My favorite tech of 2012 has some pretty exciting entries from the big hitters like Amazon, Apple, and Google as well as some less familiar treats. Share in the comments where I went wrong or what tech you would have put in your top 10 for this year.
1. Windows 8 Professional (operating system-temporarily $39.99)
Windows 7 probably stands as the greatest operating system of all time – especially since it included Windows Media Center, the best PVR on the planet. But Microsoft has moved forward with a visually engaging and informative start screen that will appeal to most casual users. Except for Windows RT, Windows 8 still carries all of the benefits of Windows 7 with improved security and performance. For a limited time Windows 8 Pro users can get the Windows Media Center add in for free, too. While not really necessary for enterprise users, home and student users should find Windows 8 to be a fun upgrade.
2. Apple iPad 4 (tablet-starts at $499)
The newest iPad introduced the new Lightning connector and a faster processor. But, frankly, one can hardly go wrong with any iPad from the iPad 2 to this latest version. What makes the iPad so impressive? A great display, polished user interface, and apps that span the range from Angry Birds to productivity apps that allow one to actual be productive. If one wishes to edit photos or videos on one’s tablet, there really is no other tablet option. (Bonus tip: I would hold off on the iPad mini until it inevitably is offered with the retina display.)
3. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (e-reader-starts at $119)
I have a Kindle 3 but change over to using the Kindle app on my iPad for reading in low light. If I had this touch screen, backlit Kindle, I would never need to put it down.
4. Samsung Galaxy S III (Android smartphone)
Apple couldn’t beat them in the marketplace, so they’re going after them in court. But as the two giants duke it out, consumers have the opportunity to buy a conveniently sized and easy to use phone.
5. Microsoft Surface RT (tablet-starts at $499)
While artsy types are getting productive on iPads, mobile office workers will find their home on the new MS Surface RT. (The version of MS Office included with the Surface RT doesn’t include advanced features like macros.) Get the Type Cover for the perfect combo. Now, your office can go with you.
6. Google Nexus 7 (Android tablet-starts at $199)
I like my Android straight up – no skin overlay. Although, it took them a long time, Google has finally nailed the tablet operating system with Jelly Bean (Android 4.2). Quick, slick, and lovely, this is the perfect size tablet. For the average consumer (someone not seeking to use their tablet for productivity), this is the best way to catch up on your social networks and watch a little YouTube between checking email and navigating the route to your next destination. I very highly recommend a Nexus 7. If you don’t have a phone that serves as an internet hotspot, a 3G version is now available.
7. Raspberry Pi (baby PC)
This little puppy is hard to find, especially for the $35 recommended retail price. But if one is in stock, it can become the basis of an awesome cheapo HTPC. Pair it with the OpenElec distro of XBMC and stream anything on your home network to your TV.
8. Apple iPhone 5 (iOS smartphone-starts at $199)
In a world where bigger is too often confused with better, the iPhone 5 has held the line at a perfect combination of svelte portability and a retina display capable of impressing. Now, with LTE, the iPhone has nearly caught up to Android phones in every area except one. The iPhone 5 camera is the best on any phone out there. That is why this phone is always within my reach.
9. Pinterest (social media)
What made me think that introducing my sisters to Pinterest would be a good idea? Now, it’s hard to get them to look up from their computers because they are busily building online pinboards to collect, organize, and share the things they found on the web. One of the fastest growing websites ever, Pinterest can be both an obsession and a never ending feast for one’s eyes.
10. HDHomeRun Prime (TV tuner/adapter-$249)
Pair this with your computers or iPad and you’ll have the ability to record three shows at once. Or three different devices can watch live TV at the same time. The InfiniTV 4 USB is awesome with four tuners and $50 dollars cheaper, but it is restricted to viewing on only one computer at a time. The HDHomeRun prime can be used by any computer on your network or an iPad 2.