Every year I look back at my Product of the Week choices and choose what I feel has made the most significant impact on my life as Product of the Year. There were too many contenders this year that I’ll cover, but I want to lead with why I’m calling out BlackBerry.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of companies doing things right. For example:
- Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program at the start of the pandemic proved incredibly useful for getting governments and schools to function while we were all locked down in our homes;
- IBM’s focus on AI ethics may save us from building hostile AI;
- Nvidia’s work to create world-class simulations to address global warming;
- HP’s leadership in capturing and reusing ocean plastics; And
- Dell’s aggressive examples of dismantling misogyny have caught my interest in the past.
But I was really struck by what was happening in Ukraine this year and I felt that we were not doing enough to deal with the terrible conditions in that country. BlackBerry showed massive resources for the Ukraine war effort and was able to effectively battle-train its security (Silence) and employee security applications (ethoc) which are now far more capable of keeping us safe.
Since much of 2022 has been about fear and vulnerability, choosing the product or company that does the most to reduce that fear across the country is a great way to persuade others to step up and help. Seems to be the best course of action.
While I usually point to Cisco as the gold standard for helping with that state security level, for 2022, BlackBerry’s extreme effort to help Ukraine stood out to me, so this is my pick for the product. like.
More on Blackberry later. Let’s look at the other contenders first.
Three laptops have stood out to me this year:
Alienware M17 R5 Gaming Laptop
If I were more of a gamer than I am, the Alienware M17 R5 would be the easy choice to lead the range, especially once I’ve got the proper drivers loaded and battery life down to something reasonable. When I first fired it up, I got two hours, but after a driver fix, that increased to six. The notebook is good looking, and if I were into first-person shooters where performance really shines, it would rank higher.
Alienware M17 R5 Gaming Laptop | Image credit: Dell
ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 Laptop
The second was the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3. Again, battery life wasn’t great, but using dual screens and just the wow factor of this notebook make it more than ideal for those of us working primarily at home but don’t want to be locked out. Huh. With a desktop computer in the same room all day.
ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 17 Inch Laptop | Image credit: Lenovo
The dual screens on this ThinkBook also allow users to do two different things at the same time, such as participating in a Zoom meeting while being power-leveled or watching a video – it’s not always Do it yourself
HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 Notebook PC
The HP EliteBook Folio came out in 2021, but it’s still my favorite laptop. HP came out with a Dragonfly version this year that was Intel- and not Qualcomm-based, but that cut battery life by almost half. HP removed the leather bottom, making the product less comfortable to carry. So, while I would still rank the Folio first for 2022, the fact is that I think the 2021 version is still better suited to the way I work because, sometimes, companies make changes that affect the quality of the product. Not ideal for
HP EliteBook Folio | Image credits: HP
The Snapdragon version of the product doesn’t perform as well as the Intel version, but for how I work — mostly writing, browsing the web, and watching videos while traveling — battery life, weight, and comfort are king. I’ve gone three days on a trip without needing a power supply for this notebook, which is unusual in a good way. Hence, last year’s HP EliteBook Folio was the best used laptop in 2022.
I have used ChilliSlip products ever since they first came out with ChilliPad. If there’s one solution that ensures I get a good night’s sleep, it’s the ChilliSleep Dock Pro by SleepMe. This product uses water to heat and cool your bed, just like race car drivers and astronauts use it to cool their suits. Whether it’s a hot or cold night, I’m like Goldilocks in the last bed: Perfect.
ChilliSleep Dock Pro Control Unit | Image credits: Sleepme
This year SleepMe released a sleep tracker that I haven’t checked out yet that comes with a subscription so that the heat of the bed adjusts appropriately to optimize things like REM sleep. The only recurring problem is that I can’t take this thing with me when I travel. Hotels seriously need something like this because I am always too hot or cold when I sleep in a hotel. Put this product in the “can’t live without” category.
I haven’t driven these in competition before, but I do drive a 2019 electric Jaguar I-Pace myself. Just before writing this column, I learned about the most terrifying electric car drag race ever. It was between a Lucid Air Sapphire, Tesla Plaid, and a Bugatti Chiron, which cost around $4 million. Oh, they also raced the Lucid against hot-rodded Ducatis (usually because of their high power-to-weight ratio, motorcycles usually dusting cars in these kinds of races).
So far, when it comes to straight-line drag races, Tesla is a winner against almost anything other than Bugatti. Here’s a plaid beating out a track-only dragster:
The Bugatti isn’t that fast, at least not until the quarter mile (top speed is a very different story, but none of us are driving at 250 mph until we’re driving our $4 million car). Do not want to forfeit for life). Long story short, in the race, the Lucid overtook the Bugatti, which beat the Tesla, gaping it, I mean by car lengths – even though the Bugatti has a lot more power.
The reason that electrics can generate a ton more traction is because traction control works better with electrics than with gas cars – and if you can’t put down the power, it doesn’t matter if you have it. how much is Thus, the Lucid Air Sapphire would be my pick for the best electric car in 2022. Plus, the thought of bashing a Bugatti into the lights with a family car brings a huge grin to my face.
The most powerful CPU remains the AMD Threadripper, and the most powerful GPU is Nvidia’s 4090 RTX card. Put those two in the same system and you’ll make your friends drool and your power meter spin like a top.
AMD took the lead in top-end workstations thanks to Threadripper, and I’ve seen people get boosted by their friends for using Intel processors for the first time this year, which is a huge win for AMD.
On graphics, Nvidia’s 4090 RTX is simply a beast which begs the question: why doesn’t AMD make a GPU like Threadripper to match it? Maybe next year, but while Intel is still there as the standard CPU for business, AMD has surpassed Intel in performance.
I’ll be doing a head-to-head on AMD, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs over the holidays, but when it comes to ultimate performance, AMD on CPUs and Nvidia on GPUs lead the pack in 2022.
So far, no one has come up with a phone that I like better than the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. a purple iPhone), more people walk in and ask about my phone by a factor of about eight to one.
The thing is, I’m a reader, and I use my phone to read books when I’m waiting in line, when I’m stuck in traffic, and when I’m waiting at a light. am (not when the car is running).
This phone has become something I never take off because I get bored easily. But if I can crack open a book, the wait time goes by in a flash, and I enjoy the extra attention the phone brings me.
So, for how I use the phone, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 phone ranks highest. It feels and acts just like a book, compared to other foldable phones I’ve tried — and I must admit that having something more distinctive than your typical smartphone is more important to me.
The reason I’m spotlighting BlackBerry, rather than individual products like Cylance and AtHoc, is because it was the company that partnered with several companies to protect the people of Ukraine by deploying thousands of experts to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. had stepped in to help in the fight. Its main mission.
The result is that Ukraine is safe, but also that BlackBerry’s products are the only ones in their category that are truly battle-tested. Battle testing is important, as Germany found out recently. Its tanks that were supposed to be invulnerable were anything but – something that would have been problematic if they needed them in battle.
BlackBerry Network Operations Center in Waterloo, Canada | Image credit: Blackberry
There are many hostile states and powerful organizations in the world that seek to harm us, and it is my view that only battle-tested security equipment will be up to the task because only those equipment will be truly tested against the highest threat levels.
We all want to feel secure, but I don’t want a false sense of security, and I want to know how my security works. By helping Ukraine, BlackBerry has ensured that its safety and security products will work in the most hostile of conditions. By doing something incredibly cool, BlackBerry has helped itself and its customers by assuring that its devices are up to the job.
I’d like other tech companies to learn from BlackBerry’s efforts because if ever we needed battle-tested capabilities, it’s now. Thus, BlackBerry is my Product/Company of the Year for 2022. Special credit goes to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, who recognized this critical need for battle-tested security tools and stepped in to provide them with his team.
I hope you all are staying safe and have a happy new year. We’ll be back next week with our predictions for 2023.