Gadget plays: A look back at electronic devices

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Nigel Harris, executive peripherals editor of sister site, looks back at his winning (and losing) predictions for the years' hot gadgets.

I compiled my first Christmas gadget countdown back in 2005 when Apple's iPod was the clear winner. It wasn't the de facto portable music player it is today and we were still looking forward to Microsoft's Zune to see if it would steal Apple's thunder. The Sony PSP was my second choice, proving that I know nothing about computer gaming!

The last five years have seen the humble mobile phone grow to become the most popular mobile gaming device, with the iPod not far behind.

The following year I hedged my bets and put smartphones generally at the top of the Gadget list, although I did make a special mention of Windows Mobile devices, thinking that Microsoft Outlook users would be drawn to this platform. In fact, Microsoft has failed miserably to capitalise on its virtual monopoly of the desktop computing sector. I am currently using an HP Data Messenger smartphone running Windows Mobile 6.1. It took a week to get the phone and our Exchange server to talk to each other. Last week I connected my new iPad to Outlook on the office server in about 30 seconds flat!

I was more successful with the runner up in 2006: the Nintendo Wii, which still dominates the family computer gaming sector even if hardcore gamers prefer their Xboxes and PS3s.

The 2007 chart tried to get away from the more predictable gadgets with digital personal video recorders at number one and surround sound speakers at number two (the all-in-one-box Yamaha digital sound projector, to be precise). AccountingWEB readers voted the Wii their favourite, enjoying Guitar Hero and Wii Fit that Christmas.

In 2008 I decided to go with the crowd and gave RockBand and Guitar Hero computer games the top slot. The arrival of the Beatles RockBand game last year confirmed the longevity of these games and they are still going strong.

My runner up choice went to smartphones again, especially windows Mobile 6.1 and Android phones. Co-incidentally, readers also voted the same way and put the iPhone, Nokia N-series, and Blackberry Storm top of their Christmas wish lists.

Last year smartphones had become as essential as a pocket calculator for accountants, so I put phone apps at the top of the 2009 gadget chart, the Apple Appstore being the winner but with all the other smartphone platforms getting an honourable mention.

Readers voted the iPhone 3GS as their favourite gadget of 2009 - and many were no doubt gutted to have signed up for a 24-month contract when the superior iPhone 4 appeared!

My runner up choice for 2009 was the collection of mobile gadgets that we couldn't be without these days - things like DAB radio, Bluetooth car phone, and sat nav. In other words, all the things you can now do with iPhone apps!

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