We get it, consumer gadgets are going to keep getting smaller and smaller until we have one device that fits in our coin pocket that can do everything except take a piss test for us. But that's not necessarily a good thing. This week Apple introduced their newest iPod Shuffle (pictured above). At half the size of the previous Shuffle, the new Shuffle is the smallest iPod ever.
So how exactly did Apple get it so small? Simple, they removed all the buttons and made a special headphone set with built in controls, so you can't use your favorite headphones with it. And while a lot of people are surprised and pissed at Apple for making such a decision, it's not the worst solution we've seen from a company who miniaturized their products...
MINI HARD DRIVE: TOSHIBA<span style="color: red;"></span>
• When Toshiba released this 0.85'' hard drive back in '07, they claimed to have made it for the smallest of applications: cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras, and other products that fit in your pocket. Problem was the industry was already rushing towards solid state (flash drives) for their small products. The less moving parts, the less likely your gadget will crap out and the less strain there'll be on your tiny battery.
MINI MOBILE PHONE: XUN CHI 138<span style="color: red;"></span>
• Remember after Motorola dropped the Razr, every phone company attempted to best them by giving their line up the Nicole Ritchie regiment? Yeah, none of those have anything on the XUN CHI 138. The GSM handheld (more like fingerheld) phone is only 2.64 inches long and weighs in at just 55 grams. With dimensions like that, it must be crap, right? Yes and no. The XUN packs a crazy bevy of features: touchscreen with handwriting recognition, 1.3 megapixel camera, an MP3 player and 138 MB of on board memory. The only problem is you won't be able to take advantage of any of those features unless you're have the hands of a 10 year old school girl.
MINI TV: SONY XEL-1 <span style="color: red;"></span>
• Sony's XEL-1 isn't necessarily "mini" in the same way the previous two entries are, but in order to get the XEL's panel down to 3 mm, Sony had to miniaturize all the components on the inside. What we got was a tremendously thin, gorgeous OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) 11'' display. With a price tag of $2,500. Right. We don't know who thought releasing an 11'' TV for the price of a used Camry in a recession was a good idea, but we'll wait until they make one we can watch while sitting on the couch.
MINI LAPTOP: DELL MINI 9<span style="color: red;"></span>
• We love Netbooks here at Complex. But one thing we love more than Netbooks are nice keyboards. Dell's Mini 9 had us with the Netbook part, it was responsive, featherweight and cheap. But when we went to type something out, we felt like we were typing on a Palm Centro. Luckily, Dell listened to all the groans from current users and made the Dell Mini 10 with a larger keyboard and multi-touch touchpad, just because.