It’s that time of year again. In lieu of sending everyone a new sweater, publications’ gifts to their readers are “best of the year” lists. This year’s end-of-year summaries from Time magazine, one of the most venerable list-makers, include compilations of Top 10 Gadgets and Top 10 Apps. 

We perused the lists, and, with our eye continually focused on content, customer experience, social business and information management, we highlight the following choices for your year-end consideration.

Nest, Surface, Caller ID

Ninth place on the Gadgets list is Nest’s “learning thermostat.” Nest is to other thermostats as, say, that record player in your attic is to the iPod. In fact, the founders of Nest were involved in the design of the iPod, and this next step in customer experience for the common but important household fixture -- complete with touchscreen, sensor and built-in intelligence -- makes it interesting to Time and to us.

Number 7 on the Top Gadgets chart is Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. While tablets are revolutionizing the consumption of content, we find it curious that Time chose the RT version of Surface, which doesn’t run legacy Windows apps, instead of the Windows 8 version, which does. And first place for 2012 gadgets is ... no surprise ... the iPhone 5.

In the Top 10 Apps list, for those interested in boosting their own ability to generate personal content, there’s Current Caller ID for Android at #9. Developed by White Pages, its features include connecting to your social networking accounts and showing the most recent status updates for the person calling you as well as his or her local weather conditions, so you can navigate through those pregnant pauses with aplomb.

Number 7 is the ever-popular Instagram app for Android, which migrated from the iPhone to Google’s platform in 2012. At #6, there’s Paper for the iPad, a return to the good ol’ days of writing, sketching and painting in physical notebooks -- remember them? -- by providing a comparable experience in virtual form.

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Paper app for iPad, #6 on Time's Top 10 Apps of 2012 list

Chrome, iTranslate, Flipboard

Google’s Chrome browser, not to be confused with its cloud-based operating system of the same name, occupies fifth place for the iOS and Android versions. Time notes that the browser synchronizes recently-visited sites between your computer and your phone, and offers an “incognito” mode for surfing without browsing history or cookies.

The iTranslate app for iPhone and iPad, in fourth place, takes us one step closer to Star Trek heaven, with on-the-fly, spoken translation into a given language of phrases you speak into the device in another language. Number three is Flipboard for Android, the magazine-like news reading app that has resided on iPhones and iPads, and which incorporates news recommendations from your social network. And first place in the Apps list: OnLive Desktop for iPad and Android tablets, which recreates a Windows-based desktop with fully-featured, cloud-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.