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Tech toys – the best and worst of the decade

December 30th, 2009
03:40 PM ET

It has been a decade of explosive innovation with some unforgettable technological breakthroughs.

The noughties saw social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter take over the web giving users the ability to communicate with friends, share video and photos and update people around the world of their "status".

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/30/blog_tech_art.jpg caption ="The Apple iPhone was one of the most popular tech toys of the year."]

In 2009, video sharing site YouTube surpassed more than one billion video views per day and brought fame to people like singer Susan Boyle after more than 120 million people viewed her audition for TV show "Britain's Got Talent" online.

One of the biggest tech hits of the decade was of course the Apple iPhone. The smartphone revolutionized the way people interact with their mobile as the iPhone enabled people to download a variety of applications, listen to music, take pictures and scan the internet.

The decade also saw online music sharing, motion sensor video games and flat screen televisions take the stage - just to name a few.

Looking back on the noughties, the decade also brought some pretty forgettable gadgets.

Who will ever forget the all important answering machine or even the phone book? Remember when we used to listen to music through a Discman and go to CD stores to buy music?

We'd love to hear what you think about some of your favorite tech gadgets of the year and also some of your most memorable tech toys from the past decade that are little more than paperweights today.

Let us know what you think and post your comments below.

Filed under:  General
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Josh

    I can't believe the answering machine ever existed.. very funny! I also remember the floppy disk, Zip drives, using cassette tapes in my walkman and only having the old radio or television. Now we have digital recording boxes for tv, digital radio.. everything is now digital!!!

    December 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  2. Alex

    Our old video players are gone and forgotten, while ten years ago everyone had one.
    The DVD could be facing the same fate.
    Here's hoping the next decade will see the them gone in favor of higher capacity streaming from our PCs!

    December 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  3. Richie Rich

    iPhone enabled the not-so tech savy to be tech savy, bringing architecture revolutions to the masses. iPhone also made it easy to process mobile business and became the device of choice the the music professional.

    December 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  4. tumalaca

    At the beginning of the decade I was still shopping for a camera and bought myself an APS type, but still didn't want to move away from the 35mm cameras. I bought a sound system that was capable to play cassette tape, CD and mini-disc, when I thought that mp3 format could only be played on the computer. At that time, I was still communicating with overseas friends by fax and post, and had the habit of printing the few email messges that I received. I remember that ICQ was popular for instant messages but for that you had to be sitting next to your computer all day. I owned a cell phone but it was the time when you looked cool if you were using a cell phone that was smaller than the palm of your hand. Now you can have all the above in one single device which fits in your pocket. And not to mention other features like video games, and operating system or GPS... I think any device that carries all those altogether must be a favourite tech toy...!

    December 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  5. Eh eh

    If "forgettable gadgets" were truly forgettable, then would someone be able to remember it now?

    December 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  6. jorge

    Other things that have been important through this decade is the ability to connect to the internet wirelessly, we forgot the cables, even the dial-up connections. USB memory flashes were also important, we don't use floppy disks anymore or even burning data cd's.

    December 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  7. fred

    Anyone remember the floppy disks, now they are replaced by flashdrives, anyone remember having to go your local store to get your photos developed?, now you can just print them from your computer, anyone remember having those thick tvs, now the TVs are less than 3inches.

    I remember those times now the next decade our iphones, macs , and everything we think is high tech will go to storage or maybe our attic. I think the decade thats coming up will have even more high tech stuff that we will use and maybe our kids will consider or iphones or macs lame, slow, and dumb.

    Every generation passes another generation in tech.

    Well happy new year!


    December 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  8. Mike Jay

    I miss my 8-track player!

    December 30, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  9. eric

    let's not forget computer! How far computer has progressed and became an essential part of our office, home, even the car we drive. Then comes mobile phone, how a simple phone has transformed into a multiple task device, that we just feel lost without it!

    December 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  10. farid

    I'm wondering if we are going to meet the day where's no dvd, cd or such technology no longer exists

    December 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  11. Enoch

    One important gadget in this decade is processors getting faster and new ones being introduced regularly !!!

    Also broadband connections becoming faster in download speed and satelite TV on demand ......

    Unforgettable is laptops becoming smaller in size !

    I wont be amazed the day we carry a lap/mobile/tv in our pockets !!!!


    – Enoch

    December 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  12. Ishaan Dang

    I think BlackBerry Bold deserves to be the Gadget of the decade. It surpasses iphone in every respect, be it the brilliant qwerty keypad or the extremely efficient apps (and not the useless apps that iphone app world offers). Also, no email service is even close to the one provided by BlackBerry. It is the best smartphone ever made and can rightfully be termed as 'the iphone killer'.

    December 30, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  13. Muthyavan,

    From Radio television computers and hand held mobile phones our life times has witnessed a great leap in the technological gadgets innovations. When I was born seventy five years ago in a village in Sri Lanka the village dint even had a telephone connection or post office. Gramophones and aeroplanes were the biggest attraction at that time of the World war 2.

    When the war ended in 1944 a race to invent more technological gadgets to help humans was started by many companies in industrial nations around the world. Marketing and manufacturing has created an international competition to invent more and more advanced gadgets. Today hand held mobile phones combined with multi functions capabilities, satisfying many important requirements has topped as the best humans companion in history.

    Almost all the entire world is now covered with net work connection and on an average of one in three in all countries carry a mobile phone executing many daily routine things. Mobile phones is the biggest market commodity today in the world, competitions in the market by manufacturers and service providers is cutting dawn the prices making it afordable to everyone.

    December 31, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  14. Marie-Christine

    hum! That technology is good I have no doubt about that.
    It means we can connect from one side of the world to the other one and that is a great way of sharing and exchanging ideas, however, and I am only talking about myself – this has caused me a bit of a handicap in certain areas – for example I want to make a You tube video and I just have not got a clue on how to go about. Even watching the video on how to do it. I just don't understand the mechanic of it. -As simple as that.-
    I don't believe this is fair that we have to rely on that as a mean of communications only, it is putting some people like me at a disadvantage.
    You want to contact any agencies these days and they want you to be able to be a whizz on computers. .. you are supposed to be proficient in typing, tweeters, facebook, you tube, etc.
    I don't want to be cynical, ...is not it a way of discriminating?
    Not only that.. a year after, it has all changed-. this is crazy.- Does this mean that we have to attend computer classes on a daily basis to keep up with the technology? COME ON...
    Meantime, I am counting on you the CNN crew to help me with my query about You Tube. Many many thanks for that .:)

    December 31, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  15. Chukwuemeka, V. C.

    BlackBerry rules in the mobile phone category of tech toys. No doubt I-phone was revolutionary. I believe one day cars will drive on water. Then we will come close to the end of world.

    January 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  16. Emmanuel

    I remember back in the day when those that were considered as being rich were those who had televisions(black nd white) with 4leg stand and doors to go with it. ... hmm! good o'l days.
    What i foresee for the future is the phasing out of laptops. Because phone manufacturers are going to make phones so smart and powerful we wont even bother about our laptops.

    January 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  17. Ella Robinson

    the best video player that i use is none other than VLC Player, it is free and i think it is open source too*'`

    October 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  18. Pine Cupboard 

    there are so many hardware and software video players on the market these days, sometimes it is hard to select~;;

    October 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  19. Gabriela

    Excellent, thnkas for adding these references and thnkas for suggesting the breakout session on art mobile activism!

    February 8, 2012 at 1:55 am | Reply

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