The Top 10 Gadgets of the Decade

Digital cameras

Think back to 10 years ago. Did you get married? Graduate from college? Welcome a new child into the world?

Chances are, you didn't get to see images of those major milestones until at least a few days later. Now, thanks to the proliferation of the affordable digital camera, memories are captured -- and in many cases, shared -- nearly instantaneously.

Though the digital camera was introduced in the 1990s, it really came into its own in the 2000s, finding its way into the hands of millions around the world. Even little kids have their own digital cameras.

Unfortunately, the downside of digital photography's expansion is that your most embarrassing moments might live on the hard drives and Facebook accounts of countless family members and friends.

But the upside is that if you're fast enough, you can delete those pictures before they ever see the light of day.

TiVo Digital Video Recorder

Remember when you had to make appointments with your living room television? If you wanted to watch "Friends," "Lost" or "Monday Night Football," you had to adjust your schedule accordingly.

The TiVo Digital Video Recorder and its more recent competitors now let you record those programs and watch them at your leisure -- commercial-free

TiVo pioneered the device in 1997, but it was in the 2000s that the ad-skipping DVR really took off, sending advertisers and television programmers back to their drawing boards.

LG now offers a DVR-integrated television and some cable providers also provide DVR services.

Nintendo's Wii

When Nintendo launched the Wii and Wii Sports in 2006, it pulled gamers off the couch and into the action, revolutionizing video game play in the process.

Using a wireless controller, players actually simulate actions such as playing tennis, baseball and boxing.

But the game has had successes beyond gaming, including teaching school children music and helping people lose weight.

The USB Flash Drive

The memory disk, the jump drive, the pendrive -- or the USB.

It goes by many names but always serves the same crucial function: storing mountains of information on a miniscule device.

More durable and with more memory than its predecessor the floppy disk, flash drives help us carry documents, photos and more between work and home and school. They may be among the more humble items on this list, but simple can also be significant.

The iPhone

In June 2007, diehard Apple fans camped out on city sidewalks for days to be among the first to score the hotly anticipated iPhone. The first iPhones dropped on June 29, and within 74 days Apple had sold 1 million of its new devices.

Now it's said that the number of iPhone and iPod touch units sold has climbed to 40 million.

Whether it's with iPhones, BlackBerries, Android-powered phones or Palm devices, consumers increasingly send and receive e-mail, play games, watch video and access the Internet from mobile phones.

Thanks to the advent of the mobile application, like those in Apple's App Store and the Android Marketplace, consumers also look to their handheld devices for a host of other practical -- and frivolous -- functions.

Whatever our desire, be it finding the closest public toilet, tracking stocks or starting a car remotely, we now know that "there's an app for that."

What's behind the growth of the ever-smarter phone? Technologists say the answer is easy: the iPhone.

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