Best Social Media Management Tool: HootSuite
HootSuite is an advanced social networking dashboard aimed mainly at professionals who need to leverage sites such as Twitter and Facebook for their business needs. HootSuite relies on a freemium business model. Its free version allows you to add five networks and supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, MySpace, PingFm and WordPress.
HootSuite is best for actively managed accounts because its design focuses on streams, which are housed in customizable tabs. You have the flexibility to organize tabs by account, network or content, making it easier to monitor a specific type of feed more closely.
Best New Gadget: iPad
It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been a year since Apple launched the iPad, a device that has turned the tablet form factor into a must-have. Apple is expected to sell 13.3 million iPads this year, up from… well, up from zero iPads in 2009. It’s not just the fact that Apple single handedly created a new multi-billion-dollar revenue stream, but that it’s redefining all of computing. Notebook sales have dropped since the iPad’s introduction. Apple accelerated the rise of HTML5 with its tablet device at the expense of Flash. Its influence is already affecting countless web apps. Oh, and it’s redefining the meaning of “mobile.”
Best Location-Based Service: Foursquare
Foursquare, the mobile location-based service, had a year of tremendous growth that paved the way for other location-based services, including Facebook Places. The service recently surpassed 5 million users, increasing its user base by a factor of 10 in just nine months. At SXSW 2010, the company announced it had more than half a million users. It also recently opened an office in the bay area.
Breakthrough Website Design: Twitter
Twitter rolled out a new version of its web interface in September. The new Twitter homepage redesign was robust, transforming the site to be more like a stand-alone application, offering support for multimedia, keyboard shortcuts, and easy access to various types of content. The new design also has different dimensions (originally based on the golden ratio).
Best Mobile Device: iPhone
This year, Apple released its latest version of the iPhone, selling 1.5 million on the first day. Despite a reception issue that angered its users and poor reviews, Apple still sold millions of iPhone 4 devices and even quickly sold out internationally in countries like China.
Best Mobile Platform: Android
Android is Google’s mobile operating system, which it bought in 2005. This year, however, the operating system became the top-selling smartphone OS. Android-powered devices also outsold the iPhone this year and the future looks even better as Android grows in popularity among users and app developers.