My pick for gadget of the year is HP's TouchPad tablet computer. Like the majority of the world, I thought tablet PCs had a very limited market for vertical applications like healthcare. Then Apple came along and convinced the majority of the world that life without a tablet wasn't worth living. As with the iPod and iPhone, the company re-imagined a technology and virtually overnight stood atop a mushrooming market that nobody else had envisioned. However, after playing with an iPad, I again decided to pass on tablets as something that didn't fit into my needs or budget. And then along came HP, which broke through my tablet indifference by offering the TouchPad at one-fifth its manufacturing cost. At $100, I suddenly saw the light and realized my long-buried tablet envy--right up until they decided not to produce the system any longer and ran out of units before I could get my hands on one! -- Steve Wexler
Price: $100, if you can find one.