The Year in Tech: Top 2007 News and Trends

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Noteworthy Product News

This year, iPhone hysteria was inescapable, with saturation coverage in the media augmenting the natural zeal of Apple devotees. The circus began in January when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld Expo, and then steadily gained momentum until, on June 29, the iPhone went on sale.

For people who were unwilling to fork over the dough ($499 for the 4GB model or $599 for the 8GB version at launch--or $200 less for the 8GB model two months later), the next major temptation from Apple was not long in coming: the iPod Touch.

Storage products (hard disk and optical) achieved important milestones in 2007. In January, Hitachi shipped the industry's first 1-terabyte hard disk drive, the Deskstar 7K1000; to attain its huge capacity, this model incorporated five disk platters.

Other entries in the terabyte club soon appeared. Seagate announced its Barracuda 7200.11 in June, and then Western Digital joined the 1TB fraternity with its My Book World Edition drive.

As hard drives broke the terabyte barrier, an optical storage war went from cold to hot. A gaggle of next-generation high-definition drives hit the market in two rival formats: Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. Consumers didn't know which one to buy--though they snapped up 90,000 HD DVD players in November, when Wal-Mart and other retailers sold off old stock of Toshiba's HD-A2 at a new low price of $100.

Rival backers of the two formats tried to entice customers with price drops and free movie deals. But as 2008 arrives, it is still anyone's guess as to which format will prevail.

Still Looking for a Wii

On the gaming front this year, Nintendo's Wii went head-to-head against a couple of more-powerful rivals, the Sony PS3 and Microsoft Xbox 360, and surprised many observers by grabbing all the attention. Unfortunately for Nintendo, many would-be buyers were frustrated by the short supply of Wii units.

While fans of the Wii searched for game consoles, Xbox 360 gamers lined up for Halo 3. Nearly 1 million people preordered the latest installment in Microsoft's hit Halo series, and retailers reportedly collected $170 million in sales within 24 hours of the game's market debut.

The Year of the Tiny, Inexpensive Notebook

In 2007, Asus released the Eee PC, Intel introduced the Classmate PC, and the One Laptop Per Child project unveiled the XO notebook. Though these laptops were designed for children in developing nations, they attracted lots of interest from the gadget set.

The XO laptop was plagued by production delays, cost overruns, and unexpected competition from Asus and Intel. As a result, OLPC organizers decided to let interested consumers in the United States and Canada buy an XO laptop for $200--as long as they paid another $200 for a second unit to be given away to a child in the developing world.

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