Gear of the year

Forget boring tech: Here are some of the most innovative, interesting products we’ve seen (or are waiting to see) this year.

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D-Link Xtreme N DIR-685

Is it a Wi-Fi router, a network-attached storage device, or a digital photo frame? It's all three at once, and a lot more. D-Link throws everything but the kitchen sink into its next-generation DIR-685 802.11n router. Plug a 2.5-inch drive into the DIR-685's open slot, and it's a NAS device that lets you access files from anywhere on your home network or on the Internet, thanks to D-Link's FTP server software. Plug a printer or a hard drive into one of its USB ports, and you can share that device across your home network. The 3.2-inch LCD doubles as a status gauge and as a digital photo frame that supports FrameChannel, so you can display RSS feeds, weather or news headlines, or online photos from services like Flickr and Picasa.

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