Plus, because surely you're going through election withdrawal, you vote to decide the best of the best from our un-ranked list (at the end, below). The owners of winning technology will be sent a sparkling gold, familiar-looking statuette (we bought it off of eBay ... the words "Bobby Brown" will be taped over with the winner's name).
The NBC/News Corp-owned site has single-handedly changed the way people watch video online quickly becoming the gold standard for on demand video. The content is free because the site is supported by ads, but they're not intrusive and Hulu even grants you some control over which ads you see. Content-wise, you'll find all your favorite shows, a respectable collection of movies, and even high-def programming.
Just when the iPhone thought itself the undefeated smartphone champ, in stepped Google brandishing its big ax at the hallowed Apple tree in the T-Mobile G1, $180. In 2008, the search engine giant released its open-source mobile phone operating system — Android — proving that Apple wasn't the only company that could put forth a clean, slick OS. HTC's hardware is a bit of a disappointment, but fortunately Google's OS came shining through.
For $200, it includes the best of all business and personal phone features with Blackberry's famous push email, GPS, 3G, great multimedia capability, and even video functionality. Its new tactile point and click touch screen is something to like, too. The form factor and styling is a step in the right direction for RIM. This is the first all in one Blackberry for any user.
Nintendo Wii Fit
We've not had a chance to use this $90 item yet, but it still makes our list solely because it has remained out of stock and hard to find since it was released. There must be SOME reason it's always unavailable, right? And we'll bank on that reason being because it's AWESOME!
The original iPhone completely redefined what consumers should expect from a high-end smartphone. Its newer and more full featured sibling raises the ante and drops the price to $200. With its ability to easily sync with a laptop and to download applications, it's the perfect laptop replacement. Throw in GPS and you have a portable device which is even better than a notebook.
Sony XEL-1 OLED 11" TV
The world's first OLED TV set a high bar. It's a perfect fusion of the "go green" movement and the rapid pace at which technology evolves. At under 3 pounds, it's an all around nice package, although we're of course waiting for the $2,500 price to come down. Way down. Offering 11" of 1080p goodness, it has the ability to offer up to 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio (that's darker than "my life is a black abyss" black) and still is better for the environment than the current lineup of LCD TVs. The only thing that could make it better would be a price drop of two thousand dollars.
No matter who wins — Android, Apple, Blackberry, or, God help us, T-Mobile — we'll look back five years from now and see that these offerings were milestones in gadget history ... the turning point that enabled cell phones to replace PCs.
Thermaltake BlacX USB Docking Station
It makes us ask, "Why haven't hard drive enclosures always been this easy?" Its simple, cartridge-like slot allow you to plug in a bare hard drive. No more screwing/unscrewing an enclosure to swap out the drives you want to access. Knock-offs are already here, which should push this item under its current $30 and up price.
Mitsubishi LaserVue L65-A90 65" 1080p Laser DLP HDTV
It's pretty rare to find a brand-new genre in television technology, but this year saw two. (See the Sony XEL-1, above.) This LaserVue is the first commercially available laser-powered HDTV, which boasts twice the color and less than half the power usage of LCD and plasma units. (It also boasts an insane $7,000 price.) Like the XEL-1, the high sticker-price may leave all but the most eager early-adopters shaking their heads. But for those with the deep pockets, serious TV bragging rights are also included.
Raon Digital Everun Note 7" UMPC
Sure, it's an $800 Netbook in a $400 Netbook world. But although it's a bit thicker than most Netbooks (just over 1" thick), it stands out from the crowd with its AMD Turion 64 x2 1.2GHz dual-core processor (a first for the small screen set) and 7" touchscreen LCD. Despite weighing a slim 1-1/2 lbs., it manages to pack in a lot of features: wireless, Bluetooth, webcam, and — most impressively — dual monitor support with VGA output. Even Sony doesn't have a VAIO under 2 lbs., and its smallest costs more than twice as much.
Reynolds Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealing System
It's a little outside of the mainstream, when you think about items that generally appear on these kinds of lists. But, of course, we're a site that's all about finding deals. With the recent economic times, buying in bulk and freezing what you can't use right away for use later, makes good sense. This gadget makes it easier to acheive those results, without as much freezer burn. We tip our hats to this thrifty device, which can be preordered at Amazon for $11.
Contributed by Louis Ramirez, Jeremy Globerson, Chuck Phillips, Sam Kohn, Dan de Grandpre, Sarah Jones, Jeffrey Contray, Cherri Simonds, and Jeff Somogyi