Early into 2008, the seemingly interminable duel between HD DVD and Blu-ray officially ended when Toshiba waved the white flag and declared it would stop producing HD DVD players. Shortly thereafter, the studios still backing HD DVD withdrew their support and said they would get behind Blu-ray.
But while Blu-ray won the battle, it hasn't yet won the war. The growing popularity of digital downloads, combined with the relatively high prices of Blu-ray players and discs vs. inexpensive, so-called upconverting DVD players, kept many consumers away. And so far, Blu-ray adoption has been relatively low.
As the next-generation format war finally wound down, however, other battles were brewing apace. Apple unleashed its iPhone 3G in July to great fanfare, with at least three high-profile competitors--T-Mobile's G1 Android phone, RIM's BlackBerry Storm, and Nokia's upcoming N97--immediately cast as possible "iPhone killers."
Also battling it out for market dominance were makers of Netbooks, the one product boosting the PC industry's fortunes amid inclement conditions. Given this year's economic downturn, it made sense that the smaller, cheaper PCs would grab consumers' attention, and PC makers paid heed. At times it seemed that every week brought news of yet another company getting in on the mini-notebook trend.
The economic downturn loomed large in corners of the gadget world beyond the PC market, however, with layoffs hitting gadget and game makers including Sony, TiVo, Electronic Arts, and Motorola.
Among consumer electronics retailers hit hard was Circuit City, which filed for bankruptcy protection after a series of poor earnings reports, and after entertaining a $1 billion buyout bid from Blockbuster. To some consumers' delight, the chain's bankruptcy has meant liquidation sales at closing stores, but not necessarily the big-ticket-item discounts some had hoped for.
Consumers did enjoy sizable bargains on HDTVs, which so far appear to be avoiding a recession-related hit. In North America, shipments are still increasing 17 percent year over year, according to DisplaySearch data.
Those hunting for MP3 players also got nice price cuts on Microsoft's flash-based Zunes.
Camera buffs welcomed the arrival of four higher-end SLRs that considerably expanded the market for "full frame" cameras equipped with relatively large sensors the size of a frame of 35mm film. First was Nikon's 12.1-megapixel D700, Nikon's attempt to offer a lower-price option to the D3. Second was Sony's Alpha A900, with an as-yet unmatched 24.6 megapixels. Third was Canon's 5D Mark II, a 21.1-megapixel sequel to the acclaimed but elderly 5D. Last and still not publicly available is Nikon's $8,000, 24.5-megapixel D3X, which will take on Canon's 1Ds Mark III.
And take this one as good or bad news, depending on your perspective: 2008 proved to be yet another banner year for the indomitable force known as Hello Kitty gadgets.
Consumer electronics giant says it will stop producing HD DVD players, effectively conceding the high-def format war to Blu-ray.
From the slow lines to the computer snafus, we take you through the early morning launch of the device at Apple's downtown San Francisco store.
Rogers Wireless is the first North American carrier to sell the BlackBerry Bold, a souped-up version of the Curve.
Company says irregularly positioned wires near the notebook hinge, or dislodged screws inside the hinge, can cause short circuits and overheating.
T-Mobile's unveiling of the first phone powered by Google's Android software will be only the beginning of a long effort to rewrite the rules of the mobile communications industry.
The results are in and according to iPhone 3G owners, the 2.1 software brought improvements and fixed problems.
The notebooks get some bodywork done by "brick," plus gain solid-state drives, graphics by Nvidia, and more. Macs, Apple says, have momentum.
The struggling electronics chain says that it's seeking Chapter 11 protection and that it will raise its projected job cuts to about 20 percent of its staff.
With the nosedive in the economy and retailers facing increasingly bleak sales, HDTV prices are starting to fall early.
Retailers had reason to smile on the popular shopping day, as consumers went in search of bargains--especially on electronics shelves.
Nokia officially unveils the Internet-focused Nokia N97, a full-QWERTY smartphone with a touch screen. Will its style and substance compete with the iPhone, G1, and BlackBerry Storm?
Hours after rumors of a firmware update release, Verizon Wireless officially publishes the software update schedule for the RIM BlackBerry Storm.