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The Top 10 gadgets of 2011

We’ve once again reached that time of the year where we look back at the past eleven months to see what a year it has been. For us at SoyaCincau.com, 2011 has been a year filled with amazing gadgets and innovation. The mobile scene has progressed so much in such a short time span that you can’t believe how much the game has moved on since a year ago.

In Malaysia, we see more interest from prominent brands like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Nokia and BlackBerry as they identify Malaysia as a key market. As a result we see more devices being launched in Malaysia much earlier than – or at the very least at the same time as – other countries. We see this trend continuing for 2012 as Android gains traction and makes inroads in the minds and hearts of Malaysian consumers outside of urban areas and the demand for smartphones increases and prices drop.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone has got to be, in our opinion, one of the biggest lost opportunities for 2011. As a mobile platform, Windows Phone has loads of potential but the lack of a concerted and synchronised market awareness effort from Microsoft and manufacturers has resulted in the platform being an unknown in the country. As a result of that, retailers have seen very little interest in Windows Phone devices.

Having said that, Nokia is set to launch its range of Lumia devices that run on Windows Phone in Malaysia sometime before the first quarter of next year. With a strong brand presence in the country, Nokia could just be what Windows Phone need to gain some mind share in Malaysia. But make no mistake, the Nokia Lumia devices are not magic bullets and Microsoft can’t depend on Nokia alone to solve the lack of awareness for its mobile platform. More needs to be done on Microsoft’s side to educate and drive conversation on the strengths and advantages of Windows Phone.

Speaking of which, TIME magazine has released its top ten lists of everything for the year. Naturally, the list of Top 10 gadgets for 2011 is something we are all very interested to see.

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TIME’s Top 10 Gadgets of 2011:

  1. iPad 2
  2. Galaxy Nexus
  3. Kindle Fire
  4. iPhone 4S
  5. Nintendo 3DS
  6. Sony S Series 13-inch laptop
  7. Roku LT / Roku 2
  8. 13-inch MacBook Air
  9. Sony PlayStation 3D display
  10. Motorola Atrix 4G with Lapdock

In some respects, the list of Top 10 gadget for 2011 echoes the 2010 list. Just like in 2010 where the iPad topped the list, the iPad 2 reigns supreme as the top gadget for 2011. Also like 2010, an Android device becomes the top ranked smartphone for 2011. Where previously it was the Samsung Galaxy S, this time it’s the Galaxy Nexus that is ranked as the top smartphone for 2011 right up at the number two spot. Another notable Android in the list is the Motorola Atrix, ranked at number ten.

Of course the Top 10 gadgets for 2011 wouldn’t be complete without the iPhone 4S making it onto the list – the latest iPhone ranks fourth.

What makes this year’s list interesting is our observation from last year’s list. Last year, we wrote:

It appears that 2010 is the year that Google’s Android becomes a legitimate contender in the mobile OS arena to formidably battle against the mighty iOS.

The question now is, will the Nexus S be able to maintain the momentum?

And Android has indeed maintained its momentum. In fact, Android has seen a surge in growth this year allowing the OS to finally surpass Apple’s iOS as the top smartphone operating system in the world.

So what will 2012 hold for us gadget geeks? Well, you can expect even more amazing devices to enter the market. Quad-core will be the new dual-core and Android will continue to grow its dominance for 2012. At the same time, 2012 will be an important year for the iPhone. The next iPhone and the innovations that will come with it, will be critical if Apple wants to reclaim that top spot.

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Right now, Android offers more compelling choices in more price points that Apple can and if Apple wants to lead in the smartphone segment again, it needs to look at how it can deliver a compelling product proposition across the board, not just at the high-end segment of the market.

In 2012, everybody will want a smartphone but not everyone can afford an iPhone. That could be an opportunity for Apple or a potential risk.

What about BlackBerry? Right now they need all the help they can get. RIM has recently announced that the much touted QNX-based BlackBerry 10 devices will only be available at the later part of 2012. In the meantime RIM will bank on aggressively marketing and advertising its current range of device to drive sales. In the face of so many new innovations  from Android and iOS happening so quickly, RIM will – to put it mildly – find it tremendously difficult to hold on to what little market share it has left in the mobile market, let alone regain the big chunk of customers it has lost is such a short time. For their own good, let’s hope RIM has a major surprise in store for us all in 2012.