The big story in networking and cellular gadgetry is the emergence of usable Internet speeds in mobile. Send a photo? It's quick! Browse the Web? Faster than DSL in many parts of the country. With that in mind, here are my picks for the finest Web-enabled gadgets in the land.
$100, $10 per month
Nobody writes home enough. It's okay, we're all in the same boat. But this holiday season, you can do something about it. Buy your tech-phobic family member the Cameo. Each device has its own phone number — you can send multimedia photo messages to the frame as if it was your buddy's cell phone. Just be careful not to MMS Grandma after midnight with your booze-soaked bar photos. It's available only in T-Mobile stores.
Q2 MSI Wind
The netbook is an odd machine. It's smaller than a laptop, but easier to read and more fully featured than even the slickest cell phone. The Wind is fantastic for couch-based Web surfing, for music or movies on an airplane, or even as a "my first laptop" for the young ones. And the Wind fits neatly between the low-end Acer Eee PC and the better-known Dell and HP netbooks. Do yourself a favor and try the Wind at your local big-box store. Make sure you can type on the slightly-too-small keyboard before you bring it home.
Apple iPhone 3G 8 GB
So, you may have opinions about the hipster-magnet Apple iPhone, but leave all of that at the door. The iPhone cuts across demographics like few other devices. It's obvious why — inspiring hardware and the best user interface available. And it's more than just a phenomenal phone. It's also a top-notch gaming platform, a workable mobile office and a stunning media player. AT&T might have exorbitant contract demands, but the bottom line is that it's worth it. The next person you meet who dislikes their iPhone will be the first. Available at AT&T stores or the Apple Store at International Plaza in Tampa.
Times online operations specialist Jeremy Bowers may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.