Over the last six months or so, we have been keeping up with the entries in this year's Next-Gen PC Design competition, posting here and there on some of the unique ideas that came down the pipeline. Finally, Microsoft has announced the winners and, not surprisingly, there are a few familiar designs on the list. First place went to the Napkin PC, a concept that I mocked for being way too far out there. Nonetheless, Bill Gates must have like it, because he handpicked it as the winner of the $20,000 prize.

Second place went to a concept called WITHUS. The device is intended to "help preschool children shape the right values and human relationships by driving them into playing and learning with multi-human interactions." Children are encouraged to break away from traditional computing and make genuine connections with other human beings using an interactive, collaborative display.

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Third place went to The Backpacker's Diary-a PC that focuses on travelers using a "book" with "pages" that offer different functions like GPS, media recording and solar charging.

Rounding out the list in the finalist category we find a number of familiar gadgets like the Alphagrip HC (which I thought was too ergonomic for its own good), Siafu (a computer for the blind that is made from a material that does not exist) and the Illusion PC (cool but not really next-gen). Hit the following link for the complete list. [Next-Gen PC via CNET]