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SheWired's Favorite Gadgets of 2010

SheWired's Favorite Gadgets of 2010

This year more content has gone digital, portable and more centered around consumers. While there were more new releases of tech gadgets and components of all kinds this year, only a few of them have been real game changers – whether it be from providing new platforms to consume (your favorite lesbian-themed) content, ways to customize products or allowing wider use of key products. Here are some favorites of the 2010 tech world:

This year more and more content has gone digital, portable and more centered around consumers. While there were more new releases of tech gadgets and components of all kinds this year, only a few of them have been real game changers – whether it be from providing new platforms to consume content, ways to customize products or allowing wider use of key products. And with creative people in the LGBT community churning out great content in the form of web series, movies and music, it's the perfect time to take a look at the ways we can consume all of this info.

Here are some of our favorites from the 2010 tech world:

1. iPad

In January, Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad, and following the release in April, it became one of the fastest technology products adopted by the public. Now you can watch all those vintage 'Spashley' (the adorable lesbian couple on South of Nowhere played by Mandy Musgrave and Gabrielle Christian) mash-up videos from YouTube on-the-go, and larger than your tiny smart phone screen. Its clear that Apple realized the need for a new kind of device, geared for media consumption. The iPad is available for $499 (16 GB), $599 (32 GB) or $699 (64 GB).

2. iPhone 4

The release of Apple’s iPhone 4 was a bit shaky – Gizmodo found a prototype months before it was to be announced, and some of the first users of the white iPhone 4 discovered a glitch with the antenna when the phone was held a certain way.

However, these issues did not seem to hurt anticipation for or sales of the new iPhone. Apple is now selling more iPhones than ever. The iPhone 4 is available for use on AT&T (unless you jailbreak it), and costs $199 (16 GB) or $299 (32 GB) with a new 2-year contract with AT&T.

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3. NetFlix Streaming and Hulu(Plus), Apple TV

It all started with TiVo. Now companies like Hulu, NetFlix and even Apple -- in a slightly different way--are making having cable less and less necessary.

Hulu, the online video service, owned by NBC Universal, News Corp., The Walt Disney Company, Providence Equity Partners and the Hulu team, offers old and new TV shows, movies and clips. Hulu can be viewed on computers, tablets, mobile devices, and now on TVs. Most of the content is free, like the lesbian-themed web series Anyone But Me. The recent launch of HuluPlus offers paying subscribers content in HD, limits new releases of certain shows and movies to those subscribers, and the ability to watch Hulu programs on TV through devices like Roku. A HuluPlus subscription costs $7.99/month.

Similar to Hulu in concept, Netflix offers three subscription options: a flat rate for DVD and Blu-ray rental by mail, video streaming of programs available on DVD, or the ability to do both. The big difference between Hulu and Netflix is that Netflix offers DVD or Blu-Ray discs, and is limited (for DVD and online streaming) to programs already released on DVD. However, if you start watching a show on Hulu that is already in its fourth season, you can use your Netflix to catch up on the first three seasons between the airings of new episodes, or you can watch your favorite gay and lesbian movies, like And Then Came Lola, any time, on just about any device. 

I am including AppleTV here because its very similar to Hulu and Netflix, although its targeted at users who want to stay within the family of Apple products. If you own any of the iPad, iPhone or iPod devices and are happy buying or renting content using iTunes, then AppleTV is a perfect fit. Other than that, it offers Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, some internet radio content and any music and videos on networked computers running iTunes. Its slightly larger in size than an iPhone, and is just $99.

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4. Dell Inspiron Duo

The Dell Inspiron Duo is different than traditional convertible tablets. Instead of a screen that rotates horizontally 180 degrees, the Inspiron Duo screen is hinged in the middle of the lid and flips vertically. It can be used like a normal laptop with a Windows interface, or the screen can be flipped an closed, which launches the touch-sensitive interface. The part laptop, part tablet starts at $549.

 

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab

This Galaxy Tab is Samsung’s first Android tablet, and is being hyped as having the most potential to give Apple’s iPad some good competition. It has tablet essentials – multitouch support, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS - but also fully functions as a phone, and comes with front and rear cameras (so you can do things like Cathy DeBuono and Jill Bennett's video chat sessions). It also has the power and graphics to support it all. It is smaller than a normal tablet, with a 7 inch screen, also making it much lighter than the other 10 inch options. 

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6. Android

Android is the platform that most non-Apple devices run on, and has allowed those devices to compete with Apple’s products like the iPhone and iPad. At the start of this year, it was hardly known in comparison to BlackBerry (RIM), iPhone (Apple) and Nokia, but it has potential to finish the year ahead of all three.

7. Roku XDS

Mentioned a couple of times already, Roku is the most popular choice for accessing online media and applications through a TV. The latest version, Roku XDS, has dual-band 802.11n  WiFi and 1080p video output (most others have a weaker signal and only 720p). Roku offers the strongest line-up of online content options: Netflix (watch all 6 seasons of The L Word back-to-back, without changing DVDs!), HuluPlus, Amazon Video on Demand, Vimeo, Flixster, Blip.tv, Break.com, Revision3, Pandora, MP3tunes, MOG, Flickr, SmugMug, Facebook, MLB.TV, NHL GameCenter, and UFC are all on the list of over 100 options. There are also private channels (accessed with use of a special code). Users have the ability to add or delete channels so that only the content that each user wants will be listed. The Roku XDS is just $99.

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8. Xbox 360 S/Kinect

The Xbox 360 may not be new (as of June, there were over 41.7 million consoles sold worldwide), but there is a new model of it on the market. The redesigned console is thinner than before, has integrated 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and 250 GB hard drive. Some of these consoles will come with Kinect, Microsoft’s motion controlled gaming setup, but it can also be purchased separately.

This holiday season alone, Microsoft is expected to sell 5 million Kinects, making your chances of being able to see just how well your girl can shake it that much higher. If none of your friends have the Kinect, then you can always just get the ole Token Lesbian (or other jam band) together for some Rock Band. The Xbox 360 S (without Kinect) is $299.99, and the Kinect (without console) is $149.99.

 

9. nook color

The nook is the first designated e-reader to provide a larger color LCD display. The device comes with a web browser, built-in dictionary, Chess and Sudoku, audio player, speakers and headphone jack, and connects to the Barnes & Noble digital store using a free connection to AT&T’s 3G network, or another available wireless signal. 

There is also a “LendMe” function which allows users to share most books with others (title sharing depends on the book publisher’s licensing). Books can be shared once, with one other user for up to two weeks, with others using Barnes & Noble's reader application software for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry, Mac, Android OS, Windows and others. The nook color is available for $249.

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10. Flip Mino HD

The Flip Mino can hold one hour (4 GB model) or two hours (8 GB model) of 720p high definition footage. Its smaller than most phones, and plugs directly into your computer – no cords required. Its also sturdier (aka more “drop-resistant”) than a phone or camera, making it ideal for absolutely everyone. The Mino HD has touch-sensitive controls, and the simple design maximizes the use of those buttons like few other devices ever have.

It even comes with software (FlipShare) and works with both Windows and Mac computers. The files can easily be edited if needed, or just uploaded directly to sites like YouTube using the software. The best part about the Mino HD though, is that the outside is 100% customizable with whatever possible design you could want on it, at no extra cost! The Flip Mino HD 4 GB is $179.99, and the 8GB is $229.99.

And if you plan on giving any of these awesome products as gifts this holiday season, the you should go the extra mile and use QRapping Paper – just because its fun! Its the world's most interactive wrapping paper. Behind each QR code is an original holiday video that can't be seen anywhere else. There are more than 50 in all, and can be viewed on most mobile devices. Happy holidays!

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