Beyond iPhone: The top five gadget trends of 2007

Better, cheaper, faster is the order of the day

If iPhone is even half as good as its television ads, it will be an obvious choice for product of the year. But other trends and products have emerged in the gadget world in 2007 that could have a bigger impact on your life.

Some of the new trends and products will lead to newer, better services, and some provide new ways of interacting with information. And one trend that has long been with us in the technology world -- better products for less money -- has reached gale force for some types of electronic toys.

Here, then, are some of the trends and products of 2007 that could change your life.

Better phones

Even if iPhone weren't looming, the first half of 2007 would be a stellar time for new, innovative devices.

"There are some really cool phones coming out, but they're struggling for attention in the shadow of iPhone," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD Group.

Arguably, of course, this glut of excellent devices is in reaction to the iPhone, but that doesn't make them any less attractive. These new phones have either strong built-in music capabilities or a host of other features that consumers will find useful. One such phone is the Nokia N95, which has been available in some parts of the world since late last year but is just now rolling out in the U.S.

"I just got an N95, and from a gadget freak's point of view, it's really something," said Neil Strother, an analyst at JupiterResearch. "It has a 5-megapixel camera, which is more than the camera my family uses. If this isn't a glimpse into the future, it's a glimpse into some pretty cool technologies."

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