10 gadgets to look forward to in 2011

The best gear to start saving for now

Motorola Android 3 0 Tablet

While many people are waiting until Christmas to receive some of 2010's best gadgets and technology, we're already looking forward to 2011.

Around this time we always get more and more excited about the potential for each year to top the last.

Of course, 2010 has been pretty damn good for gadget lovers, what with the tablet revolution and 3D, but we have faith next year can top it thanks to these great products.

And this is still before all the CES 2011 announcements! Oh, it's going to be good…

Here are the 10 gadgets we're looking forward to.

1. BlackBerry Playbook

Playbook

BlackBerry maker RIM has seemed a bit lost for the last couple of years, unsure whether to persevere with the style that always served it well or embrace touchscreens wholly. That quandary continues on its phones, but there's no doubting the focus of the PlayBook tablet.

A brand new operating system, an extremely powerful dual-core processor, all of the usual BlackBerry business features and, perhaps most importantly of all, a real focus on getting third-part developers involved.

The PlayBook is already looking stylish, slick and easy to use. With a carefully crafted tablet operating system and advanced specs, we could be looking at some major competition for the iPad.

2. Nintendo 3DS

NIntendo 3ds

If 2010 wasn't all about tablets, it was all about 3D. We've seen a huge push on 3D TVs, but some people just aren't on board with having to wear the glasses.

So while everyone else is battling the same problems Nintendo had when it released its first 3D console, the Virtual Boy, the 3DS is getting ready to bring a glasses-free third dimension (other than the regular, real-life one, obviously.

As if simple, comfortable 3D gaming wasn't enough, Nintendo is making sure the 3DS doesn't suffer the same lack of third-party titles the Wii has had (and the N64 had, and the Gamecube, now that we mention it). Some of the biggest names in gaming are already on board, including Metal Gear Solid and two absolutely stunning looking Resident Evil games.

3. LG Star

LG star

Nvidia's powerful Tegra 2 chipset has finally found its way into a phone, and that's a profoundly good thing. The LG Star's processor not only has the potential to be power-sipping, but it leaves opposing mobile processors weeping softly at their inadequate performance. Early reported benchmarks put it an entire league ahead of the best-performing Android phone to date.

Add to that the likely inclusion of the shiny new Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, an eight-megapixel video camera, 1080p video recording a four-inch screen and an HDMI out, and the Google Nexus S will be knocked of its throne as the king of Android before it's even got comfy.

4. iPad 2

iPad 2

Well, iPad 2 had to be here didn't it? It's not official yet, but the old 'smoke=fire' adage definitely applies when you've got the sheer volume of rumours we're currently hearing about an updated iPad.

Some of the rumours are more likely than others, but we feel confident you can expect to see a camera and FaceTime support, a gyroscope to match the iPhone 4, a faster (or possibly dual-core) processor and probably a new, sleeker design.

Considering just how good the current iPad is, we think there might a small amount of demand for the updated version.

5. Chrome OS netbooks

Chrome os

For those railing against the tablets and clinging onto their keyboards desperately, Google's promise of a range of Chrome OS laptops next year is welcome.

Aside from offering an alternative to Windows and Mac OS X with a well-known brand name, it should push forward acceptance of instant-on operating systems and cloud services as standard practice for PCs.

The Cr-48 prototype that's out now is a little bland, we'll grant you, but we're really looking forward to seeing what the big name manufacturers can do.

6. Motorola Android 3.0 tablet

Android 3 tablet

Android's Andy Rubin showed off a Motorola-made tablet running an early build of Android 3.0 Honeycomb at the D:Dive into Mobile conference. And it really did look good.

The email app he showed certainly appeared to take a few cues from the way Apple tweaked the iPhone OS to work on iPad - and we're glad it did. Tablets with the usability and style of iOS with the options and power of Android?

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? We'll see in 2011.

7. PSP Phone

PSP phone

[Image credit: xxmajstor]

Considering that the iPhone is capable of games with graphics at the level of Infinity Blade, gamers must be drooling at the thought of adding buttons to what's already there. Apparently, someone at Sony finally had the same idea.

The PSP Phone looks certain to be released soon, and may be named the Zeus Z1. While we're a little nervous about the possibility of twin trackpads instead of analogue sticks, Sony console fans and phone gamers alike will both be eager to get their hands on this.

8. New HP/Palm devices

Pam devices

The Palm Pre 2 was a bit disappointing. It featured fairly current internal specs, but the design and screen both seem a little behind the best of current smartphones.

HP webOS, on the other hand, is brilliant. Its masterful and smooth handling of multitasking has the potential to knock everything else out of the park, it just needs the right hardware to bring it out.

Jon Rubinstein has confirmed that several new devices are on the way, including a tablet. With HP taking over hardware duties, we suspect something pretty special could be on the horizon.

9. ElectroHub wireless charger

Electrohub

While we've seen wireless charging concepts before – specifically the Powermat – but ElectroHub has a slightly better way of doing things. Simply stick the ElectroHub battery replacements into your devices and they'll work with the mat.

"Aha," you're probably thinking. "But my gadget has a non-replaceable battery." Well, then, you'll need some sort of case for making it work. A bit like the Powermat. But still, it's a better concept for getting your gadgets charged easily, and looks to be pretty reasonably priced, too.

10. iPhone 5

TDK boombox

Finally, isn't every iPhone user looking forward to the iPhone 5? While the exact release date, specifications and even the form factor are still the subject of speculation (will we see spec bump, 3GS-style, or another full-on redesign?) and there are no hard facts, we've yet to see Apple disappoint with its iPhones. Antennagate aside, that is.

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