australian upstart Kogan.
mazevedo points out this review:
The good:The RIM BlackBerry Storm features an innovative touch screen that provides tactile feedback to confirm your selection. The Storm offers dual-mode functionality for world-roaming capabilities as well as EV-DO Rev. A and UMTS/HSDPA support. Other highlights include GPS and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
The Storm's SurePress touch-screen takes some acclimation and the onscreen keyboard is a bit cramped. The smartphone can be sluggish and buggy even after the firmware update.. Speakerphone quality was a bit choppy
According to most reviews seen online the Storm took first of all a long time to come out in the market, already leaving its consumers dissatisfied. Sometime I mean that is completely ok when you grab a great product in your hands however that dosen't appear to be what RIM has delivered to its consumers. It appears as though the Storm's touchscreen, from what I have read in several places, can be actually quite annoying and that the phone doesn't deliver what is supposed to deliver such as high call quality service and what RIM had best which was the entrepreneur crowd are not very sure they will adapt well to the storm. Therefore out of all gadgets this year I give the underwhelming title to the Storm.
Also, speaking of mobiles, 2008 was the year when cameraphones and mobile email capability became the norm, rather than highly-touted feature. Anything less than 2MP is considered "entry level", and I can't even think of a handset without a camera. Same with email: even my busted L7 can do email, not that I have that feature activated. I'm on far to many distro lists: my ringtone would get really boring, really quickly.
What are your favorites and least favorites? Let us know below.