IT Tools >> Browse Articles >> Buying Guides


7 Gadgets We’re Looking Forward to This Year

Jose Fermoso/

August 20, 2009

Just like with movies and video games, the fall season is the best time to find the best new gadgets. Check out our sample of the best of the best for late 2009, including the potential release of the mythical Apple ‘iTablet.’

Check out the gadgets below!

1. Zune HD

The upcoming Zune HD is the first big upgrade to Microsoft’s main media player in two years and comes with two features we’ve hoped for in this handheld’s product line: a glass OLED touch-screen (3.3 inches wide, 480 × 272 pixel resolution), and a polished, music-focused UI that can compete with Apple’s iPod.

The new UI is supposed to push related information (like pictures, a bio, and additional related music) to the screen while a song is in rotation. Matched with an improved Zune Marketplace and WiFi accessibility, this feature could offer users an excellent on-the-go download and music-recommendation service. Early looks at the player have also revealed new menus that place thumbnails of often-used content a touch away, with smart category sorting.

Other features:

- A mod IE browser that’s already getting raves as the best seen in a portable device since the iPhone.

- 720p video output via a dock (to be purchased separately) could be useful if you take your videos on the road and need to blow them up on a big screen.

- The Zune’s good audio fidelity improves with an HD radio tuner and EQ DSP.

- Relatively cheap. Prices were leaked on this week, and the $219 for a 16GB model and $289 for 32GB seem like a deal compared to the more expensive iPod Touch.

- Integrated Bing. Microsoft’s new web search engine has its own button. If it works well with the browser, it could give Zune HD a lift.

Bottom Line: The original content available in the App Store gives Apple’s iPod line a significant, consistent advantage over any other media player. A new iPod with a good camera is expected in September, and if it comes with streaming Flash capability (a big maybe), it could further separate itself from the Zune HD, which is not expected to come with either. However, a great Zune browser might go a long way towards negating that lead and should offer real value to users. Its industrial design and big UI advance will make people take this Zune seriously, unlike its squirt-happy predecessors.

Release Date: September 15, 2009.

InsideTech School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use InsideTech's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.