Just two gadgets are left standing in our melee to determine the most important gadget of the year, but there can be only one. See what made the cut, and cast your vote for the last match-up of the tournament.
Voting for this round will be open all weekend—polls close at 12PM EST on Monday—and when the fog of nerd war lifts, we'll announce your winner for Gadget of the Year.
As a quick reminder, the gadgets were seeded by where we sort-of-kind-of expected them to land, and advanced their match-ups based on those seeds—the same way it works in the NCAA.
MacBook Air (2011) vs. Kindle Fire
This year's MacBook Air wasn't a design overhaul, but its new guts allowed it to do just about everything a person wants out of a laptop. Coupled with the already-outstanding size, the SSD, the speed—the new MBA became *the* computer to own this year, and spawned an army of ultrabook competitors that bring small size and big specs to the unwashed (PC) masses. 2011 is the year the MBA stopped being a novelty or luxury machine and became just about the only computer it makes sense to buy.
The Kindle Fire may not be a spec monster, but it blew the tablet market wide open this year, and made Amazon the most exciting tech company in America. It's two hundred dollars, and also one of the few enjoyable, non-iPad tablets available. The Fire is the linchpin in the convergence of Amazon's premium services (cloud locker, music, Prime video), and while Amazon takes an itty bitty hit on each unit sold, it more than makes that back in all the commerce millions of affordable tablets are going to drive.
Which was the most important gadget of the year?
Join us every day this week as we—no, you—crown the most important gadget of the year, playoff style.