Now that the year's two biggest tech expos – the Consumer Electronics Show and the Mobile World Congress – are done and dusted, we've got a good idea of what to look forward to over 2011. Time to rewrite your shopping list?
1 Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
The handset formerly known as the PlayStation phone is a PSP quality handheld console and a high-end Android handset melded in one compact package.
With dedicated controls, (there’s a d-pad, shoulder triggers and keys emblazoned with the time-honoured square, triangle, circle and X), it puts paid to fiddly touchscreen gaming forever. And with 50 games available at launch, including big hitters such as FIFA, Need for Speed and Guitar Hero, there’s plenty to get your teeth into from the get-go.
2 Nintendo 3DS
Ninty’s latest handheld puts 3D gaming in the palm of your hand. And you don’t need special glasses to get the effect, so your cred will remain intact while taking public transport.
Titles to look out for in the something-for-everyone launch line-up include Ridge Racer 3D, Super Monkey Ball 3D, The Sims 3 and Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Also planned are new additions to some of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, such as Nintendogs and The Legend of Zelda.
3 LG Optimus 3D
With so many Android phones on the market, handset makers have had to try harder to distinguish their product from the competition. LG has opted to do that by equipping its flagship smartphone challenger with 3D playback and video recording.
Right now, the biggest challenge it faces is the lack of 3D content available. But as more devs and film makers get on board with the tech, that surely won’t be a problem for long. And in the meantime, you’ve got a special 3D version of YouTube to keep you entertained.
4 iPad 2
Sure it's not the game-changer some fanboys were hoping for. But dual snappers and a super slim 8.4mm frame that's 33 per cent trimmer than its predecessor and 1.3 pounds lighter mean that it's another object of desire from the House of Cupertino. Pending the mooted delay to the European launch, should land in the UK March 25th.
5 Cheap iPhone
This canard had been around for some time now. But the way that Apple’s rival Android’s growth has been driven by cut-price phones running the OS means that a pocket-money priced iPhone could really happen this year. If only because if it doesn’t, Apple is effectively conceding a massive part of the market to Google.
According to the online rumour mill, the cut-price phone could be around two-thirds the size of the iPhone 4 and to keep costs to $200 (about £125), it’ll recycle parts used in the fourth-gen handset.
6 Motorola Xoom
Motorola’s first-ever tablet will also be the first device of its kind to showcase the slate-optimised Honeycomb version of Android. That means it’ll offer larger icons to fill its 10.1 inches of screen real estate and the option to drag and drop apps into a 3D, rotating carousel. And for the first time, tabbed browsing too.
Other standout features include a 1GHz dual core processor, dual cameras for getting your video call on and 32GB of on board memory, with scope to boost this further with a microSD card – so you’ll have plenty of room for all your apps, videos and photos.
7 BlackBerry PlayBook
Tablets aren’t just for entertainment you know. They’re serious business tools, too, which can be invaluable for presentations on the fly and video conferencing.
BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion’s slate packs dual cameras capable of recording in HD, as well as a crystal clear high-definition display and clear, rich stereo sound for the optimum video conferencing experience. And to ensure multi-tasking is seamless it packs a dual core processor to help you make the most of your life.
Users also benefit from the option to sync the PlayBook with their BlackBerry phone to easily transfer content and mails. Plus you can tether your tablet to your phone too, so there’s no need for a separate mobile internet contract.
8 Nike+ Sportwatch
This GPS enabled timepiece cum wristwatch mounted personal trainer is the result of a collaboration with between Nike and TomTom. Use it and you’ll be able to track your times, pace and distance covered.
Plus, it measures calories burned and your heart rate while you’re pounding the pedways. And we can’t help but notice that it looks much cooler than other GPS watches, as well, which is a real boon for fashion-conscious joggers.
9 Samsung Galaxy S2
The successor to one of the biggest-selling Android phones so far improves on its forbear in every way.
Measuring just 8.5mm thick, it’s the slimmest smartphone so far. But it’s still got room for a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, an eight-megapixel camera with HD video recording and a dual core processor.
In keeping with predictions that Oyster Card-style contactless payments via mobile phones will really take off this year, Sammy has also included support for Near Field Communications (NFC).
10 Nokia Windows Phone 7 smartphone
It’s only now that the shockwaves from Nokia’s seismic announcement of a deal with Windows Phone 7-maker Microsoft have actually subsided. But for all the backbiting and cynicism about the deal in the tech press, there’s actually much to look forward to.
By replacing Symbian3 with the user-friendly, slick Windows Phone 7 UI, Nokia is fixing the single biggest problem with its phones in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, we’ll still get the things that Nokia does well, such as free Nokia Maps and an affordable price point for its handsets.