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The absolute best gadgetry of 2011

Going by 2011’s bare roadmap, 2012 looks magically promising. So, how exactly will this evolution take shape?

brunch Updated: Dec 31, 2011 17:19 IST
Rajiv Makhni

Going by 2011’s bare roadmap, 2012 looks magically promising. So, how exactly will this evolution take shape?

As we wake up to this sparkling New Year most of us will have already dreamt of resolutions and aspirations for the coming year.

You may not know it now almost all of these pursuits will be tech-related. Whether it’s a quest to be fitter, to be more organised, to work harder, sit back and relax, party till you drop, make more friends, lose weight or gain some gadgets, gizmos and devices will play a huge role in fulfiling all of this. 2011 has shown us the bare roadmap 2012 will be magical.

Here’s the best of 2011 and how these will evolve in 2012:

Bold - Current status in 2011

Italic - Hopefully will evolve to in 2012

Razer Blade
Intel and Razer’s very sharp and radical gaming laptop, this is an all powerful beast with incredible features and hardware. It’s thin, it’s fast and it’s very versatile. All we need is for this to come to India this year at Razor thin prices.

Alternative – Acer Iconia

Logitech Harmony 900
Combines 15 remotes, touchscreen and hard buttons, idiot proofs web-based programming, can control IR and RF devices and is based on a hypnotic activity based system. This year’s Harmony range should reduce price and bring automatic macros back the rest is already perfect.

Alternative – Harmony One

Seagate Goflex Satellite mobile
Any device, including iPads and Android phones, can wirelessly access any content on it; with half a terabyte capacity, it runs 5 hours on battery, you can have 3 different devices streaming movies from it all at the same time. Apps on each OS that actually work plus bump up the storage to 1.5TB.

Alternative – Western Digital Cloud Drive

HP Touchpad
Great design, fantastic OS dropped even before it could open its eyes. Should be on the list of worst gadgets but its fire sale proved that low pricing can also be a powerful feature. Maybe HP can bring it back permanently as a $199 tablet – guaranteed number 1 position.

Alternative – None, you can’t have an alternative to the TouchPad soap opera.

GaalxySony TX 55

Slim, light, good looking and incorporates most things from the famous NEX line into a point and shoot. A battery that doesn’t die on you in the middle of a shoot and a menu system that doesn’t needs a rocket science degree to decipher.

Alternative – Olympus EPL 2

Samsung Galaxy S2
Got an early start in 2011, powerful as a jet engine, sleek as a razor blade and a screen that made your eyes pop. Still the Android phone to beat after almost a year. The 2012 S3 needs Samsung to think out of the plasticky box, a one piece aluminium body and design elements that make your toenails curl.

Alternative – Motorola Razr

iPhone 4S
If ever there was an incremental device that can make the world go haywire and sell like a fire sale – then the might and magic of the iPhone 4S will forever be the case study. The 2012 iPhone 5 should have a totally different form factor, a price in India that doesn’t make you weep and at least one jaw dropper new hardware feature.

Alternative – iPhone 4

iphoneAsus Ultrabook

MacBook Air-like thin tablet-like features, full scale keyboard, great price point. 2012 should have the instant on-always on feature perfected, a body that makes you whistle and a price of $599.

Alternative – Every company has one ultrabook coming

Nexus Prime
Google’s showcase device, the only one yet with Ice Cream Sandwich from the start, beautiful screen, nice curves in all the right places. If Samsung won’t do it, then Google should force them to get out more colours, more metal and a faster India release plan.

Alternative – HTC Sensation XE

Nook Simple Touch
99 bucks, no ads ever and works at blazing speeds. This is the e-reader of the year, not the Kindle 4. This year should see a price drop to $49 and then eventually move to free with a yearly commitment to buy books.

Alternative – Sony Reader

Asus Transformer Prime
Tegra 3 that blows your socks off, a design that screams awesome and a performance that shows off what Android can really do. Asus needs to get the word out better, really get cracking on PR as most people don’t know that an iPad killer already exists.

Alternative – Samsung 10.1 Tab

Amazon Kindle Fire
Finally, an iPad hurter if not killer. The eco-system around it and the price are the real stand-out features. A better screen, 3G, cameras and a nicer looking shell are all up for 2012.

Alternative – Nook Tablet

Sifteo cubes
Small cubes with screens that are aware of each other and their positions, games that are simple yet mind-numbingly addictive – finally gaming has an intelligent alternative. They need to make them into a self-contained unit and not need a USB dongle and computer.

Alternative – None

Brothers Wall of Sound
The terminator of all docks, the dissemination of puny sound – this is the biggest, loudest, heaviest and most powerful dock in the world. Maybe a smaller version plus a better production capacity could be on the wish list for this year.

Alternative – B&W Zeppelin Air

Sonos 5
This is a game changing audio device that you can build up around your house just like Lego bricks. Add as you like, when you like. A self-contained unit that can do wonders. They need a two-unit stereo alternative to this beautifully thought out device.

Alternative – Logitech SqueezeBox Touch

Sennheiser RS 220
Digital inputs, sounds as good as a wired headset, the best way to watch a movie or listen to music at night without a divorce proceeding taking place. A price drop would be nice, as would a bump up on the styling.

Alternative – Sennheiser RS 180

LG 65 inch LED
So many contenders to this throne – the LG takes it with its monster display. Lightweight 3D glasses that need no battery, certified flickerfree and a gorgeous picture. Maybe an 85 incher at the same price for this year? I can dream, can’t I?

Alternative – Samsung 55 inch 9000 series

Sony Tablet P
In a world of humdrum slate design Tablets, this one is like a breath of fresh air. Fold it away and you can still put in your pocket, one of the biggest Tablets in the market. Sony needs to up the ante on hardware and come up with more compelling reasons to buy their Tablet other than design.

Alternative – Samsung Galaxy 7 inch Wifi

Philips 21:9
Ninety per cent of all HD movies are now released in 21:9 format. That means we all get those annoying black bars on the top and bottom of our movies. Not with this 57’’ beauty. How I wish the 21:9 becomes the new standard for all HD TVs this year. Samsung, LG, Panasonic?

Alternative – 21:9 HD Projectors

Nike+Tom Tom watch
It’s the new gold standard for fitness, a personal device attached to your body that plays big brother and tells you exactly how fit you are, how much you’ve moved and where you’ve been through GPS. Better connectivity, better reporting, meal logging and more robust apps.

Alternative – Fitbit, Jawbone UP

Parrot Asteroid
This is your in-car entertainment from the future. No CD, all digital, 3G enabled, net streaming radio, plays songs off your mobile or USB, voice controlled. Bigger screen, better quality audio, Wifi enabled.

Alternative – Coming soon

Samsung 950 Monitor
Yes, desktops weren’t the flavour of the year but this monitor may just make you still want one. Super hot design, zero power state, outstanding visuals and performance. A laptop and a mobile based on the same design would be a killer.

Alternative – LG 3D Monitor

Nokia Lumia 800
‘I want it now’ design, shows off the true power of Win Phone, thrilling to see the ingenuity and money-muscle power of Nokoft. Needs a camera in the front, needs many more choices, and needs a sub `10,000 option.

Alternative – Samsung Omnia W

iPad 2
Still the Pad to beat, beautifully constructed, incredible versatility and iOS 5 finally makes it wire free. With a high-res 10 inch retina display, killer camera – the iPad 3 will set the bar high again.

Alternative – Ubislate/Aakash 2 (Just kidding, it’s still clunky)

Orbotix Sphero
A sphere that you control with your phone, virtual and augmented reality games plus mindless fun and a wow factor that can make all your friends envious. This is the toy from 2020. Needs a better price and more availability.

Alternative – AR Drone Parrot

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni

From HT Brunch, December 25

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