Welcome to the CNET 100. Round 1 goes to Google.

We built a one-of-its-kind leaderboard that tracks tech's hottest products. Each month, starting today, we'll tell you which gadget stars are rising, which are falling, and which dominate the tech universe.

Three years. That's all it took for Google to go from its first branded hardware product -- the Nexus One -- to dominating the list of most desired hardware.

The Google Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7 ranking first and fifth, respectively, on the CNET 100, our groundbreaking new monthly leaderboard of gadgets. Alongside the Apple iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Panasonic ST60 plasma TV, the two Google devices are the only two from the same manufacturer in the Top 5 products on the list:

  1. Google Nexus 5
  2. Apple iPad Air
  3. Samsung Galaxy S4
  4. Panasonic ST60 plasma TV
  5. Google Nexus 7

But Google isn't the only one to make headlines in the CNET 100. The full rankings reveal some surprising and fascinating tech stories.

See the full CNET 100 gadget leaderboard.

First, a little more about the CNET 100. We built this list using a proprietary algorithm that mines CNET's huge, industry-leading repository of internal and external data, then blends that data with our editors' ratings to identify the tech that is making the biggest waves. These are the gadgets that everyone is noticing and that the world cares about. They're high-quality products and they really matter.

We'll update this list during the first week of every month starting today. This inaugural list tracks the 100 most important devices as of November 2013 -- the biggest tech shopping month of the year -- and reports on how far each climbed or fell compared with the month before. If a product is important to the market this year, it must hold a spot toward the top of this pack.

The Panasonic ST60 plasma TV, ranking in fourth place, shows that even a device at the end of its life can make a big splash if it's good enough. Panasonic announced on Halloween that its 2013 line of plasma TVs would be its last. That makes the ST60 -- CNET's pick of the litter of the final model year, and our first 5-star TV ever -- a rising star as consumers rush to get in on the last batch ever of this long-adored TV technology. (Read more about the the industry's mourning of the series in our article "RIP Panasonic plasma TVs: Reactions from industry experts.")

Some products surprised us with a relatively low ranking. While Sony's PlayStation 4 entered the list at number 6, Microsoft's Xbox One system debuted much farther down at 18. That said, it won't be an even fight until December, when both products get to spend the entire month on the list. (Products can only enter the CNET 100 once they've been reviewed and rated, and the PS4 got a week's headstart on the Xbox One.)

In the CNET 100, the Sony PS4 comes in well ahead of the Xbox One. Sarah Tew/CNET

In case you needed confirmation that tablets are slowly nudging laptops out of the front seat, the most popular model, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro, claimed spot 12, followed by the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display at 21, and the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air at 33. In comparison, eight tablets ranked in the top 30 percent of the list.

Read through the entire CNET 100 list for many more tech stories like this and please share in the comments below what you find interesting in this list. Tell us your predictions for next month's gainers and losers, and let us know what you like (or don't) about the feature.

 

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