The PC has been your window to the digital world for 25 years. But, as the way information is accessed evolves, we’ve taken an arbitrary crack at laying odds on which device will be your gizmo of choice in 2011. Place your bets…

The PC

Attraction: the machine you know and love.

It may look a little different or contain innards that are completely foreign to you today, but the chances are that you’ll continue to use a desktop, laptop or even a tablet PC as your primary device for
work and play. But then, we would say that…

Odds: FAVOURITE

Smartphones

Attraction: already widely used; Qwerty keypads becoming the norm; extensive high-speed network coverage; choices of operating system.

The BlackBerry, Sidekick III and Palm Treo phones have shown the possibilities of these devices. But tiny screens and keyboards can be frustrating to use.

Odds: 3-2

UMPCs (ultramobile PCs)

Attraction: a fully-fledged Windows XP PC that’s the size of a hardback book.

The Samsung Q1 and similar devices look gorgeous, but early reviewers have found them wanting. Future models should offer greater power – many people find current models underpowered, costly and poor on battery life.

Odds: 6-1

Media players

Attraction: the gadget to have; improving battery lives, expanding media capabilities; lots of choice; Archos’ 604 and Microsoft’s Zune will have Wi-Fi connectivity

Today’s iPods rule all in digital music, but few
use them as PDAs. Future devices will need easier ways to enter data and better networking to allow for broader usage.

Odds: 15-1

Portable games consoles

Attraction: built-in Wi-Fi; storage options abound; large screen (if not two).

The Nintendo DS and Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable) prove that game handhelds can do more than play Tetris, but features such as a web browser have been afterthoughts. On the Sony PSP, data entry is next to impossible with the joystick.

Odds: Rank outsider

Read more: the future of technology revealed