2010 happened to be a particularly excited year for two kinds of cool tech gadgets – mobile gadgets and 3-D ones. In the mobile gadgets category of course, Apple had two entries – the maddeningly desirable iPad touchscreen tablet computer, and the smaller-than-ever new MacBook Air. In the 3-D department, every major television manufacturer had a new 3-D TV (or six).
But Panasonic definitely wins in the 3-D category by producing the positively huge 65 inch TX-P65VT20B Viera 3-D TV. You get the full in-your-face effect of 3-D with a screen that huge, and Panasonic even includes two pairs of 3-D glasses in the box. No other TV offers the clarity, the color response, the sheer 3-D magic of this monster set. This one set alone would seal Panasonic's reputation in the 3-D department. But they had to go out and make the world's first full production 3-D camcorder for the masses. Use a binocular-design 3-D camera (that by the way costs $ 20,000) in public, and you should simply have all on eyes on you. Surely, you do need a real steady hand for the right effect to hit you; but of course every new technology needs new skills, and just the fact that you can shoot 3-D on a handheld camcorder is an exciting prospect.
And then we have our Apple iPad, that you need no introduction to – large solid-state hard drive, spectacular multi-touch screen, it's only been out for less than a year, and already 15 million people own one. The only problem with an iPad is that it is clearly not a laptop replacement. For the most part, it is not powerful enough, and there is a lot to complain in the fact that it lacks a proper keyboard. Choose the new MacBook Air with a 11.6 inch high res screen, a great graphics processor, a multi-touch trackpad and all kinds of other tricks, and you begin to wonder if you really need an iPad after all.
It's difficult to really pick a winner out of all the cool tech gadgets that came online in 2010. Surely, 3-D camera and a very attractive little tablet computer are cool tech gadgets; but there's something about the Microsoft Kinect that just is too new to pass over for the prize. When the Nintendo Wii first came on the market, the makers of the PlayStation and the Xbox could not stop laughing at the way the graphics on the Wii were quite primitive. It was when it began to overtake the PlayStation in sales that they sat up and took notice. The Microsoft Kinect takes the Wii motion capture concept a step further. You do not even need to wear a controller on your hand anymore. The Kinect maps the entire room you are in, and maps your whole body, and it knows exactly where you are and how you are. You no longer need a joystick, a keyboard or anything to play Xbox. It's game over for video game innovation.