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2010’s Top Business Gadgets and Technology Trends

Good news for modern professionals – the future of high-tech is here, and it’s rife with opportunities to enhance communications, maximize productivity, and revolutionize the way the way that business is done on nearly every front.

As previewed earlier this year at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a wired wonderland where the hottest gadgets and technology trends of coming months are revealed, the future truly is now. From WiFi-ready, touchscreen-equipped cars to app-enabled home theater components and Skype-compatible TVs that let you videoconference right from your living room screen, there’s no end to the commercial possibilities in sight. Imagine selling software programs direct to shoppers right on their 3D HDTV, marketing copies of your latest book for download via digital eReader or filling customers orders’ right from a shiny new tablet PC.

Having sifted through the year’s hottest gadgets and gizmos thus far and combed the far reaches of the Internet for echoes of future developments to come, we’ve come to the following conclusion. Not only do the cutting-edge selections below represent several of the best new gadgets available to business owners and working professionals in 2010 – they also point to where the high-tech industry’s headed as a whole. Read on for your glimpse at a brighter (read: increasingly online connected, high-resolution) tomorrow:

Google Nexus One

Despite some lukewarm press as of late, Google’s Nexus One smartphone – a speedy, intuitive handset that offers slick speech recognition capabilities, five customizable home screens and animated backgrounds – remains a tech industry darling. Not only does the Nexus One represent the search giant’s first expansion into hardware and e-commerce (the devices are sold direct to consumers online for $180 with a two-year contract with T-Mobile, or $530 unlocked). It also seamlessly integrates with most Google software services, makes Internet access paramount and threatens to free shoppers from wireless carriers’ service contract stranglehold. Although well-publicized customer service issues have cropped up with the device, it still remains among the most iconic consumer electronics launches of the year thus far.

Trend: Increasingly powerful smartphones that continue to push towards becoming laptop replacements, and serve as a Trojan horse that influence professionals to use a greater number of functions that reside in the Internet cloud. Also speaks to the fact that this is Google’s year to shine, with all sorts of gizmos powered by the Android operating system, those that feature YouTube widgets and Internet-connected devices (which should only hope grow Google’s online search market share) about to flood distribution channels.

Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Call it a two-for-one deal. Lenovo’s sporty IdeaPad U1 hybrid acts as a 1.6-inch, Linux-powered tablet PC (touchscreen-sporting unit you can scribble on like a notepad) on its own. But plug the slate into a docking base, and it also becomes a fully functional 3.7lb notebook with multi-touch capabilities that boasts an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Expected to sell for $999 on June 1 and packing an attractive 11.6-inch display, the device functions well in either mode, offering five hours of battery life, plus email and web surfing capabilities to go. As such, it should appeal to mobile professionals looking for a more versatile computing solution.

Trend: Speaks to both the rise of tablet PCs (see: Apple’s iPad, although a lack of multitasking, Flash support and hardware expandability leave us dubious about its potential as a business device) and slim, portable and powerful notebooks that continue to fall in price. Expect both to be major trends in 2010, courtesy of continued offerings from vendors ranging from Dell to HP and Toshiba.

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