The top 10 gadgets of 2012 – and 10 more for 2013
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Entrepreneurs are especially attracted to the latest tech, and with good reason – a well-crafted gadget can make your work life more organised. Technology has enabled people to be more productive, and the latest smartphones, tablets and computers help entrepreneurs manage their time better.
This year has been a landmark one for gadgetry. Apple released the long-awaited iPad Mini, and Samsung actually came up with a viable challenger to the iPhone.
We also saw crowdfunding become a viable path for gadget makers without much money, ushering in a new age for manufacturers who can tap into groups of people who want specific products.
It's certainly been an interesting year, so we've put together 10 of our favourite gadgets of 2012, and another 10 we're looking forward to in 2013.
Here are 10 of the best from 2012...
- iPhone 5
It was the worst-kept secret in Silicon Valley, but the iPhone 5 nevertheless made an Apple-sized dent in the 2012 tech calendar. Despite the nerves over whether Tim Cook could handle his first major product release without Steve Jobs at the helm, the consensus is that he did extremely well. Once again, the iPhone remains on top of the smartphone war.
A smaller iPad was a gadget rumour that had been making its way through the tech scene since the release of the original iPad in 2010, but it didn't become a reality until this year. Apple didn't want to just make another seven-inch table to compete against the saturated small-factor market and instead focused on keeping the iPad experience the same – just smaller. It paid off.
Samsung Galaxy SIII
The Android platform has been looking for an iPhone contender since 2007, and Samsung finally cracked that market with the Galaxy SIII. By all accounts it's perhaps the best Android phone on the market and, despite ongoing patent disputes with Apple, has made the Korean manufacturer extremely profitable.
At long last, Android finally has a winner.
This might not be something that was released in 2012, but it's in a prototype form and that's certainly good enough. Some ex-Apple designers created what might just be the most beautiful thermostat around. But the Nest isn't just funky and futuristic, it actually works – something to watch for in the coming months.
We're all waiting for the day when we can use our smartphones as wallets, but there's already a gadget that will allow you to control your front door with one. The Lockitron, which was released this year, sits on top of an existing deadbolt and can then be accessed with a smartphone app. You can set it to open at certain times, allow friends to have access with their phones as well, and manage your security remotely.
This has definitely been the year of Kickstarter, and the Pebble Watch has been one of the best examples of what can happen when crowdfunding gets it right. A group of developers from Canada raised over $10 million – despite only having a $100,000 goal – for a watch that interacts with your iPhone. It shows messages, incoming calls, and can control music as well.
Samsung Series 9
Netbooks are well and truly dead – long live the Ultrabook. Samsung has continued its dominance in the market this year, with the Series 9 dominating the market as one of the best ultrabooks around. As long as it plays its cards right, Samsung ultrabooks will continue to be a viable option alongside Apple's MacBook range.
Apple may own the dedicated tablet space, but Amazon owns the eReader market and continued its reign this year with the Paperwhite. By far the highest quality eReader on the market, the Paperwhite is by far the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to digital reading.
Nintendo made a name for itself back in 2006 when it debuted the first gaming console to feature wireless controllers that could actually detect motion. While using a tablet alongside a console isn't such a big leap, it's definitely noteworthy. The fact users can switch from playing a game on a television to the tablet controller itself is a huge disruptive element in the living room environment.
Google Nexus 7
Before the iPad Mini, the Nexus 7 had the small form factor market covered. And not only does it remain a viable option, but several critics believe it to be the superior one. An Android tablet that actually features a solid build, and a smooth version of Android? For under $300, it's a steal.
...and 10 we're looking forward to in 2013
- iPhone 6
We all know it's coming. And while it probably won't be a huge leap in terms of ability, the next iPhone will feature all the upgrades we've come to expect from a yearly cycle. The biggest anticipation point is NFC – will Apple finally introduce its long-awaited contactless payments system?
- iPad mini retina
One of the major faults critics found with the iPad was that it doesn't feature a Retina screen. That will definitely change next year.
- Google Glasses
Google hasn't exactly been shy about the fact it's experimenting with glasses that connect to the internet and allow you to complete smartphone-like tasks. There's even a demo video available online. Chief Larry Page has said Google Glasses will appear, at the earliest, in 2013. Keep a look out.
- Xbox 720
One of Microsoft's most successful divisions is its entertainment unit, which maintains the Xbox hardware and community. Seven years after the last console was debuted, it's expected to launch something up to eight times more powerful next year. It won't come cheap, but it could very well be one of Microsoft's last bouts of success before some serious reinvention is required.
- BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry has become the laughing stock of the smartphone world, but a recent leak of its upcoming smartphone actually turned a few heads. Whether it's downright horrible will remain to be seen, but this is at least one to keep an eye on.
- New iPad
Again, a yearly product release cycle means we know what to expect from the new iPad. It'll be thinner, more powerful and remain the same price. Do we need to know any more?
- . LG Google TV
Google TV has mostly been a failure, but the internet giant's partnership with LG may prove interesting. It could also provide a hedge against Apple's expected move into the space in the next few years...
- Microsoft phone
These are all rumours at this point, but Microsoft has been seen dabbling with an idea for a smartphone of its own. Such a move would be risky, but would allow more consolidation between its different business units.
- Key Lime Pie
The next version of Android will be a massive change, and it's expected in May at the Google I/O conference. The next phase of smartphone capability will be found in what Google is doing, so keep an eye on this one if you're not a fan of Apple's closed environment.
- Bendable phones
The biggest leap in smartphone technology within the past 10 years has been the release of the touchscreen, which allowed the invention of the iPhone and its subsequent competitors. The next big phase is bendable technology, which will allow screens to bend and flex and still maintain their quality. It's early days yet, but expect to see some experimentation with the form in 2013 – even though it may not be commercially available.