Come 2012, we will be a mere three years and 10 months away from the events of the movie Back to the Future II. Frankly, there’s a lot of ground to cover between now and then. Nike (NYSE:NKE) still needs to make shoes that can actually tie themselves (the Air Mags announced in September certainly don’t count.) Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) needs to manufacture skateboards that hover. AT&T (NYSE:T) needs to start making phone booths for video calls. Fax machines need to become relevant again. And flying cars need to become common.
Actually, at this point, the only thing from that movie’s future that seems likely is a new Jaws flick with 3D graphics.
So technology isn’t necessarily up to par with Robert Zemeckis’ terrifying commercial vision. That doesn’t mean 2011 hasn’t left us feeling like we live in the future. The technology industry has released some wildly exciting goods this year. Here are four of the top consumer tech innovations of 2011: