Of course, 2006 was also dotted with events and trends that we'd just as soon forget. For every engineer working overtime on an innovative new product, there seemed to be at least one PR rep blowing smoke, one marketing team spinning hype, and one product manager making a poor design decision.
To send 2006 off in style, we've singled out the best enthusiast-oriented products of the year for our Best Hardware of 2006 awards. We've also whipped up a selection of unique awards to recognize some of the year's most interesting innovations and annoying trends. And there were plenty of each. Read on to see our picks for the best hardware of the year—and then some.