Winners or Losers: Results of "You Tell Us"

As Spectrum's Web Editor Phil Ross noted in this month's issue, "It may seem a bit presumptuous to pin the label of 'winner' or 'loser' on a technology project, and truth be told, it's not always easy to make the call." He's absolutely right. So every year, we end up with a basket filled with candidates we can't decide on, one way or the other. That's when we ask you to vote on whether they're hits or misses. The results are now in.

A new flexible electronic display from Plastic Logic, of Cambridge, England, has backing from Intel, Motorola, and Philips, and is being tested by newspaper publishers in Belgium, France, and the United States. Winner or loser or too close to call? You voted: Winner! By an overwhelming 15-to-1 landslide.

A little robotic dinosaur called the Pleo, from Ugobe, of Emeryville, Calif., uses sensors under its rubbery skin and its proprietary operating system and RISC microprocessor core to make it respond to changes in its environment. Winner, loser, or sideways? You said: Loser! By more than 2 to 1.

A proposed marine electronic highway to aid navigation of the vital Strait of Malacca (off Singapore) would help ships share information with each other and with shore facilities, protecting them from potential hazards. Your evaluation of the concept: Winner. But the vote was close across the board.

Running the open-source operating system Linux in cellphones has been big in Asia, "too early to tell" in Europe, and small in the United States. It is still early in the adoption cycle for Linux in phones, but indications are promising for the Penguin. You told us: Winner. By 2 to 1 (but "Too Close to Call" tied with "Loser").

Plug-in hybrid vehicles are in the news all the time now. So we wondered whether a US $5000 do-it-yourself hybrid conversion package from the California Cars Initiative, or CalCars, of Palo Alto, is worth the cost and effort of being the first on your block with a hybrid. Your decision: Loser! Not even close—5 to 1.

The very notion of a

holographic storage drive has got to make technophiles take notice. That's what InPhase Technologies, of Longmont, Colo., hopes we'll do when we examine its new data storage device with its 5.31-inch write-once, read-many disks that each hold 300 gigabytes. Your take: Winner! By 2 to 1.

The technology of cold cracking to thin dense crude petroleum is fairly new. PetroBeam, of Opelika, Ala., hopes it's ready for prime time, though. Cold cracking uses beams of high-energy electrons to transform thick crude into oils, gasoline, and other products light enough to pump through a pipeline. Your say: Too Close to Call! In a squeaker.

We thank the hundreds and hundreds of you who took the time to express your opinions in our online polls this month. Your ballots have decided the final tally in our annual survey of winners and losers in the world of high-tech. Please, let us know what you think of all of the candidates in our Comments area.


Tech Talk

IEEE Spectrum’s general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.