15 Gadgets That Changed Everything This Decade

Bono Steve Jobs Slide

This decade is the decade of gadgets.

From the tiny USB thumb drive introduced in 2000 to the iPhone 3G in 2008, a bunch of revolutionary devices have been brought to the market.

Check out the 15 best gadgets of the decade →

Of all the contraptions sold between 1999 and 2009, mobile phones were the most popular. At the turn of the millenium about 1 billion people worldwide had mobile phone subscriptions. Today it’s closer to 4.5 billion.

And the ultimate mobile phone is a smartphone, which now represents about 18% of mobile phone sales. Smartphones like the iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid, take almost all the best functions of the decade’s coolest gadgets and cram them into one little box.

Because we carry them around with us every single day, it’s easy to forget how mind blowingly insane these things truly are.

In 1999, could you imagine a single device that could make phone calls, tell you where you’re going and magically pull movies and music out of thin air?

We certainly couldn’t. Now, smartphones — particularly the BlackBerry and the iPhone, two gadgets that had to make our list — are increasingly deeply ingrained into our culture, depended on by the suits, the mums, and the kids.

And that’s our criteria for the gadgets on this list: Over the last 10 years, they’ve permanently re-shaped the way we live.

Check out the 15 best gadgets of the decade →

Apple iPod

What is there to say about the iPod? It saved Apple, helped kill the music industry and changed the way the world listens to music.

Samsung Flatscreen Televisions

The flat screen high definition television has TV watchers stoked, and some in the media industry bummed. Hollywood is scared people won't leave their house for movies, opting stay home and enjoy their big screens. Sports franchises are likewise worried.

Samsung is the the flat screen television sales leader, so we're singling it out here. Really though, it's the entire market for flat screen televisions.

Garmin GPS

GPS devices started becoming ubiquitous in cars at the end of the decade, with Garmin selling millions of them. Smartphones are ready to stomp on their market, but these gadgets still have some years to go before they're obsolete.

Research In Motion BlackBerry

Research in Motion was one of the early smartphone leaders thanks to its awesome real time email service. The BlackBerry curve is still the best selling smartphone on the market.

Toyota Prius

There's only one hybrid that really matters, the Prius. Everyone else is playing catch up. It was invented in the late nineties but took off this decade. The Prius has been a regular top seller for Toyota.

TiVo DVR

At one point in the decade TiVo threatened to become a verb. If you were out of the house, you could 'TiVo' Lost and watch it later.

In 2008, TiVo's revenue was its highest at $273 million. Analysts expect sales to slide in the future. Part of the reason: Cable companies built the same functionality into cable boxes, and now we hear 'DVRing' more often than 'TiVoing.'

TiVo still owns many key patents, so we wouldn't count it out.

USB Thumb Drive

A radical gadget that gets no respect. Remember the first time you saw one? It was sort of mind blowing that this little guy could carry so much around. It also made work or school easier since you could carry all your documents around.

The price has gone from over $100 to free. The first thumb drives were rolled out in Spring of 2000.

Amazon Kindle

It's Amazon's best selling product, and it's made big waves, but it doesn't feel like it's from this decade. It's grey, dreary, and pretty limited. A hot item for now, but we're not convinced Amazon will own the tablet/e-reader market in three years.

Nintendo Wii

When everyone else was digging deeper with elaborate games and sharp graphics, Nintendo decided to go with game play. Smart move.

The Wii has sold 56.5 million units in its life as of October. Of equal importance, it's sent rivals Microsoft and Sony scrambling to come up with motion based gaming systems of their own.

Pure Digital Flip

The camera of choice for aspiring citizen journalists, as well as nifty little piece of hardware for people capturing memories. A radical upgrade from the bulky cameras of the 90's.

Pure Digital parlayed over 2 million in unit sales since 2007 into a sale of the company to Cisco for $590 million this year.

Sony Playstation 2

Sony's Playstation 2 kicked off the decade, launching in March of 2000 in Japan.

It flattened the competition, selling 138 million units during the decade. At the time it launched, the primary competition was the Sega Dreamcast.

It wasn't just an awesome gaming experience, it also acted as many people's first DVD player.

Motorola Razr

The Razr made cell phones stylish. It set the new standard for design, forcing all the manufacturers to make slimmer and slimmer phones.

It was the top selling from 2005-2008 phone until the iPhone knocked it off its perch. It's sold well over 100 million units since its late 2004 introduction.

Guitar Hero

Plugging a plastic guitar into a Playstation became a massive craze drawing in gamers and non-gamers, alike. Since the franchise was launched in 2005, Guitar Hero has racked up over $2 billion in sales.

Apple iPhone

The iPhone is the gadget of the decade. It took elements of all the best gadgets -- iPod, Flip, Razr, USB drive, Wii -- and put it in your pocket. It's not as robust as all of those gadgets yet, but it's on its way.

As we enter a new decade, the iPhone provides the clearest roadmap of what might be next.

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