20 most innovative consumer electronics products of the decade (photos)
Affordable large-screen flat-panel HDTVs
Plasma and LCD HDTVs have been one of the biggest consumer electronics stories of the decade. While we're not highlighting one brand over another, we are highlighting the fact that prices continue to drop for displays 42 inches and larger.
The e-reader has been around for a while and Sony actually had a reader with an e-ink display before Amazon. But the Kindle--and Amazon's marketing efforts--were the key to bringing attention to these now hot devices.
Apple iMac G4 flat-panel
You can argue over whether the design of the G4 or G5 iMac was more influential on the all-in-one desktop market, but the G4 set the stage.
Arguably the most influential product of the decade--or certainly in the top three.
No caption necessary.
The first BlackBerry with an integrated phone appeared in 2002. It remains the staple messaging device for millions of mobile professionals.
Canon Rebel 300D
In 2003, Canon turned its prosumer 10D dSLR into a consumer model that had a plastic body, instead of a metal one.
When Rebel 300D was launched, Digital Photography Review said, "This camera is probably the most fundamentally important step for digital SLRs since the introduction of the Nikon D1. It will place digital SLRs into the hands of consumers (with a moderate budget) and will probably also have a very strong negative effect on the $1,000 prosumer digital camera market."
Asus Eee PC [Netbooks]
While dozens of companies now make inexpensive Netbooks, Asus paved the way with its first Eee PC.
Flip Video pocket camcorders
In just a few years, Flip Video has managed to capture more than 25 percent of the camcorder market with its compact and simple-to-use digital pocket camcorders. When it launched, almost no one believed it could become the major player that it is today.
Once a small company in Canada, today Harmony is owned by Logitech and dominates the consumer universal remote control market. Its PC-based DIY setup was far easier to use than the Philips Pronto's (and other higher-end remotes), allowing average consumers to program their sophisticated clickers themselves without the assistance of a professional home installer.
PalmOne Treo 600
Before the iPhone, there was the Treo 600.
Truth be told, when we first saw the DS, we thought it was kind of silly. But it kicked off "touch-based" gaming and has been a huge success.
Many mocked the name--and the system itself--when it first came out. But Nintendo's innovative motion controller became a cultural phenomenon and the Wii turned lots of nongamers into gamers.
Sony Playstation 2
Launched in 2000, the PS2 is still on sale, and Sony has kept its promise that the system would last a decade. With an integrated DVD player, the PS2 helped make the game console the centerpiece of the living-room entertainment system.
CNET cell phone guru Kent German felt strongly that the Razr should be on the list. "Not only was it incredibly popular," he says, "but it was also the first thin phone. It started a huge design trend and has quite a few imitators."
Sling Media Slingbox
While it probably hasn't been as successful as it should have been, the Slingbox is synonymous with the revolutionary idea of place-shifting.
Sonos music system
Before Sonos came along, multiroom audio was an expensive and complicated proposition that usually involved professional home installers. Now you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
While Sony has had its ups and downs with the PSP, it remains a beautifully designed portable gaming system (though we still want a second analog stick).
TiVo [the DVR]
While TiVo was launched in 1999 (along with ReplayTV), it made its biggest impact this past decade. Yes, the "free" DVR is king, but TiVo is still better.
TomTom Go [affordable GPS]
We wanted to highlight GPS' impact on the market (and the world) but weren't quite sure how to present it. While it's not fair to single out one GPS device as the ultimate innovation, we will say that devices like the TomTom Go helped make GPS the mass-market product it is today.
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