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There may be some mind-blowing new gadgets that come out in time for the holiday gift buying season, but here’s a list of the eight most significant tech gadgets released to date.
There may be some mind-blowing new gadgets that come out in time for the holiday gift buying season, but here’s a list of the eight most significant tech gadgets released to date. These aren’t necessarily the best selling or most popular, but each stands out for one reason or another.
Released: Jan. 23, 2013
Funded through one of the most successful Kickstarter projects of 2012, this smartwatch uses black-and-white e-paper display technology, and can interact with your Android device. On its own, it’s not that revolutionary. What’s significant about the Pebble is that it was one of the higher-profile attempts to crack into the nascent smartwatch market.
Released: Feb. 21, 2013
It was thought that Chromebooks were meant to take over the bygone netbook market, serving as cheap and low-powered machines, but which run Chrome OS. Yet when the Pixel suddenly appeared for sale, it totally defied this conventional wisdom. This Googled-branded notebook isn’t cheap, starting at $1,299, because it packs powerful specs and a touchscreen in a sleek case design. Critics have wondered why would anyone buy a Pixel; it costs more than a base-model MacBook. To Google, it probably doesn’t matter. The Pixel is like the luxury sports car of the Chromebook line -- meant to show off what Chrome OS can do when running on optimal hardware.
Released: March 22, 2013
This generic looking smartphone slab running BlackBerry OS got decent reviews, but it wasn’t enough to reverse the declining market share of this once-popular mobile OS. BlackBerry also released an updated version of their phone form factor with a mini keyboard, the Q10. However, the Z10 in particular came to sadly represent their woes throughout this year: an inability to make a splash in an industry now dominated by Google and Apple.
Sero 7 Pro
Released: May 24, 2013
When Google released a refresh of the Nexus 7 tablet, it was updated with a faster processor and higher-resolution screen. It also came with a bump-up in price for the base model, from $199 to $229. Then there’s the Sero 7 Pro, sold exclusively through Walmart. This Android tablet has similar internal hardware as the original Nexus 7 and includes three things that the latter noticeably lacked: a mini HDMI port, rear-facing camera, and SD card slot. When the Sero 7 Pro was first released, its price was $149 but was soon trimmed to $129.
Released: July 24, 2013
This simple looking and cheap ($35) dongle that lets you easily stream video from your mobile device or computer (running the Chrome browser) to your TV became a sold-out hit at release. Google’s smart TV platform, Google TV, has struggled, so Chromecast’s surprising success has reinvigorated the company’s efforts to deliver media to the living-room. Out of the box, the Chromecast permits streaming only from the Google Play store, Netflix and YouTube.
Released: July 26, 2013
The Lumia 1020 represents the last hurrah of the Nokia smartphone line. (Since being bought by Microsoft, future Lumia devices probably will bear their new owner’s name.) The 1020 is the current top-of-the-line smartphone that presents Microsoft’s mobile OS in a sleek, beautiful form factor. What really stands out, though, is its rear-facing camera that can shoot images up to an astounding 41 megapixels. Prior Lumia models also showcased great industrial design and advanced camera technology.
Released: Aug. 12, 2013
Similar to the way Google has extended Chrome browser into an operating system, Mozilla has refactored Firefox into an OS for smartphones. The first Firefox OS phone, the ZTE Open, was launched for sale online in the U.S. through the ZTE company’s eBay storefront for $79. The odds of Firefox OS taking a significant chunk of the mobile OS market are very long, of course. But the widespread release of a mobile OS built upon HTML5 and bearing the name of one of the world’s most popular web browsers is an encouraging development for the open-source community in 2013.
Released: Sept. 20, 2013
Along with the update to their flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, Apple also introduced a lower-cost (and therefore lesser powered and featured) model, the 5C. It looks plasticky because, in fact, its case is made of plastic. Pragmatically speaking, Apple had to bring out a cost-competitive model to go against the deluge of low-priced Android phones. Like the iPad mini, the iPhone 5C represents another sign that Apple these days is willing to step down from its premium image in order to woo potential customers who are more budget-minded about their tech gadget buys.