Tech toys will be prominent on must-have lists at the dawn of the new decade.

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Hot new apps and mobile technologies were named by a handful of marketing experts — and close to 3,000 adults in a new Zogby Interactive poll — as things most desired to simplify lives, empower people and stay connected with others. These things “help people sift through a world when too much is available,” said John Zogby, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Zogby International.

Asked to name one of 20 inventions or technological developments they could not live without, 2,841 adults polled Dec. 28 to 30 ranked high-speed Internet access as number one, followed by e-mail, Google, computer laptops/Netbooks and digital video recorders/TiVo.

Spending more time online communicating via e-mail, social networks and video sites, Zogby said, is resulting in a “redefinition of peer groups — tribes of like-minded people who are becoming more important than any single demographic, like age and religion,” to marketers, among others.

For the Luxury Institute’s ceo, Milton Pedraza, the year’s must-haves would be e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s nook, which enable users to “start eliminating all [print] subscriptions.” Attributing “great functionality, coolness and chic” to e-readers, he added: “There is nothing I see in the luxury industry this year that is so compelling.”

For Euro RSCG Worldwide PR president Marian Salzman, text messaging is supreme. “The status update will be our new form of communicating” for ages eight to 80, she predicted.

But don’t write off snail mail just yet. Cheryl Swanson, president and managing director of brand image developer Toniq, is seeing a comeback in use of the U.S. Postal Service. “Teens’ whole day is in 2-D,” Swanson said. “Actually having a 3-D experience is appealing. Teens have discovered sending notes. Boomers raised to write thank-you notes are writing notes again.”

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