Apple's iPad, iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S topped Walt Mossberg's 2010 gadget list, while last-place nods went to the Dell Streak, Google TV and TiVo Premiere.
When it comes to the best and worst tech products of
2010, top billing goes to Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal's
venerable tech tester, Walter S. Mossberg. In a list ranking the year's
highlights and disappointments, Mossberg named the Apple iPad as the best item
on offer particularly for a 1.0 product and additionally gave the iPhone 4 top
billing, tying it with the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone line for the number
Second place went to the nation's new 4G wireless
In his March 31 review
of the iPad
, Mossberg wrote, "I believe this beautiful new touch-screen
device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly and
challenge the primacy of the laptop." However, Mossberg he added that it would
have to prove that it really can replace the laptop or netbook for enough
common tasks, enough of the time, to make it a viable alternative. This seems
to have come true.
Mossberg found it a refreshing change to carry
around the iPad, instead of a heavier, bulkier laptop; the iPad's battery to
outlast even Apples promises for it; and the device to act as a better e-reader
than even the Amazon Kindle. Mossberg even enjoyed typing on the on-screen
keyboard which The New York Times tech critic David Pogue, who was
uncharacteristically more reserved in his comments, found just barely usable.
As for the nation's 4G networks, Mossberg has likely
had more opportunities than most consumers to test them, but heading into 2011,
consumers certainly have a number of options.
Sprint has offered WiMax-based 4G coverage for some
time now, and during 2010, Sprint continued to expand it. In late November the service
went live in Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C., among other cities. In early
December, parts of Connecticut and Denver got the treatment, and on Dec. 28,
San Francisco, Silicon Valley and other parts of the Bay Area will be switched
Giving Sprint some competition, T-Mobile began
advertising its 4G network, based on HSPA+ technology, in early November, and
on Dec. 5 Verizon Wireless turned on its 4G LTE (long-term evolution) network
in 38 cities and 60 airports, while calling that coverage just the beginning.
And by most accounts, when these networks are working
, they are, indeed,
Also fast as well as feature-rich and well designed
are the Samsung Galaxy S and Apple iPhone 4. The Galaxy S is
representative of the powerful force that Android has become within the
smartphone marketplace, states the Journal, accounting for the devices top-3
October data from The Nielsen Company found Android
handsets to be the fastest selling smartphones of 2010, outselling the Apple
iPhone and BlackBerry devices. And additionally, just the week before, research
firm Gartner declared Android the number two mobile operating system worldwide,
passing both Apple and BlackBerry to plant itself behind Symbian. With Android
being activated on more than 200,000 handsets per day, Gartner expects to creep
up on Symbian over the next few years.
The Apple iPhone 4 arrived in June and could hardly
have received more press rumors of it swirled for nearly a year before its
arrival; an Apple engineer forgot the device at a bar; and finally there was "Antennagate,"
which Apple CEO Steve Jobs dubbed the fuss that arose over the iPhone 4s
antenna, which dropped calls when a users hand covered over a portion of the
Despite no longer being the only game in town and
all the initial controversy over its antenna, the iPhone 4 is still the best
overall smartphone, according to Mossberg.
On to the bad news, the worst products of the year,
per Mossberg, were the Dell Streak, Google TV and TiVo Premiere.
Mossberg, like other reviewers, found the display
size on the Streak - Dell's first Android-running tablet - to be odd.
It is really a tweener device, a design compromise,
Mossberg wrote in his Aug. 11 review: "Depending on how you use it, the Streak
can be considered a giant smartphone or a mini tablet. Dell is positioning it
as a tablet, but, to me, it's more of a very large smartphone, but one that,
for many, will be too large to carry around comfortably."
Google TV aimed to compete against Apple TV and
Roku, among other competing products, but Mossberg reported there was little
need to tune in just yet.
"For now, I'd relegate Google TV to the category of
a geek product, not a mainstream, easy solution ready for average users,"
Mossberg wrote in his November review. "It's too complicated, in my view, and
some of its functions fall short"
His latter sentiment went ditto for TiVo Premiere.
Mossberg found it to show some flaws, as well as not go "nearly far enough" in
tapping into the Internet. In sum, he continued, "TiVo Premiere looks
incomplete. It seems more like a platform for a future set of offerings TiVo
hopes one day to have, rather than a way to deliver new content right now."
Better luck next year, fellas.