10.24.08

The Best Gadgets Money Can't Buy

A round up of yet-to-be released tech products—from a new Kindle to the next "iPhone killer"—that have leaked onto the web.

For gadget geeks, the long national nightmare of waiting for the Google phone is over. But thanks to gossipy insiders, discussion on the Web has already turned to a slew of future products, many of them top secret and depicted only in unauthorized spy shots. Tech blogs are atwitter with speculation about several gadgets that could see the light of day in the ensuing months-here is a compilation of some of the products generating the loudest buzz in over the past few weeks:

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Amazon Kindle 2
When Amazon announced the breakthrough Kindle electronic book reader, Newsweek proclaimed on its cover that the device was "the future of reading." Now, eleven months later, wired bibliophiles are seeking a Kindle that's even more futuristic—or at least, one that fixes the annoying design and user-interface defects of the original. The next Kindle isn't due until 2009, Amazon's chief financial officer, Tom Szkutak, told Wall Street analysts on Wednesday, but tech blogs have already caught a glimpse of the elusive "Kindle 2." Spy shots published at The Boy Genius Report reveal a thinner, sturdier Kindle with redesigned controls, so that reading Crime and Punishment on a Kindle should provide users with a bit less punishment.

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Motorola's Android phone
The T-Mobile G1, the first smartphone to run Google's "Android" operating system for mobile phones, is now in stores. But other mobile phone manufacturers are readying their own Android headsets, including Motorola, whose phone BusinessWeek reports "will boast an iPhone-like touch screen, a slide-out qwerty keyboard, and a host of social-network-friendly features." The downside: Motorola's Google phone is not slated to roll off the assembly lines until the second quarter of next year.

BlackBerry Storm
The iPhone, remarkably, outsold Research in Motion last quarter. But RIM will soon begin selling its first touch screen smartphone, the BlackBerry Storm, in a bid to rain on Apple's parade. Weather jokes aside, the Storm will inevitably be considered the latest in a line of presumptive "iPhone killers" when it becomes available to Verizon customers in the coming weeks at an unknown price point.

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Setting the Storm apart is its "clickable" touchscreen, which will provide tactile feedback when it is touched, a feature intended to improve typing over the iPhone's non-clickable screen. In the run-up to the Storm's release, blogs have been disseminating every scrap of detail about the new phone, including this detailed hands-on review from Engadget. ("We're in love," the reviewer said of the Storm's touchscreen keyboard.)

Discover a secret gadget on your next Silicon Valley dumpster-diving expedition? Send leaked product plans and inscrutable napkin etchings to nick.ciarelli [at] thedailybeast.com.