Gadgets, games and the gorilla that ruled YouTube

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The Independent Tech

iPhone

The gadget of the year came, once again, from Apple. The iPhone finally solves the problem of pockets bulging with both phone and MP3 player, providing not only the most attractive model of each device on the market in a single handset, but also quick access to YouTube, Google and the iTunes Store. Apple put people's backs up in the US, however, when it cut the iPhone's price tag by $200 after just two months, enraging customers who'd already bought it.

Scrabulous

The internet might have spelled the end of the traditional board game, were it not for Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the pair of business grads from Kolkata in India who created Scrabulous, an online reworking of Scrabble. Developed in 2006, the game really took off when it became an add-on application for the social networking site Facebook, and now boasts more than 840,000 players.



Twitter

A brief but intense burst of interest greeted social networking site Twitter, which reached a peak of 500,000 visitors to its site in July. Calling itself a "micro-blogging" site, Twitter allowed users to post their current "status" from their computer or mobile phone, providing all their friends, or "followers", with a running commentary of their lives.



StumbleUpon

A way to discover new websites, StumbleUpon has been around since 2001, but membership has reached a tipping point, increasing four-fold from one million in 2006 to around four million today. In May, it was bought by eBay for $75m. The idea is simple: download the StumbleUpon toolbar (from www.stumbleupon.com), and list subjects that interest you. Click the "Stumble" button and you're taken to websites tagged by other users to correspond with your interests.



The Cadbury Gorilla

The latest Cadbury advertising campaign, featuring a sombre, drumming gorilla, was the viral marketing hit of the year. The spot, in which the great ape thwacks along to Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight", received 500,000 hits on YouTube within a week of its first airing. YouGov reported an improvement in public perception of the brand, despite the ad itself having nothing at all to do with chocolate.



Halo 3

When first-person shooter Halo 3 went on sale in September, it quickly became the entertainment launch of the year, making $170m in its first 24 hours, eclipsing even the final Harry Potter novel. By the evening of its first day, more than a million people had played Halo 3 online.



Brain Training

Nintendo racked up record sales of its Brain Training game for the DS, which, combined with its spin-off, More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima, has now sold more than 1.5 million copies in the UK, the top-selling game in Nintendo's history. Developed with Dr Ryuta Kawashima, a Japanese neuroscientist, the games counteract memory loss and forgetfulness with a brain workout including maths, linguistics and sudoku.

by tim walker

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