A gadget is any clever electronic item or a physical device used to facilitate communications. Gadgets can be called many things, including gizmos, toys, computer toys, electronic appliances, and more. The best way to categorize a gadget is to think of it as something that does something that is of value. A cell phone would be considered a gadget, because it allows the owner to make and receive phone calls; a computer toy would be considered a gadget because it enables the user to compute using the computer; an electronic appliance would be considered a gadget because it performs some task typical of that category.
The word gadget itself comes from the Latin verb ‘gadare’, which means to work or to make handy. So what is meant by the ‘infallible’ or ‘unbreakable’ gadget? Gadgets have come a long way since their humble beginnings. In the early days of the twentieth century, a very helpful device was the electrically charged watch. When the first mass-marketed watches were introduced in the US, they were immediately plagued with complaints about their ineffectiveness, their cords, their buttons, their awkward looks, etc.
Today, the most popular gadgets include televisions, DVD players, digital cameras, portable media players, and MP3 players. There are also gadgets for the fashion conscious, like handbags, shoes, and jewelry. Some items of daily use, like a toothbrush or a portable coffee maker, are considered necessities, while other, like a clothes dryer or an alarm clock, are considered luxuries. One thing that seems to have remained constant over the years is the desire for more gadgets.
Most modern gadgets today have multiple uses, allowing users to do many things at once. For example, a television can be used to play recorded TV programs, display video messages, be used as a clock, turn on lights and appliances, function as a game pad, a phone, a camera, and even as a camera viewer. A DVD player may be used to record movies and view them on a computer or on a television. Portable media players may be used to play music CDs and DVDs. Some devices may even be used as remote controls for electronic appliances.
Some people simply collect gadgets. The most famous gadget collector is Star Wars creator George Lucas, who is said to have a collection of approximately seventy-five devices. Other people collect gadgets of their favorite sports teams or popular personalities. Hobbyists and professional gadget collectors also fall into this category.
Even after all the advancements in modern gadgets, it is still difficult to choose a gadget that is both fun and useful. But the new categories of toys for children may help to resolve this problem. As they are small, they may fit into places where larger, more permanent inventions are impractical. Furthermore, some of the most popular gadgets on the market today, like interactive toys and video games, are designed to interact with users, encouraging creativity, imagination and learning. As future gadgets become even more popular, the range of available gadgets will become smaller and more manageable.