What's your favorite forever alone gadget?
One of mine is the Zune HD (gdgt.com/microsoft/zune/hd/). I know it's an easy punchline, but the Zune HD was totally underrated and deserved more respect than it got. It didn't help that Microsoft's first couple attempts weren't all that hot, or that when the Zune HD did come out they seemed to have no interest in marketing it, of course.
I had picked one up for my wife as she did not carry a PalmPilot at the time I did and did not have access to Vindigo which was also awesome. Another pretty killer piece of tech from that time was the Omnisky sled for the Palm V.
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The Xperia Play is also on my list. I guess I was more fond of the concept than the execution -- under-powered spec, over-priced games. PlayStation Suite was meant to help boost this hero device, but the SDK was severly delayed and the suite's still nowhere to be seen on non-Sony devices. Regardless, I love the Play as a prime example of how Android is bringing out so many different form factors. It's currently sat nicely on my shelf.
Way before it's time. Had xbox live like functionality on GPRS. Games quality was was better than GBA, which was the only other handheld at it's time. Built in MP3 player, Web Browser, PIM, swiss army knife of gadgets. At a price of $100, this was the first smart phone a lot of people had. There's probably not another gadget I loved as much as my n-gage that was hated by so many people. I like to think they misunderstood it.
Fast forward a couple years later and... everyone has a cell phone anyway so... oh well.
And the Zune HD was great. I really don't understand why Microsoft could not market it effectively. Makes you wonder about there phones.
To add to the pile, I'd have to say that I felt pretty strongly about my Nokia N800 tablet (gdgt.com/nokia/n800/). At the time, there weren't many people who had smartphones or touchscreen mini-tablets at the time, so I felt like I had a piece of the future. It was pretty awesome to have apps and a full web browser in my pocket (keep in mind, this was pre-iPhone). I wrote a fairly lengthy review on it: gdgt.com/nokia/n800/reviews/gqw/
For bonus points: the RemotePotato app for remote streaming of content to mobile devices.
I understand your point about the Windows Media Center system having more than one device, but by the same categorization many other gadgets would need to be eliminated as well. I.e. Sonos, Slingbox, etc.
The Cowan A3 media player.
I love this thing. It runs on linux, has fantastic codec support, super portable, etc. And when I plug it in? It's mass storage. I don't need any software or drivers to access it or add data to it.
I think that Cowan, in general, is an under appreciate brand in the US.
I used to have a Creative Zen 30gb mp3 player that I think also falls into this category. The thing that made it stand out, besides the storage, was the EQ. That feature spoiled me. A good EQ is now on my "must have" list if I ever feel the need to get an mp3 player again.
I have loved my nGage QD. As someone has said in the comments, in multiple ways it was ahead of its time (on-line gaming when mobile Internet was a luxury), and now Vita is being marketed in a very similar way (don't the Vita's tv ads remind you to the nGage QD tv ads?).
I also loved (and continue loving) my Nokia N800 with Maemo. It was the dreamed mobile device of opensource geeks. I can do a lot more with that device than now with the Transformer... but to be fair, I can do some things a lot better now :). It was a shame when Nokia abandoned Meego :(.
And I also love WebOS and my Pixi Plus. What a great UI!
What can be my next "forever algone gadget?" :)
I glow in the dark.
Been living a life of hot beverage bliss.
I don't get weird looks though... I just have friends going out and buying them after trying mine! :D
I haven't tried it but Aerobie says that the filters are reusable.
The flavor from the AeroPress is undeniably better than a french press.
They are still in my basement, as a matter of fact.
Perhaps the H10 qualifies as it was at the tail end of iRivers popularity. The U10 for sure, I lusted after it and the sequel device with its first of the time AMOLED display.
My HP TC4400 Tablet PC (gdgt.com/hp/compaq/tc4400/). Served me well for many years and is now in use with a friend who uses it to drive his digital player piano.
The HP 5555 PocketPC. It was my 4th PPC and it's still going strong as a game machine for my wife
Last but not least, and I wish I still had it, was the Sega Nomad (gdgt.com/sega/genesis/nomad/). During my years of traveling it was a great handheld system that played the regular Genesis cartridges. Even better you could plug it into a TV and use it as controller. I could use it as a portable on the plane, and hook it up to the Hotel TV when I arrived at my destination. I loved playing the "Strike" series (Desert, Jungle, Nuclear) on it.
I hope MS will use Zune Hd, to experiment on their mobile multi-screen usage scenario.
Also, my Panasonic Shockware CD player was sturdy as hell with its metal cover, and it played metal in my ears for many years!
I can understand why Microsoft got out of the hardware manufacturing business when they are a software development company first and foremost, but I would have loved to see the Zune hardware progress, even if they sold off the design specs to someone else.
I obviously use the Zune software at home, and I kinda like it now as my media player, but I also have an Android phone, and have have had several since the HTC G1, and have loved it since. However, recently I have been seriously thinking about migrating to Windows Phone, because I really like Zune as a service, and having it in a phone would be even better. I also really like the Zune HD inspired user interface and consistent experience you get from Windows Phone. But perhaps this is my "grass is greener" syndrome talking.
I would say it would be the Sony My Dash since it never picked up and is no longer supported either.
Second would be Peek devices. At least the rest of these devices are going home to a developer out there.
HP TouchPad could be one but it's still popular and might live again like a zombie once HP does something about the OS being open.
I knew your Dad in Merced. I'm pleased to find you in this business.
I used Zune and a Zune Hd until just recently. I had the service for several years. The subscription price was modest and I down loaded over 30 gb of music. But the software got buggier and buggier. And the platform was limited to PCs. The player was first rate. The audio was excellent. But you are right. They did little in the way of marketing or expanding of the platforms where you could listen to the music. I think the "cloud" has replaced it.
I wish you luck in your ventures
I LOVED this little MP3 player (actually I still do - it still works and I use it occasionally). Not only was it compact and had more features than a Shuffle could shake a stick at (like a screen for instance), but it could record FM (which meant I could record Howard Stern every morning) and accepted 1 AAA battery (which meant I could carry 4 rechargeable AAA and have the thing running forever). Such a nice compact form factor with convenient features - controls that could be manipulated in your pocket. I now use my phone (as most others do) primarily, but if they came out with a 5GB version I'd be tempted to pick one up for when a phone is not a good option. Also, I love parentheses (I really do)!
If only someone could devise some sort of jukebox system to swap games. I've seen people build robots that swap discs, but unfortunately they aren't commercially available and I wasted my education on liberal arts. This means no switching between big ticket games on either system. I imagine this was yet another stumbling block in the way of the Spawn HD 720.
Maybe the next generation of consoles will find some inspiration in this little box. I'd be a lot more likely to buy a handheld system if it could stream the games that I already bought for the main console at home. That will have to wait for a more connected future thought, because faux G mobile data does not cut it.