Despite a bleak economic outlook, 2009 saw the release of some incredible new Web services. But every year--recession or no recession--there are always a few sites that close their doors.
We've highlighted 15 sites that ceased operations over the course of the year. A number of them came from big companies like Google and Yahoo--the latter of which did some major restructuring in 2008 that left it with new leadership and a leaner, meaner mentality towards cutting things that just weren't working. Others were simply ideas that needed a little more time and money, but couldn't get … Read more
We've already listed our top cell phones and smartphones of the year, but we think the messaging phone has emerged as a strong enough category in 2009 that we think it deserves a top-10 list of its very own. Not quite smartphones, these handsets have full QWERTY keyboards and are made mostly for sending text messages. They come in all different shapes and sizes, some with touch screens with plenty of multimedia features, and others with just a basic feature set.
In picking our top-10 list, we chose the ones with the highest ratings that fit within our messaging … Read more
If you've seen the film "Avatar," you may have noticed one of the characters plucking a display panel from a desktop and continuing to use it as a standalone control screen. While we probably won't witness epic wars between human colonists and sapient humanoids in the near future, the technology depicted in the science fiction film is available in our current time, albeit in unrefined form.
At the recent computer graphics event Siggraph Asia 2009, a pair of researchers from the University of Tokyo's Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory demonstrated their Volume Slicing Display, a screen prototype … Read more
Here are my picks for the best-sounding audio products of 2009, in no particular order.
Pioneer VSX-1019AH Receiver The VSX-1019AH has just about every gotta-have feature and its stellar performance makes it the go-to choice for sound-quality-conscious midprice receiver buyers.
Onkyo HT-RC180 ReceiverSure, the HT-RC180 goes for around double the Pioneer's price, but its power and dynamic slam put it over the top.
Onkyo HT-S9100THX Home Theater in a BoxThe HT-S9100THX is not only the best sounding HTIB on the planet, you can easily upgrade its performance by adding better speakers or subwoofer. Few HTIBs offer owners that capability.
Monster Turbine Pro (Gold) in-ear headphones I'm a big fan of the original and still-available Monster Turbine in-ear headphones, but now that I've gotten to spend time with the Pro I can tell you this: it's simply the best $300 in-ear I've heard.
Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference Strada Speaker The double-balled Reference Strada ($995 each) measures a lifestyle-friendly 6.5 inches tall by 12.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches long, but the compact speaker makes a huge, room-filling sound. The Strada is jam-packed with unique technology. … Read more
Article updated Tuesday, December 22 at 7:30 am PT with corrected pricing information.
Tax time. We're dreading it as much as you are, but the fact remains that soon after we ring in 2010, we'll be paying for 2009.
In anticipation of the 2009 tax season, we've gathered some preliminary information about tax prep software for the DIY tax-doers among you. There are noteworthy changes to H&R Block's and Intuit's software, the two developers that take up the lion's share of the tax software market and the two we therefore focus on in our coverage. The prices of some applications in the two product families have crept up $10 but others remain steady compared with last year.
If choosing among multiple products weren't confusing enough, you also get to determine if online or desktop apps are the way to go. To that end, we've rounded up pros and cons for these two tax prep approaches.
Taxes are complicated, and the software offerings are no different. We tried to keep information simple and organized in a chart below, but with extra charges for state returns and extra e-file submissions, it's easy to get lost. Keep in mind that this is a preview, not an exhaustive comparison, and that we'll return in early 2010--after we get our own forms in the mail--with in-depth reviews on some of the software products mentioned here. … Read more
As we close out another great year at Download.com, we've been putting together several end-of-year software collections. Just like last year, Jessica Dolcourt and I have split up the iPhone apps of the year into two groups. Jessica has put together the iPhone Starter Kit that's perfect for grabbing the best productivity apps to make your life more...productive. My job is quite the opposite. I went through my favorite games of 2009 (and quickly realized I had too many), and was able to narrow it down to 17 of my most played games. If you're looking to waste some time, this collection was made for you!
I tried to make a collection of games that would have something for everyone, so I included quick casual games along with strategy, tower defense, first-person shooters, word games, and more. Obviously, I recommend every game in this list, but hopefully you'll be able to find a genre you like so you have something to play over the holidays.
Without further ado, here are my favorite games for 2009.… Read more
At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (January 5-9), CNET editors will be choosing the Best of Show finalists and winners that will set the trends for the new year. But that begs the question: How well did we do last year?
It's a perfect excuse to look back at the picks from the most recent show, January 2009. We've gone to the archives and highlighted the winners in 10 categories--including our overall Best of Show. See which picks were right on the money, which were soon eclipsed by newer and better products later in the … Read more
We've already offered you the best smartphones and best cell phones of 2009, so you know that we couldn't end the year without picking the worst handsets as well. In this case, we didn't just pick the 10 phones with the lowest ratings; we did take ratings into account, but we also selected the models that disappointed us the most.
The following handsets, which are listed in no particular order, failed on a variety of fronts. Some had terrible performance, while others had poor designs. We didn't consider phones that simply had few features--that wouldn't … Read more