Readers' Choice Awards: The voting begins

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It’s Election Day around the country, so why shouldn’t Macworld get into the electoral act? We’re opening up the virtual voting booths for our annual Readers’ Choice awards, with 24 finalists vying for honors in four categories.

As you may remember, we’ve expanded our reader awards to four categories this year—Apple Product of the Year, Third-Party Hardware of the Year, Third-Party Software of the Year, and Mac Gem of the Year. We’ve trimmed down the list of reader nominees to six finalists in each category. And the nominees are…

Apple Product of the Year

  • AirPort Extreme Base Station with Gigabit Ethernet : Apple’s wireless base station introduced faster speeds with 802.11n wireless networking along with much-requested Gigabit Ethernet capabilities.
  • iMac Core 2 Duo : Apple updated its all-in-one desktop in August with a new aluminum-and-glass design and faster processors.
  • iPhone : You might have read something about Apple coming out with some sort of cell phone this year.
  • iPod touch : The iPhone without the phone capabilities, the touch delivered the widescreen iPod features users had clamored for with Wi-Fi Web browsing thrown in.
  • iWork ’08 : Apple’s productivity suite became more Office-like with the addition of the Numbers spreadsheet app to Pages and Keynote.
  • Mac OS X 10.5 : Delayed from its scheduled spring launch, Leopard roared into action in late October, delivering new features and enhancements to the Mac OS.

Third-Party Product of the Year

  • Big Disk Extreme+ 2TB : LaCie’s desktop hard drive features a triple interface for universal connectivity and maxes out at 2TB of storage.
  • Canon HV20 : This camcorder delivers stellar video, whether in HD or standard definition.
  • Logitech VX Nano : Logitech aims this compact cordless laser mouse at mobile users.
  • miniStack v3 : Newer Technology’s quad-interface hard drive holds up to 1TB of data.
  • Nikon D40x : The digital SLR ups the resolution of its predecessor to 10.2 megapixels and offers better ISO sensitivity.
  • PowerShot A650 IS : Canon offers a 12.1 megapixel camera for a $400.

Third-Party Software of the Year

  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 : The image-editing software added compatibility with Intel-based Macs along with numerous imaging and productivity enhancements.
  • Merlin 2 : ProjectWizards’ project-management app delivered ease of use and sophistication with this release.
  • Parallels Desktop 3 : The latest version of the virtualization software added more than 50 new or improved features, including 3-D accelerated graphics support.
  • Toast 8 Titanium : The big additions to Roxio’s CD and DVD burning software were TiVoToGo DVR transfer capabilities and Blu-ray disc burning.
  • VMware Fusion : The virtualization market heats up with the arrival of this software from VMware.
  • WireTap Studio : Ambrosia Software’s audio recording software boasts a Live Preview option to change formats and bitrate on the fly and an easy-to-use audio-editor interface.

Mac Gem of the Year

  • 1Password : Agile Web Solutions’ utility integrates with most browsers to securely manage passwords and auto-fill Web forms.
  • HandBrake : This utility lets you convert DVDs to widely-playable video files for your iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV.
  • iGTD : Bartek Bargiel’s software lets you sort and group tasks for more productive to-do list management.
  • MarsEdit 2 : The Red Sweater Software app lets users post entries to a variety of blog types without having to rely on a Web-based interface.
  • Posterino : Build poster-sized collages with Zykloid Software’s application.
  • Scrivener : Literature and Latte’s word processing and project management tool targets novelists and authors with features ideal for creating longer documents.

A pretty impressive list of nominees. Click here to vote for your favorites. The polls will remain open until next Thursday, November 15.

Care to engage in a little friendly politicking on behalf of your favorite product? Send us an e-mail with two to three sentences that make the case for your favorite; we’ll post the most compelling arguments we get in a future Editors’ Notes blog while the polls remain open.

We’ll announce the winners next month, as part of our annual Eddy Awards. The reader award winners will also be featured in the February 2008 issue of Macworld along with the product that capture our Editors’ Choice Awards.

Good luck to the nominees, and thanks for participating.

The polls are now closed. Thanks for participating.

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