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15 Gadgets That Changed it All. I’d Add One More



Silicon Alley Insider is running a column featuring 15 Gadgets That Changed Everything This Decade. I bet without too much trouble you could name most of them. So take a moment before you take the jump or follow the link, jot down your list, and then see how well you did.

Again, I don’t think this is too hard a list to suss out. You’ll find the iPod, the iPhone, GPS, the Blackberry, Flat Screen HDTV, The Kindle, the DVR, Thumbdrives, and more on the list and is tough to argue with any of the gadgets included.

I’ll offer one more and I’m sure I’ll be laughed at derisively for suggesting it. That one gadget is the Tablet PC. Why? The Tablet PC, even with its difficult and journey, proved that you didn’t have to be tied to your desk, or to your lap to get work done or have some fun on a computer. Microsoft’s early vision was a correct one, but they didn’t have the leadership, the marketing, the chutzpah, or the desire to follow that vision to reality. Call me silly, but a lot of what we’re seeing today and being promised tomorrow sprang from that early Tablet PC vision.



  1. GoodThings2Life

    12/09/2009 at 12:28 pm

    I totally agree with you Warner! Tablets are really the forefather of “alternative input” devices that free us from keyboards and mice.

    The list itself isn’t that surprising, and even though I don’t like some of the products, I can’t argue that they did change their respective markets.

  2. Joe

    12/09/2009 at 2:05 pm

    I’m surprised about one thing, and that’s that I’d put the Treo 600 up there before the Blackberry. Early Blackberries were just an evolution from pagers. The Treo 600 pretty much started the smartphone revolution. Don’t get me wrong, I know the Treo has been leapfrogged by most of the competition now, but had it not been for the 600, we might not have these newer Blackberries that do more than email, and possibly not even an iPhone.

    Now, as for the iPhone, I don’t actually like the device, but I of course can’t disagree that it definitely did start the second generation for smartphones.

  3. Luke

    12/09/2009 at 8:09 pm

    100% agree. As mentioned many of the mentioned items actually started at some other company (smartphone, pocket pc, surface computing, sidewinder, …).

    Why is USB on the list and not flash cards? Also why is Samsung credited and not Philips who came up with the first plasma previous decade? And Tivo they even admit it’s going downhill and did it really change us? I think on-demand will change everything including video as it already did with iPod/mp3 prior.

    Always when I see these lists I wonder if they aren’t little bit biased especially coming from Silicon Valley…
    CNN money had a similar list for the 80’s and didn’t mention C64 but they did mention Apple II which came later and didn’t sell as much.

  4. Glenn

    12/10/2009 at 11:37 am

    Warner, my heart is with you but my vocabulary is not. Even in this day a promise is still a promise- until it is kept. The tablet pc promise is still not kept. I do believe that the promise will be kept but only when the big gorilla is taken out of the room and put back in it’s rightful habitat. That gorilla is marketing. And not tablet marketing, but computer hardware and software marketing.
    A market should be shaped when solutions are sold to meet needs. In the computer world marketing does not facilitate those with needs finding solutions. It sells partial solutions that produce more needs.
    In the restaurant world one restaurant would succeed in business because people who were fed well and enjoyed the experience of eating there will return.
    Another restaurant could feed the people what ever, and ask for as much money as the people have if there was nowhere else to eat. That restaurant could really succeed in business.
    Is the computer hardware and software industry such a monopoly? No. Is the marketing and component sourcing all of one type? That is a very different question the answer to which may explain a lot about the computer industry. Meeting real needs and supplying real solutions is how industry and marketing are supposed to work. But marketers know that even a hungry monkey will put his hand through a hole to grab a shiny object and won’t let go, come what may.

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