The Top 10 Gadgets of the Decade

top gadgets of the decade

Maps. Compact disk players. Film. Paperback books.

Ten years ago, we couldn't live without them. Today, they're inching closer and closer to obsolescence.

The past decade has delivered a bounty of consumer electronics that make our lives easier, keep us connected and ensure that we're endlessly entertained.

But a few have gone above and beyond, altering the way we organize, experience and share our daily lives.

Here are 10 of the gadget world's greatest hits from the past 10 years.

The iPod

The digital music player was already on the scene when Apple introduced the iPod in 2001. But it wasn't exactly hyperbole when Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, "Listening to music will never be the same again."

The iPod -- and its signature white earbuds -- quickly became a cultural icon. But its impact was hardly cosmetic. Along with iTunes, the iPod popularized the mp3 player and changed the music industry forever.

Stacks of CDs? Gone. Trips to the record store? Gone.

Apple made buying music, TV shows and videos as easy as logging on to your home computer and clicking your mouse a few times.

In 2007, the company announced that it sold its 100 millionth iPod unit, making it the bestselling digital music player of all time.

And the iPod has come a long way. Since the original iPod that could hold 1,000 songs, Apple has updated the model nearly every year, expanding the line to tiny workout-friendly Shuffles and Nanos and, of course, the iPhone-like iPod Touch. The current iPod classic (the model closest to the original) can hold 40,000 songs.

GPS Devices

Oh, those folding maps. For a time, they were a staple car accessory, not to mention a road trip necessity. But now, they're almost quaint reminders of a bygone era.

In 2000, the United States discontinued a feature that deliberately degraded GPS signals available to the public.

Overnight, civilian users of GPS devices could pinpoint locations up to 10 times more accurately than before. And in the years that followed, led by Garmin, GPS devices found their way on to dashboards across the country.

Drivers retired their maps, letting voice-enabled GPS devices (or in-car navigation systems) lead them to their destinations.

Now, turn-by-turn directions and information about the nearest gas station and other points of interest are available on car dashboards, iPhones and more.

The BlackBerry

They're known to be so addictive that they're often called "CrackBerries."

Research in Motion's highly popular BlackBerry mobile device was first introduced as a two-way pager in 1999, but the now-common BlackBerry smart phone was introduced in 2002.

The handheld devices, which were initially the gadget of choice for executives and jetsetters, let users send and receive e-mail, access the Internet, take pictures, make phone calls and more.

As the price dropped, their popularity surged, and BlackBerrys found their way into the hands of everyone from urbanites to college students to stay-at-home moms.

When President Barack Obama ascended to the White House, he famously fought to keep his precious BlackBerry, despite national security concerns and a tradition of e-mail-free presidents.

Though the launch of the touchscreen iPhone challenged its share of the smart phone market, BlackBerry has held its own with an easy-to-use keyboard and sophisticated office applications and security features.

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