Electronics Extraordinaire: Gadgets of Christmas past


Robert Smith, Multimedia Editor

This holiday season, consumers will have plenty of options for picking electronics to go under the tree, from a fourth generation iPad, to blockbuster video games like “Halo 4” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the electronics that drew long lines at the stores during past holidays.

A CNN Money article from 10 years ago harkens back to a time when talks of a high-definition cell phone would get a few laughs from the tech-wise and blank stares from everyone else. The items topping the consumers’ Christmas lists in 2002 were Plasma screen TVs and the second generation of Apple’s iPod (This was the first iPod to feature the signature touch sensitive scrolling wheel).

The year 2007 saw a comeback for PC interest according to a consumer search analysis by Experian Marketing Services. Searches for computer gifts constituted 34% of the total, with other hot gadgets including cell phones made by Samsung and Nokia (Not Apple, despite this being the release year for the first iPhone), and the fast-selling Nintendo Wii. Shortages of the gaming system were so bad that electronics retailer GameStop started a rain check program on December 21, 2007 that let consumers pay for a Wii that was guaranteed to ship to them by Jan. 25 of the following year.

The year 2010 saw the Christmas of the iPad and the Kindle, selling a year total of an estimated 10 million and 8 million respectively according to a CNET article dated December 21, 2010.

This year’s list toppers are the latest incarnations of established brands like the iPad, Kindle, iPhone, and video game series like “Halo”, “Call of Duty”, and “Assassins Creed,” but it’s nice to see how far we’ve come in the past 10 years, from a music player with a black and white screen to one that pretty much does anything you want short of making you breakfast….but hey, there’s always next year for that.