Every year a new crop of gadgets, goods and groupies are put out into the consumer universe with hopes of hitting the jackpot and becoming the year's most buzzed about product.
This year AOL put together a list of the 15 "Hottest Products of 2007," a list that ranges from the technological to tween trends to the tasty.
Squeaking in at No. 15 is the 3-D virtual world "Second Life." While this online community officially launched in 2003, it was not until early this year that it hit the mainstream, when virtual businesses on the site began reporting real money earnings. "Second Life" claims to have more than 10 million "residents" on its site — many of whom are linked to political campaigns or retail stores making real revenue in the cyberworld. "Second Life" even brought the word "avatar" into homes across the United States and around the world.
No. 14 is the Nikon Coolpix S51c. It may look like just another digital camera, but not only does Nikon's Coolpix sport a sleek, compact design and take flawless photos, but it tackles one of today's digital photographers' biggest problems: getting the pictures from your camera's memory card to your computer desktop. In short, Nikon has taken your digital camera wireless. Nikon has had wireless cameras on the market since 2005, but has ironed out the kinks with its current model so now photographers can beam or e-mail their photos to their Flickr accounts or to a personal Nikon photo bank without the hassle of wires or download time.
The 13th hottest product of 2007 is Webkinz. Dubbed "the most annoying trend since Beanie Babies, which were the most annoying trend since Cabbage Patch Kids," by Blogging Stock's Jonathan Berr, Webkinz are part stuffed animal and part computer game. Each furry pet comes with a unique code that allows you to enter the online community of Webkinz World where children can not only care for their virtual pet, but can also play games and invite friends over to their Webkinz's virtual house to play.
Coming in at No. 12 on the list is Research in Motion's (RIM) Blackberry 8800. The newest smartphone from Blackberry on the block, the 8800 not only provides users with phone, e-mail, organizer, Web browsing and instant messaging, but also Global Positioning System, a media player for video clips, expandable memory for all of your files and a high-capacity battery. For many, the 8800 series is the reason so many "crackberry" users can't seem to kick the habit. Their addiction helped boost RIM's stock 150 percent this last year. As for RIM executives, they're hoping 2008 is a repeat of 2007.
Just shy of the Top 10 was Freedom-2, a company that's cashing in on erasing the permanent. Freedom-2 is a tattoo company, whose research was sponsored by Brown University, that has invented a new tattoo technology using biodegradable dyes that can be dissolved in one semipainful tattoo-removal treatment. Good news for those of us considering getting tattoos, too little too late for those who got inked pre-2007.